And every single one of them — all 27 members from the Joint Signals Regiment — was eager to get going.
“Every one of these soldiers wants to bea part of this mission,” said Lt.-Col. François Chagnon moments before he shook hands with his troops in the Friday morning departure from CFB Kingston.
The 27 soldiers are a part of a group of 80 who will be joining NATO comrades in the Kandahar region over the next few weeks, members of the Signals Corps handle communications — satellite and radio technicians and linemen.
Chagnon, who has served in Afghanistan, said his job of finding the right soldiers for the mission has been made easy by one thing: “I get volunteers lining up at my door all the time. It makes my job very easy.”
The soldiers will be away for about a year, officials explain. When they return, “we try to avoid sending them out again for about two years,” said Chagnon.
The Kingston soldiers will see a familiar face when they get to the Canadian compound — Cpl. Spike Hazleton, the former C.O. from CFB Kingston who is now in Afghanistan.
Already there are about 2,500 Canadian Forces troops posted in the Kandahar region, one of the most dangerous outposts in the war-torn country.
But for the group that boarded the bus on a bone-chilling January morning bound for the heat of the desert, it was all systems go.
“They’ve trained for this, they want to go,” said Chagnon.