Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ringing in 2009- Happy New Year

It is already 2009 in Afghanistan and I'd like to take the opportunity to wish all the soldiers serving overseas, out in the fields, in KAF, sleeping in the desert preparing for tasks at hand and all their families a Happy New Year. Godspeed Troops.
I'm so very proud of your bravery and thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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Keeping you close in thought and prayer,
Thinking of you and wishing you the strenth and courage.
I salute and honour soldiers and families everywhere.
Our Heroes.
By: Military Mom

Monday, December 29, 2008

It's a Sad Day

It is with deepened sadness that I post the following article. I am in shock as are the many soldiers in their company. Their deaths have affected people on both sides of the world.
As well, my heart cries with a family member of one of the soldiers. She had read this blog and communicated with me during "our" deployments. I can't imagine what she is going through.
My prayers are with them. As well - to the soldiers - remain focused and stay strong. We are proud of you and we grieve with you.

Two Canadian soldiers killed and four injured in Afghanistan
Two Canadian soldiers, as well as one member of the Afghan National Police and one Afghan interpreter were killed on December 27, 2008, when an explosive device detonated in their vicinity in the Panjwayi District.
Four other Canadian soldiers and one Afghan interpreter were injured in the incident, which occurred at approximately 12:15 p.m. local time, approximately 25 kilometres west of Kandahar City. The soldiers were conducting security operations in the area when the explosion occurred.
Killed in action was Warrant Officer Gaétan Roberge, from the 2nd Battalion, The Irish Regiment of Canada. He was serving as a member of the Police Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team.
Also killed in action was Sergeant Gregory John Kruse, from 2 Combat Engineer Regiment, Canadian Forces Base Petawawa. He was serving as a member of 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group.
Members of Task Force Kandahar are committed to improving security and increasing development in Kandahar Province. I think of the family and friends here as well as military families - comrades of our fallen soldiers currently serving in Afghanistan during this sad time.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Ramp Ceremony - Kandahar- Saying Goodbye

Tears stream down a pallbearer's face during a ramp ceremony Sunday at Kandahar Airfield for Warrant Officer Gaétan Roberge and Sgt. Gregory John Kruse, who were killed by a roadside bomb. Photo Credit: CBC

Canadian troops bade farewell to two more comrades Sunday in Canada's military mission in Afghanistan. In a ramp ceremony at Kandahar Airfield, the flag-draped coffins bearing the bodies of Warrant Officer Gaétan Roberge and Sgt. Gregory John Kruse began the trip home.
The two Canadians, acting as mentors for Afghan police, were killed by a roadside bomb Saturday on a security patrol in Panjwai district, west of Kandahar city. An Afghan police officer and an interpreter also died.

Soldiers salute during the ramp ceremony Sunday

On Sunday, both men were remembered as dedicated, professional soldiers who loved their jobs.
Roberge, a member of the Royal 22nd Regiment, had just returned from leave the day before his death, and had immediately insisted on rejoining his crew in the work of mentoring and training the Afghan National Police force.
Capt. Shane Gapp, Roberge's platoon commander, described Roberge as an exceptionally strong man, who once ate eight portions of military rations and could lift a truck.
"He was quick to laugh, quick to love, and always did the best that he could," Gapp said.
Roberge was also a man of strong faith "who didn't hesitate in demanding communion or a prayer of support whenever he felt the need," said Padre Michel Dion.
Dion offered condolences to Roberge's wife, Joanne, and his four children.
"Je me souviens," he said.
Kruse - an engineer section commander with 24 Field Squadron, 2 Combat Engineer Regiment - was a quiet and gentle man who loved being a sapper and who took pride in his work.
"He cared about his soldiers above just about everything else and the only thing he cared second to his soldiers was absolute success in everything he (did) as a soldier," said Maj. Matthew Sandy, commanding officer of 24 Field Squadron.
Kruse also worked with the squadron's quick-reaction force, responding to dangerous calls involving IEDs.
That's what he was doing when he and other members of the quick-reaction force, came out to examine a homemade bomb discovered by Roberge and his team of Afghan police officers.
Military officials said it wasn't yet clear whether it was that bomb that caused the explosion, or if another had been planted in the area. The matter remains under investigation.
Sandy said many soldiers owe their lives to the work Kruse did in Afghanistan.
"As an engineer, he gets people to where they want to go and once they are there, he makes sure they are safe to do their jobs. That's what he does," Sandy said.
At their home base in Petawawa, Ont. the soldiers were remembered Sunday.
"It is always difficult to receive the news that our comrades have fallen, but it is especially difficult at this time of year," said Col. Dean Milner, commander of the 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group at CFB Petawawa.
At the ramp ceremony, Padre Dion read from an e-mail written shortly before Christmas by Kruse's wife, Jill.
"Thank you to all the soldiers who continue to make sacrifices for us to enjoy the life that we have here in Canada. Christmas has finally come and our soldier isn't home and for over 2,700 families their soldiers won't be home either and for some families they won't have their soldiers sit at their table for Christmas dinner again. Please keep praying for the troops who are deployed, the families who support them and the families whose soldiers have fallen," the e-mail stated.
Kruse was also the father of three girls, including daughter Kari and twins Victoria and Megan.
"This past year has been a very difficult one. It is coming to an end under a cloud of grief and terrible sadness for these families cruelly struck by loss, for our soldiers, for Canada, for Afghanistan and for the entire world," Governor General Michaelle Jean said Sunday.
"We recognize the tremendous courage of these women and men who have chosen to serve with the Canadian Forces and who are prepared to make incredible sacrifices, facing every peril to help people in danger and aid them in their desire to achieve freedom and security."
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff praised the soldiers as dedicated to their country.
"The deaths of Warrant Officer Gaetan Roberge and Sgt. Gregory John Kruse remind us of the daily risks and sacrifices the men and women of our Canadian Forces make in service of our country," Ignatieff said in a statement Sunday. "We are grateful for their dedication to Canada and to building a safe and secure Afghanistan."

Repatriation - Our Three Soldiers are Coming Home
Sgt. Kruse and WO Roberge will arrive home tentatively on Tuesday, December 30th, 2008 at CFB Trenton, ON at 2:00 pm. Their repatriation has coincided with the delay of the repatriation of Pte. Freeman. All three soldiers will arrive on the tarmac in Trenton on Tuesday.

Please join others on the overpasses of the highway of heroes. (Hwy 401 between Trenton and Toronto). The entourage is expected to pass through Northumberland between 3:00 and 3:30 p.m. and then continue through Durham Region betweeen 3:30 and 4:15 p.m.
Wave a flag or wear red - let the families know they are not alone as we grieve by their sides.

See condolence messages below.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

God Bless Sgt. Gregory Kruse - Sunday, December 27th, 2008

As God welcomes Sgt. Kruse with open arms, please bless Sgt. Kruse for his bravery and hard work during his deployment overseas. Our thoughts, hearts and prayers are with his wife Jill and his daughters as they travel a difficult journey ahead. God Bless the soldiers who have served with Sgt. Kruse both here and in Afghanistan. Our hearts are with you as you grieve your comrade's loss. Godspeed.

