Sunday, July 20, 2008

Corporal James (Jim) Hayward Arnal - Friday, July 18, 2008

Bless Our Fallen Soldier

Corporal James (Jim) Hayward Arnal

On July 18th 2008, a Canadian soldier was killed just before midnight Kandahar time. The soldier was killed by an Improvised Explosive Device while on a foot patrol in Panjwayi District.
The fallen soldier is Corporal James (Jim) Hayward Arnal of the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, based in Shilo, Manitoba.
First aid was administered to Corporal Arnal immediately following the incident. He was evacuated by helicopter to Kandahar Air Field's Role 3 Multi-National Medical Facility, but sadly was pronounced dead upon arrival.
Military Families and members of Task Force Kandahar here and overseas are thinking of the family and friends of our fallen comrade during this time of sorrow and extend our prayers to families and friends both here and overseas. The dedication and sacrifice of soldiers like Corporal Arnal are helping to make a difference in the lives of countless Afghan citizens.

May He hold you in the palm of his hands and comfort your family and friends as you travel your final journey home. ~m.m.

Statement by the Minister of National Defence on the Death of Corporal James (Jim) Hayward Arnal
The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, issued the following statement today on the death of a Canadian soldier:"On behalf of all Canadians, I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Corporal James (Jim) Hayward Arnal who died yesterday (July 18, 2008) in Afghanistan. I also wish a quick recovery to the other soldier injured in this incident.
Just before midnight, on July 18, 2008, an improvised explosive device detonated near their foot patrol in Panjwayi District.The United Nations-mandated mission in Afghanistan is a challenging one, but these challenges will not deter us from helping Afghans reclaim their lives and build a free and democratic society.Corporal Arnal was a brave soldier. Canada will remain forever grateful for his service, and we are saddened by his loss."Corporal Arnal was an infanteer serving with the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Battle Group based in Shilo, Manitoba.

From the Family:
Family members of Cpl. James Arnal released a statement yesterday remembering their loved one as "fearless" and conveying their grief over his death in Afghanistan.
"We don't have words to express the sorrow all Jim's family and friends are feeling," wrote the family. "A part of us has died with him and he will always be in our thoughts and our hearts."
Arnal's family said the young soldier lived his life fully and as fearlessly as he executed his role in Afghanistan.
The statement described the Canadian Forces as giving Arnal the chance to travel and make friends across the globe.
"He was a thrill-seeker and was always on the go, recruiting his friends to go with him. He was always planning his next adventure," the statement read. "He was proud to be part of Canada's efforts to bring peace and stability to the people of Afghanistan."

From His CO (Commanding Officer):
In astatement, Maj. Michael Wright, commanding officer for 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Rear Party, said that Arnal "brought experience and passion to his job and his loss is a blow to his fellow soldiers in Bravo Company and to the entire battle group."
Wright said Arnal "served with distinction" in Kandahar Province from August 2006 to February 2007 and upon his return to Canada expressed a desire to return to Afghanistan -- a wish that was granted.
"Our condolences go out to his family in Winnipeg and we now make a solemn vow to ensure his final voyage home is conducted with the dignity befitting a hero," wrote Wright.

Message From Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada
The terrible news of the death of Corporal James (Jim) Hayward Arnal, an infanteer serving with the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Battle Group, is another cruel blow to all of us, wherever we may be.
Like his comrades, Corporal Arnal always faced the dangers of this mission with courage and with the deep conviction he was helping humanity, assisting in the reconstruction of Afghanistan and leading the mission on to success. We all commend his commitment, his sacrifices, and the hopes and benefits that his presence made possible.
My husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond, and I share the sorrow of Corporal Arnal's family and the distress of his fellow soldiers and we offer them our most sincere condolences. All Canadians join with us in honouring his memory. May his unwavering courage, our esteem and our thoughts ease your sorrow.
Michaelle Jean
Ramp Ceremony- He's coming Home

Capt. Al Blondin salutes during the ramp ceremony at
Kandahar Airfield Sunday, July 20, 2008 for Cpl. James Hayward Arnal.

