Monday, February 18, 2008
Sunday, February 17, 2008
This month, many families and friends tearfully and with forced smiles are saying goodbye to their sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, friends and familiy members as they deploy on their mission in Afghanistan. These brave and honourable soldiers are compromised from regiments in Edmonton, Alberta and Shilo, Manitoba. Forced smiles you ask. Forced as they are filled with pride, want to show their support for their soldier walking to the plane, yet as they plane leaves the runway and the last sighting of their loved one turns to a pinpoint in the sky, they turn to the void and grief within them. Tears come easily. Yet they are strong - they are the miltary famiies - the backbone of the military - showing their support throughout the mission. The parents of these soldiers reside not only in Edmonton or Shilo, but many, many live across Canada. Please if you know a military mom, dad sister, brother, son, daughter or friend of one of the deployed soldier, give them a hug. I wish I could give each one a medal- for bravery.
To our soldiers: your dedication to Canada and contributions to the Canadian Forces are a great example of the selflessness and sense of duty of all soldiers. We are proud of your service to your country and dedication in that which you believed in. You are truly Canadian heroes and the world in which we live is a safer place because of your commitment to freedom. We proudly stand for you with honor, dignity, and respect. Godspeed TF 1-08.
Family, friends and at least one dog bid farewell February 8th to about 139 soldiers bound for Afghanistan.
They left Edmonton for a six-month tour as part of the 2,500-strong Task Force 1-08, of which 1300 are from Edmonton and 1200 Shilo, Manitoba. Edmonton’s last large deployment to Kandahar was in 2006.
The deployment includes a 1,000-soldier battle group in Kandahar, and a 250-soldier provincial reconstruction Team, responsible for governance, reconstruction and development in Kandahar Province. The senior military leader heralded NATO’s “made-in-Canada” spine today at Edmonton Garrison in a pep talk to 1,300 soldiers destined for Afghanistan.
“You’re gonna be facing a formidable enemy, who is increasingly discredited time and time again in Kandahar province,” Brig.-Gen. Mark Skidmore, commander of Land Force Western Area, told the soldiers.
“The enemy has learned that NATO does have a spine and that spine is made right here in Canada.”
There was hardly a dry eye in the house at Edmonton Garrison. It was one of several deployments that will continue almost daily through February, as local soldiers rotate into Kandahar to relieve the Quebec-based troops currently stationed there.
Today's group totaled 139 men and women from various units, including 3 Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry and 1 Service Battalion.
Dubbed Task Force 1-08, the group represents the largest contingent of Edmonton-based troops to enter Afghanistan since a similar rotation in February, 2006.
The lecture hall where the soldiers gathered to bid farewell to loved ones was filled with optimism, although dozens of spouses and children lost the battle to hold back their tears.
"We're excited to be going, we've learned a lot since our last rotation and things are getting better for us over there," said Cpl. David Lefebvre, who leaves a wife and three children in Edmonton during his six-month tour.
"At the same time though, it's harder. Our families are growing and it's never easy to leave your children, especially the newborns."
His wife Charlene echoed the emotions of other spouse at the gathering. "We're so proud because we know the soldiers are needed over there," she said. "Still, we already wish he was back with us." See also: Army News' TF 1-08 departure parade and Task Force 1-08 News
"Thank you Jennifer"
• A 1000 soldier Battle Group in Kandahar, primarily from the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (2 PPCLI), which includes:
• Battle Group Headquarters – 2 PPCLI (Shilo);
• Two Rifle Companies – B and C Companies 2 PPCLI (Shilo) and elements of A Company 3 PPCLI (Edmonton);
• One Artillery Battery with two Surveillance and Target Acquisition ( STA ) troops– B Battery 1 RCHA (Shilo);
• One Field Engineer Squadron – 12 Field Squadron 1 CER (Edmonton);
• One Reconnaissance Platoon – 2 PPCLI (Shilo);
• One Reconnaissance Squadron – D Squadron 12 RBC (Valcartier);
• One Tank Squadron – B Squadron LdSH(RC) (Edmonton);.