Chimo Sgt. Kruse - you are well loved and respected.
You will always be remembered. Sergeant Gregory John Kruse was amongst two Canadian soldiers, as well as one member of the Afghan National Police and one Afghan interpreter that were killed on 27 December 2008, when an explosive device detonated in their vicinity in the Panjwayi District.
Sergeant Gregory John Kruse was from 2 Combat Engineer Regiment, Canadian Forces Base Petawawa. He was serving as a member of 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group.

Joint Task Force Afghanistan (JTF-Afg) is the Canadian Forces (CF) contribution to the international effort in Afghanistan. Its operations focus on working with Afghan authorities to improve security, governance and economic development in Afghanistan.
JTF-Afg comprises more than 2,750 CF members. Most of them serve at Kandahar Airfield or Camp Nathan Smith, the home of the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Kandahar City. CF members also work at various military headquarters and support bases in southwest Asia, and with civilian organizations in Afghanistan.

Le sergent Gregory John Kruse est l’un de deux soldats canadiens en plus d’un membre de la police nationale afghane et d’un interprète afghan qui ont été tués aujourd’hui, le 27 décembre 2008, lorsqu’ils ont été victime d’une explosion. L’incident est survenu dans le district de Panjwayi.
Le sergent Gregory John Kruse était membre du 2 Combat Engineer Regiment de la Base des Forces canadiennes de Petawawa. Il servait au sein du 3e Bataillon du groupe tactique The Royal Canadian Regiment.
La Force opérationnelle interarmées en Afghanistan (JTF-Afg) est la contribution des Forces canadiennes à l’effort international en Afghanistan. Ses opérations portent sur la collaboration avec les autorités afghanes afin d’améliorer la sécurité, la gouvernance et le développement économique en Afghanistan.
La JTF-Afg se compose de plus de 2 750 membres des FC. La plupart d’entre eux servent à l’aérodrome de Kandahar ou au Camp Nathan Smith, foyer de l’Équipe provinciale de reconstruction à Kandahar City. Les membres des FC travaillent aussi dans divers quartiers généraux militaires et bases de soutien dans le sud-ouest asiatique et avec des organisations civiles en Afghanistan.

Photo Credit: A commrade of our fallen soldier

Condolences
If you'd like to post condolences to the Kruse family, please enter them in the comments section and I'll transfer them below.


“We mourn the loss of Canadian Forces member, Sergeant Gregory John Kruse, who died yesterday while conducting security operations in Afghanistan when an improvised explosive device detonated near them.
My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and comrades during this difficult time and with the four other CF members who were injured in the same explosion. I wish them a swift recovery.
Canada will not be deterred from executing this UN-sanctioned, NATO-led mission, though it is a challenging one. The Taliban cannot be allowed to once again plunge Afghanistan into a state of repression and fear.
Sergeant Kruse was a brave soldier, and his selfless efforts to help improve the lives of the Afghan people will not be forgotten.” ~ Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence
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"My prayers are lifted for this hero and the family who loves him so." ~ Airman Mom
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"Bless this family for the sacrifice they have made for the people of Afghanistan." ~ SusanE.
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"Still reeling from the shock of yesterday’s announcement, we have received further heart-wrenching, painful news today, again from Afghanistan. It was with great sorrow that we learned that Sergeant Gregory John Kruse, from 2 Combat Engineer Regiment based in Petawawa was killed when an explosive device was detonated while they were conducting security operations in the Panjwayi District. One member of the Afghan National Police and one Afghan interpreter were also killed. Four Canadian soldiers and one Afghan interpreter were wounded.
This past year has been a very difficult one. It is coming to an end under a cloud of grief and terrible sadness for these families cruelly struck by loss, for our soldiers, for Canada, for Afghanistan and for the entire world.
We recognize the tremendous courage of these women and men who have chosen to serve with the Canadian Forces and who are prepared to make incredible sacrifices, facing every peril to help people in danger and aid them in their desire to achieve freedom and security.
To the families, friends and loved ones of this fallen soldier, we offer our sincerest condolences as we mourn this tragedy with them."
~ Michaëlle Jean
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God Bless you both. I am retired US Navy with 2 tours in Afghanistan under my belt so I am aware of the trials that occur there. My heart felt condolences to both families and please know that these to heros as well as those who have gone before them will long be remembered.
~ Gene DeenerHospital Corpsman Chief Petty Officer, US Navy Retired
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Rest in Peace Sgt. Kruse, thank you for going abroad to protect our country. This ultimate sacrifice will not be forgotten. Bless you and your family. ~R.C.M.P. Officer Oromocto, N.B.
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May God be with you and your family Jill.Although i didn't know Greg I will never forget him
and his sacrifice for our country.If theres anything i can do to help you and the girls dont hesitate to call me. ~Bill C
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My heartfelt condolences to the family of Sgt. Gregory Kruse. May his mother, brothers, wife and daughters find serenity and peace in the New Year. I'll be keeping you all in my thoughts. ~ Margaret Ann Buckley
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I was deeply saddened to hear of Sergent Gregory Kruse's death, he was a childhood friend of mine. I had lost contact with him after I left school as I moved away, but the words that I would have used to describe him in youth were "Loyal and Honourable" and I believe those same words would certainly have applied to him in his military service.My best wishes go to his family.Rest in peace old friend. ~Roger Spackman

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Warrant Officer Gaétan Roberge - December 27th, 2008

Our Fallen Soldier Warrant Officer Gaétan Roberge
Warrant Officer Gaétan Roberge was amongst two Canadian soldiers, (Sgt. Gregory Kruse), as well as one member of the Afghan National Police and one Afghan interpreter that were killed on 27 December 2008, when an explosive device detonated in their vicinity in the Panjwayi District. 4 other Canadian Soldiers were wounded.
Warrant Officer Gaétan Roberge, from the 2nd Battalion, The Irish Regiment of Canada. He was serving as a member of the Police Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team. My heart and prayers go out to the families and friends of WO Roberge both here and in Afghanistan. My prayers are with the family and friends both here and in Afghanistan. He will never be forgotten.


If you would like to leave condolences for the family of WO Roberge, please post them in the comment section and then I shall transfer them below.

Condolences
"Still reeling from the shock of yesterday’s announcement, we have received further heart-wrenching, painful news today, again from Afghanistan. It was with great sorrow that we learned that Warrant Officer Gaétan Roberge, from the 2nd Battalion, The Irish Regiment of Canada and Sergeant Gregory John Kruse, from 2 Combat Engineer Regiment based in Petawawa were killed when an explosive device was detonated while they were conducting security operations in the Panjwayi District. One member of the Afghan National Police and one Afghan interpreter were also killed. Four Canadian soldiers and one Afghan interpreter were wounded.
This past year has been a very difficult one. It is coming to an end under a cloud of grief and terrible sadness for these families cruelly struck by loss, for our soldiers, for Canada, for Afghanistan and for the entire world.
We recognize the tremendous courage of these women and men who have chosen to serve with the Canadian Forces and who are prepared to make incredible sacrifices, facing every peril to help people in danger and aid them in their desire to achieve freedom and security.
To the families, friends and loved ones of these fallen soldiers, we offer our sincerest condolences as we mourn this tragedy with them."
Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada

“We mourn the loss of two Canadian Forces members, Warrant Officer Gaétan Roberge and Sergeant Gregory John Kruse, who died yesterday while conducting security operations in Afghanistan when an improvised explosive device detonated near them.
My thoughts and prayers are with their families, friends and comrades during this difficult time, and with the four other CF members who were injured in the same explosion. I wish them a swift recovery.
Canada will not be deterred from executing this UN-sanctioned, NATO-led mission, though it is a challenging one. The Taliban cannot be allowed to once again plunge Afghanistan into a state of repression and fear.
Warrant Officer Roberge and Sergeant Kruse were brave soldiers, and their selfless efforts to help improve the lives of the Afghan people will not be forgotten.”
~ Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence

God Bless you both. I am retired US Navy with 2 tours in Afghanistan under my belt so I am aware of the trials that occur there. My heart felt condolences to both families and please know that these to heros as well as those who have gone before them will long be remembered.