The body of Cpl. James Hayward Arnal was lifted onto a military plane during a sunset ceremony for his final voyage home.
Hundreds of Canadian soldiers and their allies came Sunday to bid Arnal a solemn farewell during a ramp ceremony at Kandahar Airfield.
Arnal was killed by a roadside bomb. His battle group commander praised him as born leader.
"(He) was the type of soldier who set the example for all of us to emulate," said Lt.-Col. Dave Corbould.
"He was a key motivator -- almost the glue of the platoon and the section -- to which people naturally just joined on to."
Arnal left a lucrative career in the information-technology sector to join the military.
He was already on his second tour of Afghanistan in two years, and was already pushing his superiors to send him back for a third trip to the battle zone in 2009.
Corbould called him fearless.
"He couldn't wait to get on our current task force, and he was already trying to butt in line to get on the next tour," he said.
"That's the kind of adventurous spirit and sense of duty he had.


The tentative date of repatriation of Corporal James (Jim) Hayward Arnal is:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

at 2:00 pm (1400)


CFB Trenton, ON

Gather along HWY 2 (base to RCAF Rd) or on the Highway 401 bridges/overpasses, roadsides, to honour our repatriated soldier and his families as they travel the Highway of Heroes (Hwy 401W) from Trenton to Toronto. Hold a flag, wear red or salute our fallen soldier giving the family comfort in showing our compassion. Be part of the thousands who just simply want to say "thank you".

Sault Ste Marie Streets Showered with Yellow Ribbons!

Military families show support for kin in Afghanistan
It was mission accomplished for May Adshead Saturday. The facilitator of Sault Ste. Marie Military Family Support Group and 14 other volunteers spent an hour staple gunning and wrapping about 300 yellow ribbons on poles on Queen Street East, Pim Street, Great Northern Road And Second Line from Great Northern to Leighs Bay Road.
The colourful markers show backing for about 20 Sault residents serving in Afghanistan in the regular and reserve forces.
"Their community is behind them, supporting them," said Adshead.
"I think (the ribbons) are awesome."
A fundraising barbecue held Canada Day at Royal Canadian Legion Branch 25 and personal donations from support group members covered the roughly $100 supply cost.
The ribbons will stay up on Queen Street until September and the remaining streets until early 2009.
The support group, formed in 2007, is entering a float in the Community Day parade Saturday.
It will include the names of Canadians killed in Afghanistan and the names of local residents who have served in that country and other nations since a series of terrorist attacks killed about 3,000 people in the United States in 2001.
Six members of the 49th Field Regiment leave for Afghanistan later this month. (Godspeed to these troops and their families)
Two or three of those reserve members, dressed in their military fatigues, are expected to walk along the support group's float.

Yellow ribbons will be distributed to parade watchers along Queen Street East.
The support group has about 60 members now attending monthly meetings at Branch 25.
"It's growing daily," said Adshead.
"It's amazing."
Her son, Brandon, served in Afghanistan in 2007 with the 49th Field Regiment. Now a member of the Canadian army, the Sir James Dunn collegiate graduate is expected to return for a second deployment in 2009.
A Great Big HUA to the Sault Ste Marie Military Family Support Group - for working together and supporting our troops in unison - A GREAT SUPPORT which goes unnoticed. Let's ALL get together and hang yellow ribbons for our troops! Hang them from the trees, from the signs, from lamp posts or put yellow ribbon magnets on your cars and trucks and mailboxes! More is noticed when we all work together! HUA!

Master Corporal Paul Franklin Speaking Engagement
Master Cpl. Paul Franklin, a solder from Alberta who lost both legs in Afghanistan in 2006, will speak at a pasta dinner at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 25, 96 Great Northern Rd,
Sault Ste Marie on Aug. 14.
Advance tickets cost $15.
His speech is not recommended for children under 10.
For tickets, call (705) 945-8721.
Golf Tournament
A golf tournament is planned at Crimson Ridge Aug. 15.
To participate, call May Adshead at (705) 945-9628.
NOTE: If anyone from Sault Ste. Marie has any more photos of the ribbons, the parade, the speaking engagement, or golf tournament, please forward them to me and I'll post them here. Forward to: Thanks! ~m.m.
I wish I was there, but remember, my heart is with you all.