•One Armoured Engineer Troop – 1 CER (Edmonton );
The majority of about 400 Reserve Force soldiers, will come from:
• 39 CBG from British Columbia - approximately 136 soldiers;
• 41 CBG from Alberta - approximately 145 soldiers; and
• 38 CBG from Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario- approximately 117soldiers
• A Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (TUAV) unit comprised primarily of personnel from 444 Close Support Squadron and 4 Air Defence Regiment (4 AD Regt) based in Moncton; and
• Operational Mentor Liaison Team (OMLT) of 153 soldiers formed primarily from 3 PPCLI with augmentation from Land Force Western Area (LFWA), Land Force Atlantic Area (LFAA) and Land Force Central Area (LFCA). It will partner with Afghan National Army (ANA) Infantry Kandaks (Kandak is the Afghan word for “battalion”) and ANA Corps Headquarters. It also includes a 31-member Police Observer-Mentor Liaison Team that will work with the Afghan National Police in a similar capacity.
• Health Service Support (HSS) company of 186 personnel contributing medical personnel to the Role 1 unit as well as to the Multinational Medical Unit (MMU) Role 3 facility at Kandahar Airfield (KAF) comprised of primarily Edmonton-based personnel from 1 Field Ambulance (1 Fd Amb) and 1 Canadian Field Hospital (1 Cdn Fd Hosp), as well as other Health Services units from across Canada;
• About 11 CF members with the Regional Command (South) Headquarters assisting Canadian Major-General Lessard in accomplishing his mission and exercising command and control over the Region Command (South) in Afghanistan. RC (S) controls ISAF operations in the provinces of Kandahar, Helmand, Zabol, Uruzgan, Nimroz and Daikundi;
• About 350 CF members with the Joint Task Force (Afghanistan) Headquarters (JTF (Afg) HQ) at Kandahar Airfield. JTF (A) HQ is primarily composed of personnel drawn primarily from 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group based in Petawawa;
• About 470 CF members with the National Support Element (NSE) in Kandahar, primarily from the 1 Service Battalion (1 Svc Bn) in Edmonton with two Force Protection Platoons drawn from 39 and 41 CBG based out of Vancouver and Calgary respectively;
• About 350 CF members with the Theatre Support Element (TSE) at Camp Mirage in Southwest Asia; and
• A Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) of 250 soldiers, which is responsible for governance, reconstruction and development in Kandahar Province based at Camp Nathan Smith in Kandahar City. The military component of the PRT includes:
• The PRT Commander's Tactical Headquarters Group, which provides protection and mobility to the PRT Commander and his staff;
• An infantry company from the 1 st Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (1 PPCLI), protecting and escorting the PRT, providing a quick reaction force for Kandahar City, and performing defence and security tasks;
• Military project managers (military engineers) enhancing the PRT's capability to manage quick impact reconstruction and development projects;
• A Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) platoon from LFWA;
• A Military Police Platoon consisting of members Edmonton ;
• A Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) platoon from LFWA;
• Service and support elements drawn from across Canada; and
• Other specialized elements from vaious CF units across Canada.
AT THE 404 WING R.C.A.F.,
7:30 to 8:00 p.m. Arrival and Registration.
8:00 to 8:45 p.m. Guest Speakers: Cpl. Christopher Lock and brother, Richard Lock
8:45 p.m. Socializing and Refreshments
About Our Speakers
Cpl. Christopher Lock was deployed in Afghanistan during the second rotation from August 2006 to February 2007. As a local reservist, Christopher volunteered for the mission and will share his experiences both outside the wire and on base while he served in Kandahar as a combat engineer. His brother Richard, on the other hand, will share his experiences on the home front during his brother’s deployment. Both Christopher and Richard will be available to answer your questions.
From Kitchener or out-of-town: Take 86 North (Conestoga Parkway) and take the Northfield exit (one exit past King St.). Exit at Northfield, keep right and proceed over expressway. Turn left onto Parkside Drive (at lights), and then left onto Weber. Go over the hill and turn immediately left onto Dutton Dr. The facility is located at the end of the road.