Gene Deener Hospital Corpsman Chief Petty Officer, US Navy Retired

Friday, December 26, 2008

Private Michael Freeman - December 26th, 2008- 12:45 PM

Canadian Soldier, Private Michael Freeman, Killed in Afghanistan

It is with heavy heart that I post the following entry.
Our Canadian soldier was killed and three others were injured when their armoured vehicle was struck by an explosion in Zharey District about 12:45 p.m. Kandahar time, December 26, 2008.
The fallen soldier is Private Michael Freeman of 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment based at CFB Petawawa.
My thoughts and prayers go out to family and friends of our fallen soldier as well to his family and friends who served alongside Private Freeman in Afghanistan. The dedication and sacrifice of soldiers like Private Michael Freeman has helped make a difference in the lives of countless Afghan citizens. You will never be forgotten.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!



I'd like to wish our soldiers serving throughout the world a Merry Christmas. Through all the hardships, the dust, the gains through your work, know that we are proud of you and stand behind you here. Godspeed, God Bless and safe mission.

To the families of soldiers, as I walk through the stores, I hear the song "I'll be Home for Christmas" I usually well up inside. I was so proud knowing that I didn't let it "get to me" this time.. I conquered the Christmas muzak! Well, on Christmas Eve, I had finished purchasing my groceries to get the family through the next couple of days and proceeded walking through the snow drifts to my car when I heard a young man laughing and joking with his Dad. I looked at them and then down at my bags fluttering in my cart.. and it hit me... my son won't be home for Christmas. I cried as I loaded my car with the chocolates, the dinners.. that he would love so much. And I prayed. For his safety and for all our soldiers so bravely serving our country. To families of soldiers, as this may be a difficult season to travel through, let the love ring in your hearts and warmth in your homes as you too continue burning the homefires.

To my son: I love you. Merry Christmas! I'm so proud of you. Love, Mom oxox

Cherish His Christmas

Christmas brings such a time of love, Each tender heart holds so much of
Unselfishness thrives, trust is strong, The purpose to give, send love along
A time of pleasantries, patience too, Good wishes to all, all feelings true
Thankfulness follows each fine deed; Gifts from our God, never from greed
Great the rewards that joy does bring; Like the beauty in hearing angels sing
We pray for our loved, each so dear; Especially those who can’t be near
Many leave home to bravely serve; All freedoms we have, they preserve
Do pray for our troops, as we should; And their families too, if you would
Give thanks to our Lord, His only Son; And cherish His Christmas, everyone.

~ Roger J. Robicheau

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Canadian Soldiers in Kandahar Hand out Toys to Children for Christmas Eve

Canadian soldiers in Kandahar hand out toys to children for Christmas Eve



Canadian soldiers outside Kandahar Air Field in southern Afghanistan faced a rowdy crowd of local civilians Wednesday but the encounter had a happy outcome.
Dozens of Afghan children walked away from the meeting with soldiers carrying stuffed toys, new clothes and other Christmas gifts from Canada's Armed Forces.
Two military trucks pulled up just outside the main base at the airfield and soldiers were immediately surrounded by boys and girls of all ages. Troops handed down purple, white and lime-green teddy bears, bars of soap, sweaters and scarves.
Despite the bright winter sunshine, the warm clothing is essential, according to Canadian troops involved in the exercise.
"It gets cold around here at night this time of year," said Cpl. Lisa Parianos, adding with a smile, " We tried to get it out in an orderly fashion but didn't work out so well."
Parianos was one of several Canadian Forces soldiers giving away the toys and clothing. In charge was Chief Warrant Officer Mike Hayes, who said the decision to give away surplus school supplies and toys was made earlier this week.
"We knew we had a lot of [leftover] stuff and we knew this was a good time to hand them out, so we brought them out on Christmas Eve," said Hayes, who serves as a liaison between the military and local people.
He said in 32 years of military service he was spending his first Christmas away from his family in Canada.
Parianos told CBC's David Common that the giveaway was an attempt to add some holiday spirit to life in Kandahar.
"It doesn't feel like Christmas here," she said. "We don't have anything Christmas-like here, so we're trying to make it feel that way by giving gifts to people."
Afghan women watched the gift distribution from the balconies of bombed-out apartment buildings, some exhorting their children to get closer to the action around the two Canadian military vehicles. Some called for young girls who'd missed out as boys jostled around the trucks to be given their share of the booty.
This is the seventh Christmas that Canadian forces have been in Afghanistan, with this country's soldiers involved in the U.S. led coalition in the country since October 2001.
In 2005, Canada joined the NATO mission to Afghanistan and deployed its forces in Kandahar province.
About 2,500 troops are involved in the Afghan deployment.

Santa Brings Festivities to Kandahar




December 24, 2008


KANDAHAR AIR FIELD, Afghanistan - Santa Claus touched down at Kandahar Air Field Wednesday and spread some Christmas cheer to some of the 2,500 Canadian soldiers stationed in Afghanistan.
Troops on the base enjoyed a festive celebration and in addition to receiving treats from the man in the red suit, they were entertained by Canadian comedian Mike Macdonald and Ottawa singer Kathleen Edwards.
"I'm very honoured to have been asked to come here," Edwards told the crowd of soldiers. "I've had a most incredible time."
The troops, some donning Santa hats and other festive accessories along with their uniforms, enjoyed the festivities.
"The last couple of days have been busy for us," said Capt. John Pilon."The next few hours we'll relax."
The party provided some laughs and a few hours of revelry but it's hard to be away from home for Christmas, one soldier said.
"It sucks," said Master Cpl. Tom Dillon. "It's one of those things you do for your country."
Earlier in the day, Canadian soldiers handed out gifts to Afghan children near the base. An anxious crowd of local Afghans crowded around two military trucks and received toys, school supplies, stuffed animals, clothing, hats, scarves and toiletries.
"It gets cold around here at night this time of year," said Cpl. Lisa Tarianos, one of the soldiers involved in the exercise. "We thought we could try and get out there in an orderly fashion but it didn't work so well," she said with a smile.
She also spoke about the difficulty of being so far away from Canada at Christmas.
"It doesn't feel like Christmas," she said. "We don't have anything Christmas-like here, so we were trying to do something that felt good. We were trying to make it feel like Christmas by giving and doing what we can."
Chief Warrant Officer Mike Hayes, who was in charge of the gift delivery, said it was his first Christmas away from home in his 32-year career. He said the Afghan children were excited to receive the gifts.
"The children were just loving it," he said. "We just happen to pick Christmas Eve," he said. "We knew we had a lot of supplies, we thought it was a good time for us to do it, so we brought them out today on Christmas Eve."