Friday, July 18, 2008

205 Canadian Forces Members Visit Vimy Ridge

The contingent of some 205 Canadian Forces (CF) personnel participating in this year's Nijmegen Marches visited the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France on July 13 to hold a memorial ceremony with support from the Royal Canadian Legion.
On April 9, 1917, the Canadian Corps accomplished a task the French and British armies had tried and failed to do since 1914: it broke through the heavy German defences to capture and secure Vimy Ridge. In 1922, France designated about one square kilometre of the battlefield as Canadian territory as a free gift in perpetuity to the Canadian people. The Vimy Monument was built on this site and inscribed the names of the 11,285 Canadian soldiers who died in France but have no known graves. The monument was recently refurbished and, on the 90th anniversary of the battle it was rededicated by Queen Elizabeth II.As well as the Vimy Monument, the Canadian National Vimy Memorial includes a small museum, an area of preserved trenches and tunnels, and cemeteries containing the graves of soldiers killed in the battle. In 1997, the Vimy Memorial was designated as a National Historic Site, one of only two outside Canada.
The Internationale Vierdaagse Afstandsmarsen Nijmegen (International Four Days' Marches Nijmegen, or Nijmegen Marches) is a prestigious Dutch marching event in which Canadian military contingents have participated every year since 1952. This year, from July 15 to July 18 inclusive, a contingent of about 205 CF members will take part in the Nijmegen Marches with more than 44,000 people, both civilian and military, from over 50 nations. The marchers' itinerary usually includes a visit to Vimy on the way to Nijmegen.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Boots on the Ground in Nijmegen, Netherlands

A contingent of about 205 Canadian Forces (CF) personnel leaves Canada July 11th for Nijmegen, Netherlands, to take part in the International Four Days Marches Nijmegen, a prestigious Dutch marching event Canadian military contingents have participated in every year since 1952. During the four days of the Nijmegen Marches, which take place this year from July 15 to July 18, all military participants must walk 160 km while carrying a standard military rucksack weighing at least 10 kg."The Nijmegen Marches is an excellent fitness activity and endurance test that builds morale and develops core military values, including leadership and teamwork, in all participants," said Brigadier-General Raymond Romses, the commanding officer of the Canadian Defence Liaison Staff in London, U.K., and the senior member of the CF contingent. "Our participation to the Nijmegen marches highlights Canada's close connection to the Netherlands. Even now soldiers from both nations are working to stabilize Afghanistan," he added.The CF contingent includes Regular Force members and Reservists of all ranks and occupations from across the country. Canadian soldiers, sailors and air personnel consider it an honour and privilege to be selected for the gruelling four-day event. During the months of training required for selection, candidates build physical and mental stamina by marching, on average, 700 km with their rucksacks.CF participation in the Nijmegen Marches includes tributes to Canadians who lost their lives in battle during the First and Second World Wars.
Photo taken during 2005 March.
On the way to Nijmegen, the CF contingent will visit the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France to hold a memorial ceremony in cooperation with the Royal Canadian Legion. During their stay in the Nijmegen area, the CF marchers will visit Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery, where more than 2,300 Canadian soldiers and airmen who died to liberate the Netherlands in 1944 and 1945 are buried.
The Nijmegen Marches is also the world's largest walking event, attracting thousands of civilian participants as well as hundreds of other military teams. More than 44,000 marchers from at least 50 nations are expected to participate this year.

Visit the official website with maps of the International Four Days Marches Nijmegen at:

The Flag Parade for the first time will be on Sunday evening of July 13th, 2008.