From Waterloo or downtown: Follow Weber St. N. and go past Albert St. (traffic lights) and turn right onto Dutton Dr. before going over the hill.
R.S.V.P. February 21, 2008 firstname.lastname@example.org
The 17-year-old was yesterday one of the first three recipients of a new scholarship fund created by the country's business elite to help assist the kids of Canadian soldiers killed on duty.
Naismith's dad, Capt. Kevin Naismith, died in May 2003 when his CF-18 fighter jet crashed in northern Alberta.
Despite the tragedy that befell his father, the younger Naismith said he wants to follow in his father's footsteps by enlisting in the Air Force after he completes his physics undergrad program at the University of Saskatchewan.
"I love flying," said Naismith, who lives with his mom Belinda in Moose Jaw. "I was in Air Cadets when I was in my young teens. I flew with my dad in the Twin Otter. I got hooked and I just love flying. I can't live without doing anything else, really."
Called the Canada Company Scholarship Fund, the fund was spearheaded by AGF Management CEO Blake Goldring, an army colonel in the reserves. Since its launch in October the fund has amassed $1.8 million in donations.
Yesterday's ceremony was held at the Royal Military Institute on University Ave., with each of the three students receiving a cheque for $4,000. The students will continue to receive $4,000 a year for the duration of their post-secondary education.
Myriam Mercier, 17, of Quebec City, was also on hand to receive her scholarship yesterday. Mercier's father, Master Warrant Officer Mario Mercier, was killed this past Aug. 22 in Afghanistan when a roadside bomb exploded near the light-armoured vehicle he was travelling in.
A third teen, Michel Girouard, 17, currently a student at the Royal Military College in Kingston, couldn't attend the ceremony yesterday, so his mom Jacqueline accepted the scholarship on his behalf. Chief Warrant Officer Robert Girouard was killed by a suicide bomber who drove his car into a military convoy outside of Kandahar in November 2006.
The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, is pleased to announce the senior Canadian Forces (CF) promotions and appointments for 2008.
These officers lead the Canadian Forces in defending Canada's values, interests and sovereignty at home and abroad."Canadian Forces soldiers, sailors, airwomen and airmen take many challenges head on and solid leadership is essential for success," said Minister MacKay. "There is no doubt in my mind that these General Officers, with their knowledge and skills, will rise to the challenge ahead of them".
"The men and women of the Canadian Forces deserve the best senior leadership there is. I know these General Officers and am confident in their ability to excel in leading the men and women under their command," said General Rick Hillier, Chief of the Defence Staff. "They bring a wealth of experience and foresight that will benefit the Canadian Forces over the short and long-term."
The following promotions and appointments will take place in 2008:
- -Lt.-Gen J. Arp (acting while so employed) will be promoted Lt.-Gen. (substantive) and will remain as Chief of Staff Supreme Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk;
- - Maj.-Gen. C.J.R. Davis will be promoted Lt.-Gen. (acting while so employed) and appointed Canadian military representative to NATO in Brussels replacing Vice Admiral G.V. Davidson;
- - Rear Admiral P.D. McFadden will be promoted Vice Admiral and appointed Commander Canada Command in NDHQ, Ottawa, replacing Lt.-Gen. M.J. Dumais;
- - Maj.-Gen. P.J. Devlin (acting while so employed) will be promoted Maj.-Gen. (substantive) and will be appointed Director General Health Services at NDHQ, Ottawa;