Saturday, December 20, 2008

As Christmas gets closer, the Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Region has put the finishing touches on plans to track and escort Santa Claus when he visits Canada by naming four CF-18 fighter pilots as his official escorts. Major Kirk Soroka and Captain Dan Walters of 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta., and Captain Benoit Bouchard and Captain Matthew Maurice of 3 Wing Bagotville, Quebec, will take on the responsibility of welcoming Santa when he arrives in Canada on his annual Christmas Eve journey, and escorting him safely through Canadian airspace.Special NORAD SantaCams, positioned around the world, will take photos and video of Santa and his sleigh as he journeys around the world. The SantaCams instantly download the photo and video imagery so that it may be viewed by children worldwide on the NORAD Tracks Santa website, www.noradsanta.org, on December 24. All of this information will be available in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish and Chinese.In coordination with the North Pole, NORAD has been informed that Santa intends to begin his journey at 6 a.m. EST, on Dec. 24. The Canadian Air Defence Sector Operations Centre at 22 Wing in North Bay, Ontario, will alert NORAD when their radars detect Santa approaching North America. Two CF-18 Hornet fighter jets from 3 Wing will welcome Santa as he enters Canadian airspace off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. As Santa flies across Canada from east to west, two CF-18 Hornets from 4 Wing will escort him out of Canadian airspace and turn over escort duties to the Continental U.S. NORAD Region so that he may continue his Yuletide trip.Starting on December 24, children can also receive updates on Santa's Christmas Eve journey by calling the traditional "NORAD Tracks Santa" telephone hotline at 1-877-HI NORAD, or by emailing NORAD. Last year, the NORAD Tracks Santa website received 10,660,838 unique visitors from 212 countries and territories around the world. On Christmas Eve alone, 1,012 "Santa Trackers" answered 94,743 telephone calls and answered 10,326 emails.NORAD is a bi-national United States and Canadian organization, charged with the missions of aerospace warning and aerospace control for North America. The year 2008 marks the 50th anniversary of NORAD, which is celebrating a half-century of Canadians and Americans working shoulder-to-shoulder in defence of North America. NORAD performs its mission 365 days-per-year, but on Christmas Eve, NORAD performs an additional mission - tracking Santa around the world.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Our Fallen Soldiers December 13, 2008

Join me in praying for the families, friends and comrades of our fallen soldiers: Cpl. Thomas Hamilton, Pte. Justin Jones, and Pte. John Curwin.


Cpl. Thomas James Hamilton
Age: 26
Home Town: Truro, Nova Scotia
Unit: 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment
Deceased: December 13, 2008
Incident: Improvised explosive device, Arghandab district, Afghanistan.

Corporal Thomas James Hamilton was killed as a result of an improvised explosive device attack on an armoured vehicle during a patrol in the Arghandab District. The incident occurred approximately 14 kilometers west of Kandahar City at about 9:00 a.m., Kandahar time, on 13 December 2008.
Corporal Hamilton was from 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment from CFB Gagetown, New Brunswick, and served as a member of the Force Protection Company of the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team.
Pte. John Michael Roy Curwin
Age: 26
Home Town: Mount Uniacke, Nova Scotia
Unit: 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment
Deceased: December 13, 2008
Incident: Improvised explosive device, Arghandab district, Afghanistan.

Private John Michael Roy Curwin was killed as a result of an improvised explosive device attack on an armoured vehicle during a patrol in the Arghandab District. The incident occurred approximately 14 kilometers west of Kandahar City at about 9:00 a.m., Kandahar time, on 13 December 2008.Private John Michael Roy Curwin was from 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment from CFB Gagetown, New Brunswick, and served as a member of the Force Protection Company of the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team

Pte. Justin Peter Jones
Age: 21
Home Town: Baie Verte, Newfoundland
Unit: 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment
Deceased: December 13, 2008
Incident: Improvised explosive device, Arghandab district, Afghanistan.

Pte. John Michael Roy Curwin
Age: 26
Home Town: Mount Uniacke, Nova Scotia
Unit: 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment
Deceased: December 13, 2008
Incident: Improvised explosive device, Arghandab district, Afghanistan.



Private Justin Peter Jones was killed as a result of an improvised explosive device attack on an armoured vehicle during a patrol in the Arghandab District. The incident occurred approximately 14 kilometers west of Kandahar City at about 9:00 a.m., Kandahar time, on 13 December 2008.
Private Justin Peter Jones was from 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment from CFB Gagetown, New Brunswick, and served as a member of the Force Protection Company of the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team.
Joint Task Force Afghanistan (JTF-Afg) is the Canadian Forces (CF) contribution to the international effort in Afghanistan. Its operations focus on working with Afghan authorities to improve security, governance and economic development in Afghanistan.
Le Soldat Justin Peter Jones a été tué suite à une attaque à l’engin explosif improvisé contre un véhicule blindé au cours d’une patrouille dans le district d’Arghandab. L’incident s’est produit à environ 14 kilomètres à l’ouest de Kandahar City, vers 9 h 00, heure de Kandahar, le 13 décembre 2008.
Le Soldat Justin Peter Jones appartenait au 2e Bataillon, The Royal Canadian Regiment, de la BFC Gagetown, Nouveau-Brunswick, et servait à titre de membre de la Compagnie de protection de la force pour l’Équipe provinciale de reconstruction de Kandahar.
La Force opérationnelle interarmées en Afghanistan (JTF-Afg) est la contribution des Forces canadiennes à l’effort international en Afghanistan. Ses opérations portent sur le travail avec les autorités afghanes pour améliorer la sécurité, la gouvernance et le développement économique en Afghanistan.
Ramp Ceremony - Afghanistan December 14th 2008


Pallbearers gently place the remains of one of the three fallen soldiers onto the deck of the awaiting Hercules aircraft during a ramp ceremony at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. Corporal Thomas James Hamilton, Private John Michael Roy Curwin, and Private Justin Peter Jones were from 2nd Batallion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, based in Gagetown, New Brunswick. The Three soldiers were killed in action on Saturday 13 Dec 08 after their Armoured Vehicle was struck by an Improvised Explosive Device(IED) in Arghandab District, Afghanistan

Repatriation Ceremony - December 16, 2008


Soldiers carefully carry the bodies of 3 fallen soldiers from the plane at CFB Trenton.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

"Trees for Troops" Program.. (for some families)


The families of Canadian Forces Personnel serving overseas will be receiving Christmas trees thanks to a generous donation from the Canadian Christmas Tree Growers Association.

(see personal note below)

“Nothing sustains the morale of our brave men and women in uniform more than the knowledge that the people back home appreciate the often difficult and dangerous work they do for us,” said Prime Minister Stephen Harper who participated in the ‘Trees for Troops’ event. “This is a genuinely kind gesture of support for our military families that says thank you for the sacrifices you and your loved ones make on behalf of our country.