During the march (July 15 - 18th) you will be able to view live streaming video by clicking here

Goodluck Troops... all the Best!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Red Friday Rally - Raymore, Saskatchewan

A Red Friday Rally
is being held
Friday August 1st, 2008
Raymore, Saskatchewan
at the
Raymore Public School Playground

Raymore is the hometown of Cpl David Braun, killed in Afghanistan on 22 August 2006 while serving with 1 Platoon, A Company, 1 RCR Battle Group, and his memory will be honoured at this rally. (In lieu of flowers at Cpl Braun's funeral, his family had indicated that donations could be made to the Corporal David Braun Memorial Raymore School Student Enhancement Program in care of the Raymore Savings and Credit Union, P.O. Box 460, Raymore, Sask., S0A 3J0)

For more information regarding the Red Friday Rally, contact:

Monica Stelwagen
We need more Red Fridays! A big HUA to Monica Stelwagen!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Soldiers' Home Predeployment Checklist

Next Battle Group's "Home Predeployment Checklist"

  • Insure Family Support has all your correct contact information
  • Social workers/ Padre interview done and they received Contact Information
  • Power of attorney completed
  • Power of Attorney distributed to bank, loans, insurance etc...
  • Banking and Pay office access/ are in good order
  • Will/ Insurance updated,
  • Living Will discussed
  • Application/ Possession of passport,
  • letter for children to travel abroad
  • HLTA plan in place
  • Have Vehicle insurance renewal plan in place (if the vehicle is in the members name)
  • Inform Family Support of contact information if you leave primary residence for 24hrs or more
  • Make sure your spouse has pre signed copies of the Public Service Health Care Plan Claim form( Link Here)
  • and the Canadian Forces Dependants Dental Care Plan( Link Here )
  • addresses/contact information of family and friends (o.k... I added this one myself)
  • give your family an idea of some things that you would really, really enjoy in a care package (I'll list an update here as well)
  • don't forget to give your family YOUR address info. (for the many letters that will be sent your way)
  • give your family and loved ones many, many hugs and be prepared to receive many as well (ok... I added this one too)

And for parents of deploying soldier - it is important that you have an updated passport, should the need arise should you need to travel unexpectantly (injury, hlta, etc.)

Task Force 1-08

Do you ever wonder which soldiers are currently serving overseas? Well, let me introduce the Task Force 1-08 Battle Group (Roto 5) to you: (and remember, these soldiers and their families come from cities all across Canada -they may live next door to you) :

Task Force 1-08’s Battle Group is being led by The Second Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. (click on link for Gov. owned PPCLI website) The Battle Group officially stood up on April 2, 2007. The bulk of the soldiers are from Valcartier, Quebec, Shilo, Manitoba, and Edmonton, Alberta.
About 1000 members make up the Battle Group, including approximately 150 Reservists from across Land Force Western Area.

The Battle Group is comprised of the following elements:

Battle Group Headquarters – 2 PPCLI (Shilo);
2 x LAV Rifle Companies – B and C Companies 2 PPCLI (Shilo) and elements of A Company 3 PPCLI (Edmonton);
1 x M777 Artillery Battery with 2 x STA Troops – B Battery 1 RCHA (Shilo);
1 x Field Engineer Squadron – 12 Field Squadron 1 CER (Edmonton);
1 x Reconnaissance Platoon – 2 PPCLI (Shilo);
1 x Reconnaissance Squadron – D Squadron 12 RBC (Valcartier);
1 x Tank Squadron – B Squadron LdSH(RC) (Edmonton); and
1 x Medical Company – 1 Field Ambulance (Edmonton).

Support our Soldiers and their Families for all they do and endure.



NOTICE: Package Cut Off Date for Task Force 1-08
Please be advised that the Canadian Forces Postmaster Kandahar, has determined that 31 July 2008 will be the recommended Cut Off Date for mail being sent from Canada to Afghanistan for all Deployed persons on Roto 5 TF 1-08. This date allows for an approximate 6 week "clearance" window. Parcels and letters may still be sent after 31 July but it is suggested that all morale mail be sent on or before this date.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Bless Private Colin William Wilmot- 1984 - July 5, 2008

Our Fallen Soldier

Private Colin William Wilmot

1984 - 2008

July 7, 2008 at 2:30 AM EDT At approximately 12:50 a.m., Kandahar time, on July 5, a Canadian soldier suffered critical injuries and later died when an explosive device detonated near a dismounted security patrol in Panjwayi District.The fallen soldier is Private Colin William Wilmot, a medic serving with the Health Services Support Unit in Afghanistan attached to 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Battle Group. His home unit was 1 Field Ambulance, based in Edmonton, Alberta.