- - Maj.-Gen. S.A. Beare will be appointed Chief of Force Development at NDHQ, Ottawa, replacing Maj.-Gen. M.J. Ward;
- - Maj.-Gen. M.J. Ward will be appointed Director General International Security Policy at NDHQ, Ottawa, replacing Maj.-Gen. C.J.R. Davis;
- Brig.-Gen. J.P.A. Deschamps will be promoted Maj.-Gen. and appointed Assistant Chief of the Air Staff at NDHQ, Ottawa, replacing Maj.-Gen. J.D.A. Hincke;
- Brig.-Gen. P.J Forgues will be promoted Maj.-Gen. and appointed NORAD J3 in Colorado Springs, replacing Maj.-Gen. B.D. Cairns;
- Brig.-Gen. J.M.M. Hainse will be promoted Maj.-Gen. and appointed Commander Land Force Doctrine and Training System Headquarters in Kingston, replacing Maj.-Gen. S.A. Beare;
- Commodore P.A. Maddison will be promoted Rear Admiral and appointed Commander Joint Task Force Atlantic and Commander Maritime Force Atlantic in Halifax, replacing Rear Admiral P.D. McFadden;
- Brig.-Gen. C.S. Sullivan will be promoted Maj.-Gen. (acting while so employed) and appointed Deputy Commander Air, International Security Assistance Force HQ in Afghanistan;
- Brig.-Gen. P.J. Atkinson will be appointed Deputy Commanding General III Corps Headquarters in Texas replacing Maj.-Gen. P.J. Devlin;
- Brig.-Gen. J.G.J.C. Barabe will be appointed Director General Operations - Strategic Joint Staff at NDHQ, Ottawa, replacing Brig.-Gen. P.J. Atkinson;
- Brig.-Gen. R.P.F. Bertrand will be appointed Director General Air Personnel at NDHQ, Ottawa, replacing Brig.-Gen. T.F.J. Leversedge;
- Brig.-Gen. J.G.J.C. Collin will be appointed Commander Land Force Central Area Headquarters in Toronto replacing Brig.-Gen. A.J. Howard;- Commodore R.A. Davidson will be appointed Chief Of Staff (Operations) Canadian Expeditionary Forces Command in Ottawa, replacing Brig.-Gen. J.P.A. Deschamps;
- Brig.-Gen. J.R. Ferron will be appointed Director General Information Management at NDHQ, Ottawa;
- Brig.-Gen. A.J. Howard will be appointed to the Combined Security Transition Command (CSTC-A) in Afghanistan replacing Brig.-Gen. D.C. Tabbernor;
- Brig.-Gen. H.F. Jaeger is appointed Commander CF Health Services Group and CF Surgeon General at NDHQ, Ottawa;
- Brig.-Gen. G.J.R.M. Laroche will be appointed Commander Land Force Quebec Area Headquarters in Montreal, replacing Brig.-Gen. J.G.J.C. Barabe;
- Brig.-Gen. R.G. Parsons will be appointed Deputy Commander Land Force Doctrine and Training System Headquarters in Kingston, replacing Brig.-Gen. R.W. Deslauriers (acting while so employed);
- Brig.-Gen. M.S. Skidmore will be appointed Chief of Staff Vice Chief of the Defence Staff at NDHQ, Ottawa replacing Brig.-Gen. R.P.F. Bertrand;
- Commodore A.M. Smith will be appointed Assistant Chief Military Personnel at NDHQ, Ottawa, replacing Commodore P.A. Maddison;
- Brig.-Gen. D.C. Tabbernor will be promoted Maj-Gen and appointed Chief Reserves and Cadets at NDHQ, Ottawa replacing Maj.-Gen. H.M. Petras;
- Navy Capt. D.C. Gardam will be promoted Commodore and appointed Director General Plans - Strategic Joint Staff at NDHQ, Ottawa, replacing Brig.-Gen. J.G.J.C. Collin;
- Navy Capt. L.M. Hickey will be promoted Commodore and appointed Director General Maritime Personnel and Readiness at NDHQ, Ottawa, replacing Commodore A.M. Smith;
- Col. M.P. Jorgensen will be promoted Brig.-Gen. and appointed Commander Land Force Western Area in Edmonton, replacing Brig.-Gen. M.S. Skidmore;
- Col. D.C. Kettle will be promoted Brig.-Gen. and appointed Chaplain General at NDHQ, Ottawa, replacing Brig.-Gen. S.G. Johnstone;
- Navy Capt. M.F.R. Lloyd will be promoted Commodore and appointed Commander Canadian Fleet Atlantic in Halifax, replacing Commodore R.A. Davidson;
- Brig.-Gen. E.N. Matern (acting while so employed) will be promoted Brig.-Gen. (substantive) and will remain Deputy Commanding General XVIII Airborne Corps in Fort Bragg;
