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"