First-aid was administered to Private Wilmot immediately following the explosion. He was evacuated by helicopter to the Multi-National Medical Facility at Kandahar Airfield. Sadly, Private Wilmot was pronounced dead upon arrival.The thoughts and prayers of every member of the Canadian Task Force are with Private Wilmot's family and friends during this very difficult time.
Our Canadian medic killed by a bomb at an undisclosed location on Sunday had eagerly volunteered for a spot in the Afghan mission, his commander says.
Private Colin William Wilmot was serving with a field ambulance unit in Edmonton and was not originally scheduled to deploy to the battlefield, but he lobbied for the job and eventually got attached to the Canadian battle group.
“He quickly marched in to see his Regimental Sergeant Major to indicate he was eager to serve in Afghanistan,” said Brigadier-General Denis Thompson, the top Canadian commander in Kandahar. “He was selected to fill a vacancy soon after, because he was motivated, he was skilled, and because he was eager to make a difference in the lives of ordinary Afghan people.”
Gen. Thompson said he has discontinued the practice of giving the location of soldiers' deaths, saying only that Private Wilmot was killed somewhere in Panjwai district, a vast expanse of farmland and desert southwest of Kandahar city.

Private Colin William Wilmot, a medic, died during a foot patrol in Panjwai district on Sunday.
The commander also gave few details about what the medic was doing at the time of his death.
“It was a foot patrol at night,” Gen. Thompson said. “We're trying to dominate the area and to do that we have to do foot patrols.”
The blast happened around 1 a.m. local time on Sunday and did not immediately kill the medic. He suffered critical injuries and his comrades gave him emergency first-aid, lifting him onto a stretcher and moving him in an armoured vehicle to the nearest Canadian outpost.
A helicopter later took him a military hospital at Kandahar Airfield but he was pronounced dead on arrival.
“Throughout the evacuation process, our soldiers and medical personnel fought hard, just as Private Wilmot often did, to save the life of their patient. Sadly, his injuries were too extensive to save him,” Gen. Thompson said.
Private Wilmot leaves behind a fiancée, Laura. He had recently returned to Afghanistan after a short vacation.
“I am told he had a permanent smile on his face, and would brag to anyone within earshot that he was now engaged,” Gen. Thompson said.
“He personally gave medical assistance to many soldiers,” the commander said. “He was also quick to help Afghan soldiers, members of the police, and local civilians who required emergency treatment.
“Colin took great pride in his role and abilities when providing needed medical support.”
He continued: “The Canadian Task Force routinely counts on our medics during life-and-death situations, and Private Wilmot was always ready to answer the call.”

Statement from the Family: It was with great sadness that our family received the devastating news of the loss of Private Colin William Wilmot. Colin took extreme pride in his service to his country and his fellow soldiers as a medic. He was a mature outgoing young man who was full of life and always had a positive outlook. It was no surprise to any of us that he chose a profession that allowed him to help others. Colin also leaves behind his fiancée Laura who brought great joy to his life and will miss him with all her heart and soul. We are extremely proud of Colin and what he accomplished in his lifetime. Our family is heartbroken by his loss. He will never be forgotten and his spirit will live forever within the hearts of all who knew him.We wish to thank all Canadians for their outpouring of support during this difficult time and would like to express our gratitude to the Canadian Forces the tremendous support they have provided to our entire family.

Obituary of Pte Colin William Wilmot 1984 - 2008

The passing of Pte Colin William Wilmot of CFB Edmonton, AB, occurred on
Saturday, July 5, 2008 at Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.

Born on May 12, 1984 in Fredericton, NB, he was the son of Warrant Officer
Eric P. Craig of Petawawa, ON and the late Shirley Lorraine (Mann) Craig.
Pte Colin Wilmot was a medic with 1 Field Ambulance serving in Afghanistan.
He was a very athletic young man, who was proud to serve his country.
In addition to his step-father, Colin is survived by his birth father, Colin Bernard Wilmot of Fredericton, NB; sister, Kathleen Jones Kingston of Fredericton, NB
and fiancée, Laura English of Moncton, NB.
Besides his mother, he was predeceased by his brother-in-law, David Trevis Kingston.