- Col. P.R. Matte will be promoted Brig.-Gen. and appointed Director General Capability Development at NDHQ, Ottawa replacing, Brig.-Gen. P.J. Forgues;
- Col. D.B. Millar will be promoted Brig.-Gen. and appointed Commander Joint Task Force North in Yellowknife, NT, replacing Brig.-Gen. C.T. Whitecross (acting while so employed);
- Col. D.G. Neasmith will be promoted Brig.-Gen. and appointed Commander Land Force Atlantic Area Headquarters in Halifax, replacing Brig.-Gen. R.G. Parsons;
- Col. D.W. Thompson will be promoted Brig.-Gen. (acting while so employed) and appointed Commander Joint Task Force Afghanistan;
- Brig.-Gen. C.T. Whitecross (acting while so employed) will be promoted Brig.-Gen. (substantive) and appointed Deputy Commander and Chief of Operations and Plans Canadian Operations Support Command in Ottawa, replacing Brig.-Gen. J.N.D. Bouchard;
- Col. P.F. Wynnyk will be promoted Brig.-Gen. and appointed Director of Operations Defence/International Security Foreign and Defence Policy Secretariat Privy Council Office in Ottawa, replacing Brig.-Gen. C.S. Sullivan.
Congratulations on your promotions and appointments.After distinguished service to the CF and Canada, the following will complete their careers and retire from the CF in 2008:
- General R.R. Henault
- Vice Admiral G.V. Davidson
- Lt.-Gen M.J. Dumais
- Maj.-Gen. B.D. Cairns
- Maj.-Gen. H.M. Petras
- Brig.-Gen. J.N.D. Bouchard
- Brig.-Gen. L.J. Colwell
- Brig.-Gen. S.G. Johnstone
- Brig.-Gen. P.J. MccabeBrig.-Gen. R.R. Romses
Thursday, February 14, 2008
This Valentines Day will be difficult for some families as they say goodbye to their special sons
and daughters, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and friends who are currently deploying this week to Afghanistan. A prayer, a special hug and love goes out to them this week.
SOME DO AND SOME DON’T
If you have a Valentine
If somebody holds your heart
Or if there’s one you want to be
You need to tell them, that’s the start.
If you can reach and touch them
You’re as lucky as can be
‘Cause there’s so many all alone
Like those, we’ve sent, across the Sea.
So, let’s say a prayer for them
For, their quick and safe return
Support the loved ones left behind
And learn, their lessons, learned. ...
Del "Abe" Jones 2-12-2004
Thursday, February 07, 2008
On September 18, 2006 a suicide bomb was detonated in Panjwayi District, Kandahar Province Afghanistan, killing 4 Canadian soldiers and severely injured several others. One of those was 20-year old Sapper Mike McTeague of Orillia, Ontario.
Mike was rushed to Landstuhl, Germany where he received urgent medical care and was joined by his family. He then returned to Canada and was cared for at Sunnybrook hospital in Toronto. The physical and emotional ordeal was experience enough for Captain Wayne Johnston and Mike’s father Mr. Sean McTeague to launch the Wounded Warrior Fund in Mike’s name.
The fund is designed to deliver quality of life, financial and benevolent assistance through three (4) programs;
Direct Support and Donation Program
When an injured soldier leaves an operational theatre, they do so quickly and without warning. Often they have with them just the clothes on their back and it is here where they are at their most vulnerable. This program sets out to alleviate this inconvenient deficiency by contributing quality of life items to the soldier.
“Wounded Warrior Packs” will contain a variety of items, which includes individual entertainment devices (like DVD player, MP3 players) to personal blankets among other items.
In addition, hospitals that care for Canadian Forces personnel are to be installed with an entertainment library of video games, music and DVD movies. As well an Internet-equipped laptop loan pool and telephone service will be established.