Under the ‘Trees for Troops’ program, approximately 1,500 military families are accepting the offer of a free Christmas tree. Trees are handed out at Canadian Forces Bases throughout Canada, including Petawawa where 400 local families received trees.Prime Minister Harper also announced that the Government of Canada would make it easier for overseas Canadian Forces personnel to call home over the holidays. Each member of the Canadian forces would receive a phone card worth 35 minutes of extra international phone time.“The Christmas season is a difficult time for our troops and their families,” said the Prime Minister. “Every little thing we do counts. I would urge all Canadians to do what they can to support the military families who will be spending Christmas apart from their loved ones. Something as simple as a card, a cup of Christmas cheer, or an invitation to dinner will go a long way to easing their loneliness and expressing our gratitude for all they and their families do.”

On a personal note.. I think this is a wonderful endeavour. However, I never received a Christmas tree, nor was I phoned to see if our family would like to receive one. I am wondering which families of soldiers benefitted from this program? It sure is difficult when some families are left out. It's not fair and I know we're not the only ones feeling this way. Harper, I guess no one thought to thank nor acknowledge some of the families..that are left out of the program? We are still families of soldiers who as well work diligently for and serving our country. Our sons and daughters as well as us "made sacrifices for our country". We should not be forgotten! (grumble, grumble) God bless us everyone.. (only certain ones?)

Friday, December 05, 2008

God Bless our Troops - Friday, December 5, 2008

Today I pray, as with fellow Canadian, for the families of our 3 fine Canadian soldiers who were died December 5, 2008 at 9 am today as they travel a difficult journey ahead. My thoughts and prayers also go to their military familes (the troops who trained with them and those who served alongside them during their rotation in Afghanistan)
I first heard of this news after being contacted by a reporter this early afternoon.

Three Canadian Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan
Three Canadian soldiers were killed as a result of an improvised explosive device attack on their armoured vehicle during a joint patrol with Afghan National Army soldiers in the Arghandab District. The incident occurred approximately 15 kilometres west of Kandahar City at about 9:00 a.m., Kandahar time on 5 December 2008.The Canadian soldiers were participating in a vehicle patrol with their Afghan colleagues when their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device. The three soldiers were killed instantly by the explosion.Killed in action were Corporal Mark Robert McLaren and Private Demetrios Diplaros. The primary next of kin for all three soldiers have been notified; however, the third name will not be released at this time at the request of the family.
In an unrelated incident, earlier on the same day, two Canadian soldiers were seriously injured when an improvised explosive device detonated in the vicinity of a joint Canadian - Afghan foot patrol in Zharey District. The incident occurred at approximately 8:00 a.m., Kandahar time, approximately 30 kilometres west of Kandahar City.
A cordon was quickly established and the soldiers were evacuated by helicopter to the Multi-national Medical Facility at Kandahar Airfield where one soldier is reported to be in serious condition and the other is reported to be in fair condition. The names of the injured soldiers will not be released.
Today Canada lost three fine soldiers. They served Canada in an effort to bring peace and security to the people of Afghanistan. God Bless.

Pte Diplaros

Pte Diplaros was a member of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, from Canadian Forces Base Petawawa, Ontario. He was deployed in Afghanistan with Task Force Kandahar’s Operational Mentor and Liaison Team.

Cpl McLaren
Cpl McLaren was a member of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, from Canadian Forces Base Petawawa, Ontario. He was deployed in Afghanistan with Task Force Kandahar’s Operational Mentor and Liaison Team

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Families's Christmas Wishes from One Side of the World to the Other

Families of deployed soldiers were offered the opportunity to wish their sons and daughters a Merry Christmas. Last night, CKCO TV (CTV) in Kitchener opened their studios to the families and video taped Christmas messages from families to their loved ones. Families came from Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo, Hamilton, and Peterborough. While waiting, families had a chance to speak to meet with one another as they truly had a commonality within their own family circle.

A special thank you to CKCO / CTV for giving families an avenue for connecting with the soldiers during this special holiday season. And a BIG thank you to the cameraman! He'll know what I mean ;)

"Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our Troops!"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

We Remember

We shall always remember our fallen soldiers and our soldiers serving today.
Our hearts are with you.
Below is a posting of a video from Afghanistan:

Monday, October 27, 2008

God Bless Arielle Keyes-Oliver - October 25, 2008



It is with sadness that I announce the death of a soldier - Gunner Arielle Keyes-Oliver. Bless her family - the Keyes-Oliver family, her University Family in Ottawa and her military families in Petawawa, Ottawa and Guelph - Giving them strength to travel together during this difficult journey ahead.
May prayers also be with the wounded soldiers in Petawawa as well as the soldier injured in Afghanistan and their families - giving them strength together and strength in healing.
With sympathy and prayers,
~m.m.
Oct 25, 2008 19:59 ET
One Soldier Killed, Four Seriously Injured During Training Accident
A soldier is dead and another four are in serious condition in hospital after a training accident at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa.
At approximately 10:30 a.m. local time, a Medium Logistics Vehicle Wheeled (MLVW) carrying ten soldiers rolled over in the CFB Petawawa training area during a military exercise while riding in the back of the military truck when it rolled over in the training area on the west side of Highway 17.





Gunner Arielle Keyes-Oliver, a member of 30th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery, was the soldier killed in the accident. Also injured in the accident were Second Lieutenant Ryan MacIntyre, Bombardier Jordan Anstey, Bombardier Frederic Koch, Bombardier Alexander Mullaly, all soldiers are members of 30th Field Regiment (RCA) a Reserve unit based in Ottawa.CFB Petawawa Fire Department, Military Police, and paramedics from the County of Renfrew responded to the accident. Base information officer Cpt. Andrew Hennessy said the injured soldiers were transported to the Pembroke Hospital for treatment. Everyone is currently described as being in stable condition.
The incident has stunned the base.
"Any loss is a shock. The Canadian Forces is a close-knit group, like a family," said Lt.-Col. Moore. "An incident like this strikes at the heart of all our members.
"Our condolences go out to the family of Gunner Keyes-Oliver for their loss." Approximately 50 members of the regiment were at CFB Petawawa for the weekend where they were conducting typical artillery and field craft training.
"Our focus right now is looking after the family of Gunner Keyes- Oliver and providing support to them which is followed by taking care of the injured,"Lt.-Col. Moore said. "All members of the regiment and leadership are pulling out all the stops to help."
While emphasizing that caring for the family of the deceased soldier as well as caring for the injured are the priority at this time, Lt.-Col. Moore did say an investigation into the incident has already begun.
A team from the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) arrived in Petawawa late Saturday afternoon and is currently investigating the accident.
Following the accident, the weekend exercise was called off and the remaining members of the regiment, which had been bivouacked in the training area, were brought back to the base for a warm meal and support.
Lt.-Col. Moore said immediately after the incident, military chaplains visited the injured and the members of the unit to provide support.

The MLVW
The truck the soldiers were riding in was described as a Medium Logistics Vehicle Wheeled or MLVW. The vehicle is basically the army's standard truck. .MLVW -The Medium Logistics Wheeled Vehicle (MLVW) is the workhorse truck of the Canadian military. It is used to haul equipment, spare parts, troops and to pull artillery guns. The vehicle weighs in at roughly seven tonnes. The Canadian Forces has 2,769 of the vehicles which entered service in 1982. I found this linked story "Temporary restriction of Medium Logistics Vehicle Wheeled (MLVW)R-00.139 22 - December 22, 2000 " to be of interest.