Visitation will take place at York Funeral Home, 302 Brookside Dr. Fredericton North on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 from 2-4, 7-9. Royal Canadian Legion Branch #4, Fredericton will conduct a Tribute Service Tuesday evening at 6:45 pm at the funeral home. A Funeral Service will take place at St. Luke’s Protestant Chapel CFB Gagetown on Wednesday, July 16th at 10AM with Padre Darryl Levy and Padre Ian Easter officiating.
Reception to follow at the Carleton Barracks Officers Mess, CFB Gagetown.
Interment will take place at the Forest Hill Cemetery, Fredericton.
For those who wish, in lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to the Autism Society.
Personal condolences may be offered through

He's Coming Home - Ramp Ceremony - Kandahar, Afghanistan

While the lone piper plays behind, Pte. Colin William Wilmot's comrades load his flag-draped coffin into an aircraft after a solemn ramp ceremony at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan on Monday, July 7th, 2008.

Comrades Remember- The medic was remembered by comrades as the top student in his basic medical course and a young man with a perpetually sunny disposition. They said Wilmot, who had been with the military for three years, was not originally scheduled to join the current rotation in Afghanistan, but demanded to be sent.
"He quickly marched in to see his regiment sergeant major to indicate he was eager to serve," said Brig.-Gen. Denis Thompson, Canada's top soldier in Afghanistan.
"Colin wanted it known that should a spot become available on the mission, he wanted in.
His peers say the Canadian military medic who died Sunday, Pte. Colin William Wilmot, had a quick smile, sharp intellect, and generous heart. "He was selected to fill a vacancy soon after, because he was motivated, he was skilled, and because he was eager to make a difference in the lives of ordinary Afghans."
'We are a family,' commanding officer says
Back at Edmonton Garrison, where Wilmot was based before deploying for Afghanistan, his commanding officer, Lt. Col. Christopher Linford, said the incident underlined the risks faced by Canada's combat medics in Afghanistan.
"We are a family and this is like losing a family member," he said.
"I don't think there's any doubt that all medics that go over to do this job are extremely aware of the dangers they face," said Linford, commander of 1Field Ambulance in Edmonton. "Frankly, I'm extremely impressed by their level of courage and commitment to do that," said Linford, commander of 1Field Ambulance in Edmonton."
Along the Highway of Heroes and Repatriation Announcement:
Our fallen soldier, Private Colin William Wilmot, 24, of 1 Field Ambulance, based out of Edmonton, Alberta is scheduled to return home to Canada Wednesday.
Where: 8 Wing Trenton, Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ontario.
When: Wednesday, July 9, 2008 at 2:00 p.m.

Present to pay their respects at the repatriation ceremony will be the Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and other dignitaries.
After the repatriation ceremonies, the cortege will travel from Trenton to Toronto along the 401 W - The Highway of Heroes. Join others along the overpasses and highway and salute our fallen soldier - honour him and his family. Wear red and wave a flag proudly. (wish I was able to be by your side today J. - my heart is there.)

On the Overpass - July 9th, 2008
Photo taken at the Victoria Park Overpass in Toronto

They stood on the bridge over the 401 at Victoria Park Road in Toronto as the strong winds blew, awaiting the cortège enroute from Trenton. Someone was in touch with the progress of the cortège and received updates as to what point the family had just passed. With heavy hearts 20 people stood braving the traffic and winds on the bridge. One couple brought a flag and fastened it to the handrail so that it over hung the edge of the bridge, occassionally blowing upwards with each gust while other people had flags waving in the stiff breeze. As the cars and trucks passed underneath, the drivers honked and they waved in return.

In a moment, the 8 or so vehicles to passed by after the motorcycle riders cleared the traffic in the inside lane. At that point there are 7 lanes of traffic past that spot - 3 collector lanes and 4 core lanes. The people in the cortège vehicles "waved in acknowledgement to us which made us feel as though we had connected with them. " said one military mother.