As part of this program a small Padre’s Contingency Fund has been established in Landstuhl, Germany to aid in the morale and welfare soldiers and families and used at the discretion of frontline healthcare workers. To date some $6,000 has been put into this and will be revisited as required and a similar fund is being developed domestically in Canada.
Family Assistance Program:
Hospital stays, while stressful for the patient, can be equally stressful for the family both mentally and financially. This program aspires to reduce this impact by assisting families with out of pocket expenses at hospitals in Canada once the Canadian Forces support to the families ends over the long term. These expenses can include parking limited to a specified dollar amount and TV rental for a specified limited time period. In addition the fund will explore the possibility of wireless Internet connection. It is the fund’s intent to provide equal universal support to all as required. It is also recognized that some wounded warriors will be in hospital longer than others. These will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
Fisher House Endowment
The Fisher House is a unique program similar to the renowned Ronald MacDonald House charity. It supports the families of those under serious medical care by providing free accommodation, co-located to the hospital. Like Ronald MacDonald house it is free for families of patients and relies on donations. While the Fisher houses were started to provide assistance to the families of wounded US service people they have opened their arms to Canadians. Therefore it is the goal of the fund to provide goods and services in support of Canadian families to the Fisher House in Germany. These services will be dependant on the requirements of the other two programs".
Advocacy and Awareness
The fund will assist a wounded CF serviceperson where required in gaining entitled benefits from Federal departments. Indeed the fund will advocate on behalf of all wounded CF servicepersons on quality of life matters and issues. We will where required engage politicians of all parties on behalf of individual and as a whole in order to reach a solution. In addition it is the mandate of the fund to ensure that public awareness of the issues of those wounded remain a top priority. Any wounded CF soldiers needing assistance, please click here to get in touch with the Wounded Warriors staff.
In addition to cash donations, the following list of items is appreciated by the Canadian Forces support team in Europe, as well as here in Canada:
- DVD movies
- Music CD's
- Books on CD
As of September 13th, The Canada Revenue Agency has recognized The Sapper Mike McTeague Wounded Warrior Fund as a registered charity. They are now in a position to issue a tax reciept for donations of $20.00 and over.
Send donations, cheques or correspondence to;
The Sapper Mike McTeague Wounded Warrior Fund
PO Box # 141
Whitby, Ontario L1M 1B5
Welcome to Bluewater Veterans' Highway
A stretch of highway 21 will officially be designated as the Bluewater Veterans Highway.
The Goderich Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion has received permission from all the municipalities between Goderich and Kincardine to officially designate that stretch.
Reverand Allan Livingston with the Legion says they want to commemorate the sacrifice of veterans from the Huron County area with this, like many other areas have done.
Livingstone says it is in the hands of the ministry of transportation to decide when to officially make the change. The Legion is picking up the tab for the signs.
He also says they are hoping for the designation to made sometime in the fall.
A big HUA to the Goderich Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion and the people and municipalities between Goderich and Kincardine!!
Friday, February 01, 2008
Afghanistan is a challenging mission, and to that end, the training being conducted now must prepare soldiers for all of the challenges they will face.
“This is a very important exercise,” said Col Dean Milner, Commander of 2 CMBG. “This is a huge logistical challenge for the brigade to get down to Texas, and it will be challenging training for all the soldiers who will be a part of the exercise.”
These challenges include a number of training scenarios that will force the soldiers to conduct their operations in areas where there are friendly and hostile civilians, enemy insurgents, media, and Afghan National Security Forces for three weeks of training on a landscape which is nearly identical to what the soldiers will face in Afghanistan. They barely have the chance to knock the Texas dust off their kit before heading to Alberta's CFB Wainwright in May for a final set of training just before this fall's deployment. "We were supposed to have been deployed in August, but this was pushed back a month to give soldiers more time with their families before heading over," Col. Milner said. This will allow troops to go on block leave over the summer.
Photo Credit: Cpl Bruno Turcotte