This is the first fatality in the base's training area in six years. On Sept. 23, 2002, Sapper Mariebeth Short, 22, a member of 2 Combat Engineer Regiment, died after the light-armoured vehicle (LAV III) she was travelling in rolled over on the Mattawa Plains.
Previous to that, in 1999 Master Cpl. Don Lasante of Petawawa was electrocuted when the communications antennae he erected touched a live hydro line. The incident occurred during an exercise taking place near Beachburg. Four other troops were injured in the incident.

Arielle was part of the 11th Field in Guelph, ON before transferring to the 30th Royal Canadian Artillery in Ottawa where she attended Carlton University.

Carleton University Mourns a Student, a Soldier... a Friend
The halls of Keyes-Oliver's floor in residence seemed quiet, but a large tribute prominently displayed on a bulletin board spoke volumes. Floormates were able to leave messages along the edges of the board on bright pink paper or on paper ornamented with a rose, beside a note explaining it would go to Keyes-Oliver's family. One student wrote: "Our floor's not as fun without you. We will miss your smile and personality. Rest in peace." Her family, friends and peers remember Keyes-Oliver as an exceptional friend, student and soldier. "Arielle always put a smile on your face no matter what you were feeling," said Richard Carpenter, who met Arielle when he was 12 while they were both in Sea Cadets. "She was a great friend, a strong leader and a damn fine soldier."Shannon O'Connell said she met Keyes-Oliver on the flight to a cadet summer camp in Nova Scotia."She taught me everything from how to shine my boots, to lighting up a room with one smile," O'Connell said.She recalled one time at camp when Arielle was sent home sick."My whole division got up in the middle of the night to see her off," she said.Jhuntue Dion-Alexander Keith Grey met Arielle at summer camp where they were in the same gunnery division two years in a row."Most of the time she was positive and funny . . . she made everyone want to stay," he said. "The course we took was really stressful . . . She made me look forward to going back to summer camp."Grey remembered Arielle's determination in everything she did."A lot of the people that knew her from cadets are at a loss right now," Grey said. "They can't believe it's happened. She's always been the determined one keeping everyone going."Arielle had always been interested in doing something involved with the military, Grey said, whether it was being in cadets or joining the reserves. Keyes-Oliver was one of The Bytown Gunners of the 30th Field Regiment in the Royal Canadian Artillery while she was attending Carleton in her first year. Carleton President Roseann Runte wrote a letter to students Oct. 27 that said: "Arielle and the dedicated servicemen and women with whom she was traveling, and who were seriously injured, merit our respect and admiration for their commitment to Canada, their dedication and their courage." The school said grief counselors are available on campus for anyone who needs them.

Details on a memorial at Carleton have not yet been finalized.


Statement from the Keyes-Oliver Family:
" Arielle lit up the world with her smile and sense of humour. She was a wonderful daughter, granddaughter, niece, sister, cousin, girlfriend, and friend to many. She was also a wonderful soldier. She was proud to be a Canadian and proud to wear the uniform. She was amazing in everything she set her goals on, from playing the drums, piano, and trumpet, being a sea cadet and gunner, to kick-boxing and horseback riding. After graduating university she planned to travel the world and work internationally. Arielle was a natural leader and was concerned with everyone she came in contact with. In groups of friends, she was always considerate that they were taken care of. Although her life was far too short, she touched the lives of many. She will be greatly missed by all. We would like to thank our family and friends for their support in our time of mourning."

The Keyes-Oliver family wishes that the Media respect their privacy during this period of deep mourning. Information concerning the funeral service will be made later as details are known.

Obituary
ARIELLE KEYES-OLIVER 1989 - 2008 Passed away tragically, at CFB Petawawa on Saturday, October 25, 2008, at 19 years of age. Arielle is sadly missed by her loving parents, Diane and David; her beloved sister, Tressa; cherished grandparents, Ken and Catherine Richardson of Cambridge, Doug and Eileen Oliver of Grey County; and her special friend, Antoine Trabulsi. She will be forever remembered by her many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. Arielle was born in Cambridge, graduated from KCI in Kitchener and was attending Carleton University in Ottawa. Among her many interests were music, horseback riding and kickboxing. Arielle was a Sea Cadet at No. 94 Warspite in Kitchener for five years and next month would have been her two year anniversary in the army. She attained her Gunner's Hat Badge this past summer. Arielle was involved in three regiments, the Highland Fusiliers of Cambridge, and the 11th and 30th Field Regiments of the Royal Canadian Artillery. Friends are invited to share their memories of Arielle with her family during visitation at the Erb & Good Family Funeral Home , 171 King Street South, Waterloo, on Thursday, October 30, from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. and Friday, October 31 from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. The funeral Service will be held at Waterloo Pentecostal Assembly, 395 King Street North, Waterloo on Saturday, November 1, 2008 at 11 a.m. Interment will follow at Parkview Cemetery, Waterloo. Condolences for the family and donations to a Memorial Scholarship Fund in Arielle's name at Carleton University may be arranged by calling the funeral home, 519-745-8445 or http://www.erbgood.com/. In living memory of Arielle, a donation will be made to the Trees for Learning Program by the funeral home.




All Is Well

Death is nothing at all,

I have only slipped into the next room

I am I and you are you

Whatever we were to each other,

that we are still.

Call me by my old familiar name,

Speak to me in the easy way

which you always used

Put no difference in your tone,

Wear no forced air

of solemnity or sorrow

Laugh as we always laughed

at the little jokes

we enjoyed together.

Play, smile, think of me,

pray for me.

Let my name be ever

the household word that it always was,

Let it be spoken without effect,

without the trace of shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.

It it the same as it ever was,

there is unbroken continuity.

Why should I be out of mind

because I am out of sight?

I am waiting for you,

for an interval,

omewhere very near,

Just around the corner.

All is well.

By Henry Scott Holland (1847-1918) Canon of St Paul's Cathedral

Condolences to the Keyes-Oliver Family
If you wish to leave condolences, please place them in the comments section and I will transfer them to the area below.
Regards,

Military Mom


"I am deeply saddened by the loss of Gunner Arielle Keyes-Oliver, who was killed yesterday in a training accident in Petawawa, Ontario. On behalf of the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces, I would like to offer our utmost sympathies to her family and friends during this very difficult time. I would also like to wish a quick recovery to the four other Canadian soldiers injured in the accident. Our thoughts are with you.Canada and the Canadian Forces have lost a bright, young and talented soldier. Her loss is a tragedy and she will be missed."
Peter Gordon MacKay
Minister of National Defence

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"My husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond, and I were deeply saddened to learn of the accident which claimed the life of Gunner Arielle Keyes-Oliver, who was stationed with the 30th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery. Our thoughts are also with the four others injured in this accident, as well as with the soldier injured in Afghanistan over the weekend.
The dedication of our Canadian Forces knows no limits, and it is now, as we come together to grieve this loss, that we can attest to it. Gunner Keyes-Oliver devoted her life in service of this country and today I join with all Canadians in supporting her family, friends and colleagues as they mourn her passing."
Michaelle Jean,
Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Any day we lose one of our Canadian soldiers either overseas or in Canada is a sad day. "
Anonymous

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Prayers to this family!
Airman Mom
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"My husband, and several of our friends knew her...they trained her. They will be attending the funeral on Saturday. Rest in Peace Gunner."

Anonymous
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"As the mother of three daughters, I can only imagine the loss that the Keyes-Oliver family is experiencing. My heart goes out to all of you and all of Arielle's friends and coworkers, as well. She sounds like an incredible young woman and she will be missed, I am sure."

Lana Keon Carleton University Staff

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"As the mother of a soldier, I cannot imagine the heartbreak Arielle's family and friends are experiencing. My prayers go out to you. Your inspiring daughter will not be forgotten."

wjcatnip

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Arielle...30th field just isn't the same without you around. We all love and miss you so very much. Your time at the unit was short but we are filled with so many great memories from such a beautiful, talented, determined and friendly soldier. May you find rest up there in heaven. Arielle...End of Mission, Stand Easy."

Anonymous

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sunday, October 19, 2008



Veterans' 5 Km Walk and Run
What: Veterans' Walk and Run, in support of the Sunnybrook Foundation, Veterans' Grant-a-Wish-Fund
When: November 9th 2008, 1pm
Where: Wilket Creek Park (Leslie, North of Eglington)
Who: Everyone welcome!
This is a great event for friends and families to spend the afternoon outdoors supporting a great cause.
Cost: $10.00 per person
Register by filling out the registration form and emailing it to veteranswalkandrun@gmail.com.
Download PDF Flyer

Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences
Centre is home to the largest Veterans’ care
facility in Canada. The facility offers long term
and complex hospital care for 500 veterans from
the Second World War and the Korean War.
The Sunnybrook Foundation’s Veterans’
Grant a Wish Fund grants wishes for these
Veterans’ throughout the year. Wishes cost
between $100 and $500, but are priceless
experiences for the Veterans’ and their families.

Thanks Jennifer for the information! Let's get walking!! (and running!) It's an excellent cause!

The other day, I went to my neighbourhood Canada Post Outlet to send a care package off to my son (and his section) With effort, I got the 1st parcel onto the counter and advised them I had one more in the car. When I returned with the second one, my fav. Canada Post manager awaited my return with a big smile. He said to me... "it's starting again soon! Canada Post will be offering free postage to families of soldiers in a few days... Can it wait?"
I looked at him. I looked at the parcels adorned with pumpkin stickers and black cats and said, "No D., these ones have to go now... but you know me.. I'll be back." He said, "And I know it."
I paid for my parcels, patted each with a kiss.. then I turned to go shopping.

Effective October 20th, 2008, Canada Post will start providing free delivery of letters and parcels from family and friends to Canadian troops deployed overseas until the start of 2009.This free delivery offer extends to family and friends of the deployed troops serving overseas. They have to be posted to certain addresses only. (check with your local post office for qualification)

We strongly support our women and men in uniform, and we welcome this very positive initiative to help our troops overseas remain connected with their loved ones in Canada. I am thrilled that the Canada Post has decided to undertake this initiative, and I hope that many Canadian families will take advantage of this opportunity.

To ensure the proper postage, customs declaration and addressing information are used, the letters and parcels need to be sent from one of Canada Post's more than 6,600 full service retail outlets across the country - letters dropped in regular street letter boxes will not qualify for free delivery. They will then be forwarded to Canadian Forces Bases. Once delivered to the military bases, the Department of National Defense will take charge of the parcels and letters and ensure their delivery overseas. All mail must be addressed to a specific soldier, including rank and mission information.
A BIG HUA for Canada Post!!

Voter Turnout of Soldiers in Afghanistan Far Exceeds That in Canada






O.k.. someone explain this to me. Now I know that my son is over there and could possibly be intrumental in making sure troops vote (as some know), however that does not explain the apathy here. It truly makes me shake my head. Again I say how proud I am of our troops!


Results:
Voter turnout in Canada 59%
vs.
Voter turnout in Afghanistan (our troops, our soldiers in the fields, outside the wire,) 84%

Soldiers in Afghanistan Find Time to Vote per Montreal Gazette
Advance poll. Turnout far exceeds national average




The work day all but over yesterday, Bombardier Hollie Speers did what a lot of Canadians are thinking about these days: she voted in an advance poll.
Unlike the average voter, though, Speers cast her ballot with an assault rifle slung over her shoulder at a polling booth deep in Taliban country.
She was part of a Herculean effort to ensure that hundreds of Canadian troops in Afghanistan get a chance to exercise their democratic franchise, between firefights and reconstruction projects.

So far, the project has been a surprising success. The 75-per-cent poll turnout at Speers's forward operating base west of Kandahar city far exceeds the usual national average.
"I felt like, 'How could they not (set up a poll)?' " said the soldier, who helps operate a 155mm artillery gun. "It's a big part of why we're here, so how could they take it away from us?" Elections Canada sent ballots for all of the 2,500 or so Canadian service people stationed in Afghanistan. About a third of them had to be shipped out to the various outposts scattered through the most volatile parts of Kandahar province. Some were even transported by helicopter to the bases.
Capt. Chris Reeves, second-in-command at Speers's base and its designated deputy returning officer, said he had just got back from a harrowing patrol a few weeks ago - where he and his men came under fire from insurgents - to find a package addressed to him from Elections Canada.
It explained, among other points, that he was to allow representatives of the political parties to observe the polling if they applied. As it turned out, "none of the parties showed up," Capt. Reeves said with a grin, as shots rang out from a nearby rifle range.
Soldiers find their home riding in a booklet provided by Elections Canada, choose from a list of candidates for each riding and place their marked ballots in a sealed envelope, which is then sent off to Ottawa.
Reeves said the exercise has served as an unofficial lesson in democracy for the interpreters and other Afghan workers on the base, many of whom asked Capt. Reeves what all the fuss was about.
Some Canadian soldiers told him it was the first time they had voted, he said.
The officer was not alone in linking the election to the Afghanistan mission, partly intended to prevent a return of the anti-democratic Taliban.
"I feel it's my duty to vote," said Master Cpl. David Ritchie, an infantryman with the Royal Canadian Regiment's third battalion.
He said he has kept up to date with the campaign via Canadian TV beamed to a television in the base's mess.
"I'm a soldier and I'm a citizen," said Bombardier Ian Scott, 22, explaining why he felt it important to cast a ballot.
The only troops turned away by Capt. Reeves were two Americans who are here to train Afghan police. They thought they could cast a ballot in the U.S. presidential election at his polling station.






If You Didn't Vote, Shame on You
The Ottawa Citizen Published: Friday, October 17, 2008
Shame on all those eligible voters who did not exercise their democratic right to elect a new government on Oct. 14. Only 59 per cent exercised their right. Watching television interviews just before the election, it was hurtful to view apathetic Canadians, young people in particular, explain away with shallow excuses why they did not intend to vote.
Our right to vote in a democratic process has been bought with the blood and agony of thousands of young Canadians who have fought and died in foreign lands in the last 100 years. And the fight continues with Canadian soldiers dying in Afghanistan in defence of the democratic principles which we accept without thought. In my opinion, those who did not vote have demeaned our military and government personnel who continue to operate under the harshest imaginable conditions in Afghanistan. Hang your heads in shame.
Al Jones

Hey Troops!! ... Stephen Harper has been re-elected as your Prime Minister.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Giving Thanks to Our Troops



As you can see the time I'm writing this note.. I'm not sleeping. I'm thinking of our troops overseas.

As we sit down with family during this Thanksgiving Holiday, let us remember our soldiers in the fields - as they eat their rations in the dust swept deserts, eating from their cardboard plates. To them I wish a peaceful Thanksgiving Day Holiday.

To our soldiers:

Happy Thanksgiving Day! Godspeed! We think of you always and are THANKFUL for YOU.


As before, our family will forgo the fixings at the dining table as we will have our turkey dinner when our son comes home - with him. Happy Thanksgiving Day Son. We love you! Gido says "Hi to my Grandson.. I'm thinking about you and praying for you."

Join Military Families At Kitchener Waterloo's Thankgsiving Day Parade

Are you a family member of a soldier? Would you like to show your support and thanks to our soldiers on Thanksgiving Day? Join other family members of our soldiers in marching in the KW Thanksgiving Day Parade. Look for the sea of red between Central and University Ave on King Street in Waterloo between 8 and 8:30 am. Monday, October 13th, 2008.


One criteria.... you MUST wear RED.
If you can't join us, but are on the parade route.. let them know you're there!
Shout out a big HUA!!

.. and Panic Begins

The other evening while I was sitting at home doing some sewing, my husband came in the house from work in a panic. "Did you hear anything?" he asked with desperation in his voice.
Confused and concerned, I tried calming him down before asking him what he was talking about.
"A soldier was injured.. it was on the news today... a Canadian Soldier." I felt the blood drain from my face. I know many people will tell me "No news is good news." however, in my case this is not true - however rare it is. (only my son and I know why)
So through my husband's instructions, I turned to the news channel. It was not there. He said it was on the radio all day. Looking at him, I saw how much he cares about our boy. The worry in his face.. the intensity of his eyes. Although I was feeling ill inside.. this was a time to comfort him and we continue to pray..



...We pray for the injured soldier and the soldier's family. Give our soldier the strength for a full recovery and his family the stength and love and our support.



The protocol prevents the release the names of our injured soldiers. This is held in confidence.



Canadian soldier injured in Afghanistan
Canwest News ServicePublished: Wednesday, October 08, 2008
KANDAHAR CITY, Afghanistan - One Canadian soldier was injured Tuesday when he was struck by insurgent small arms fire about 30 kilometres west of Kandahar City, according to Armed Forces spokesman Lt. Alain Blondin.
The injured Canadian soldier was evacuated by helicopter to Kandahar Airfield, Blondin said in a statement. The soldier is in serious but stable condition.
The identity of the soldier will not be released.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This gives me an opportunity to pass on some IMPORTANT words of advise...
If you are a family member of a deployed soldier - have your passport prepared and updated.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Advance Polls Open for Soldiers in Kandahar

Capt. Chris Reeves, seated at left, assists a soldier at a remote forward operating base in Afghanistan cast an advance ballot Saturday, Oct. 4, 2008 for the Oct. 14 federal election. Election day for most voters is Oct. 14, but Canadians soldiers in Afghanistan have already started to cast their ballots. Photo Credit: Canadian Press

Our soldiers are VOTING!
Advance voting is now underway way at Kandahar Air Field and at forwarding operating bases in the country.
A military elections officer said there have been some challenges in getting ballots to soldiers in some of Afghanistan's more remote locations. But he noted that no Canadian soldier will be denied the right to vote. (whew... my son really was proactive in our family and circle of friends when it came time to vote. EVERYONE had to vote. Although he MAY have given strong suggestions to which party to vote for - a party he had worked closely with)
Soldiers and Canadian civilians attached to military operations in Afghanistan will be able to cast their ballots -- for a candidate in his or her home riding -- until Oct. 8.
One soldier said the political parties' positions on Afghanistan were paramount in his voting process.
"The party that's going to support me the most while I'm over here is a big concern for me ... that's kind of the way I voted this year," Cpl. Dave MacDonald said.
Last March, Parliament overwhelmingly passed a motion to extend the military mission in Afghanistan to 2011.
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper said last month that Canada's military commitment in the country will end at that time.
The Liberals have also said the country's military focus in Afghanistan should end in 2011 and they had supported the Tories in the spring to extend the mission. The NDP had voted against extension.
More than 2,500 Canadian soldiers are based in Afghanistan.

Red Friday Rally - October 24th in Waterloo




It's a Red Friday Rally!







Come out, wear red, bring a flag, purchase a candle
and SUPPORT OUR TROOPS!
on
Friday, October 24th, 2008


at


7:00 pm


at


Waterloo Cenotaph (beside Waterloo City Hall)
100 Regina Street, Waterloo (see map below)


Proceeds from the Charity BBQ (sponsored by M&M meat shop) will go to The Poppy Fund

MC - Jeff Allen from 570 CHYM

Canadian Forces endorsed Support Our Troops Merchandise will be available for sale.

Event Co-ordinated by: Families of Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan

Let the pride in our soldiers SHINE as we Support Our Troops.






Outreach Support in Cambridge!

There is now an Outreach Support Coordinator for London Military Resource Centre at the Cambridge site! This is BIG! Here you can bring your care packages, purchase support merchandise or a place to come for support. A BIG welcome to Donna Pickering (Outreach Community Support Coordinator)

Families of soldiers in the Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph areas are invited to a

"Meet and Greet"
sponsored by LMFRC
at:
RHFC
Col. J.A. McIntosh Armoury,
1 Valour Place, Cambridge
(beside the Ainslie St. Bus depot)
Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 7 p.m


View Larger Map
Please RSVP to either your support group secretaries or drop me a line and I can forward it on for you. They would just like to know numbers to expect for that evening.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Where Families Meet Together

On September 27th, 2008 F.O.S.I.A. (Families of Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan) held an evening for discussion, support and sharing. (Their next meeting will be Saturday, October 25th.) Their guest speaker was Dr. David Rainham who presented an engaging and resourceful discussion about stress.

Also present this evening was Donna Pickering who is the new Outreach Community Coordinator from London Military Family Resource Centre , announcing that she will be the coordinator out of Cambridge Armouries (part of the RHFC building) for Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph and Cambridge areas WELCOME DONNA!


At this time she extended an invitation to families of soldiers to attend a"Meet and Greet" sponsored by LMFRC to be held at the centre at:Col. J.A. McIntosh Armoury, 1 Valour Place, Cambridge on Tuesday October 7th. at 7 pm





The group received a thank you card from Cpl. Arnal's mother Wendy. Enclosed in the card was a beautifully expressed poem echoing feelings many military families have.


I placed the poem below (I cannot imagine what she is going through)

Corporal James Hayward Arnal
April 9, 1983 – July 18, 2008


My dearest James,

You died for a cause that was your belief
You made a difference lessening the grief.
Do or do not, there is no try,
Our motto till the day we die.

You travelled the world, many lives you saved,
The road of a vision you paved.
Soldiering for you was the right thing to do,
Awakening Canadian patriotism anew.

Carpe diem, seize the day!
Your legacy will show the way.
You continue to teach what life’s all about,
With each day we have less doubt.

You guide me in spirit and somehow I cope,
With this kind of miss there is no hope.
I love you James with all my heart,
Together forever, even though now apart.

I know you are still with me,
For that I’m sure will always be.
“We can rest when we die” was your fate,
My Hero, number 88.

Love always,
MomXO