Included on the overpass was: a mother whose son is currently serving in Afghanistan. The reason for her attendance was in respect for the family of a soldier who served in the same unit as her son.
There were two young men who were from Afghanistan, a WWII vet, a current CER who is posted to Edmonton Aug 1 and his family, a man and his 2 children who will be going to Petawawa in a couple of weeks to see a relative off to Afghanistan, a woman with a very strong French accent who doesn't agree with the war but just had to pay her respect to someone who gave his life in service of our country, a Dad whose son goes on the next rotation, a Dad whose son is a reservist has done one rotation and has just finished his first year in law. The remainder were people who wanted to be there to honour a soldier whose life has ended so soon.
Homecoming affects driver:
I was getting on the 401 in Whitby today and as I pulled onto the onramp, five OPP cruisers were sitting on the embankment. In my rear view mirror I saw a caravan of OPP Cruisers, Durham Region Police Cruisers, a couple of Chevy Yukons and a Hearse I couldn't make it off the on ramp and had to come to a rolling stop to let them pass, as all the officers on the side of the road got out of their vehicles and off their motorcycles to salute the fallen soldier that was passing us.
As I neared the first bridge, tears came to my eyes! It was covered in Canadian Flags with many firetrucks, ambulances, cruisers all saluting the caravan. I have never seen this before. I didn't realize how it was affecting me!! We came to another bridge and the same again, including civilians like you and continued all the way to Warden Avenue. We even saw Veterans on the bridge standing at salute awaiting the fallen soldier's passby.How incredible a feeling. As I write this I am overcome with emotions again. I am told that this is a regular occurance in the east end of the GTA, and filled with pride for the people who make it to salute the fallen soldier. It does sadden me that they have to do it, however.
Upon googling when I returned home, I found out that it was Pte. Colin William Wilmot who was killed in Afghanistan on Sunday. I live in the west end of the city, and have never witnessed this before. I am glad my children and I did tonite. We have never been affected by the war there, but today it certainly touched out hearts. My van now has a Canadian Flag on it, but unlike the German one last week, this one is truly displayed with pride for the country I have chosen to make home and not to support a sports team. - 3W

The Funeral- Saying Goodbye - July 16, 2008
Privat Colin Wilmot's loved ones stood beside the chapel at CFB Gagetown, anguish etched on their faces, their hearts as empty as the cloudless blue sky. They clasped hands and choked back tears as a piper interrupted the uneasy silence of a lazy summer morning, and the long goodbye began.

Heels clicking against the pavement, eight sombre soldiers slowly carried the casket bearing the 24-year-old private into a church where mourners were waiting. The mission grinds on, but for friends and family, time stood still on Wednesday.His funeral was the first at the New Brunswick base in more than a year, and his casket lay at the front of the chapel near a painting dedicated recently to other soldiers who have died during the Afghan war.
More than 300 people crowded inside the chapel at CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick on Wednesday to pay their final respects to a Canadian medic who was killed in Afghanistan.
In front of the small St. Luke Chapel, soldiers in dark-green dress uniforms stood at attention as the flag-draped coffin of Pte. Colin Wilmot was carried inside. The pallbearers and colour guard were members of Wilmot's 1st Field Ambulance - his own unit from Edmonton and and soldiers from Petawawa.
The Edmonton-based soldier was attached to the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, but Wilmot was raised in Fredericton and graduated from Fredericton High School in 2002 and remembered as a cheerful person from the convenience store
Maj. John Crook, the acting commander of 1st Field Ambulance, told the congregation Wilmot was a dedicated soldier.
"Colin served his unit with honour and dignity. He was a shining example of what Canada has to offer," Crook said.
Wilmot's family has a long history of military service.
Among the mourners was Wilmot's stepfather, Warrant Officer Eric Craig, who was recently transferred from CFB Gagetown to CFB Petawawa in eastern Ontario, and Oromocto Mayor Fay Tidd, and Frank Dunn, the mayor of New Maryland.
Kathy Jones Kingston, Wilmot's sister, gave the eulogy at the funeral. Wilmot was smart and mischievous as a child, she said, recalling how her brother would often steal the shoes of family and company as a child in an effort to keep them from leaving.
Wilmot also enjoyed playing with GI Joe figures as a boy, Jones Kingston said. "Colin cared about everyone, usually more than himself,'' his sister, Kathy Kingston, said in eulogizing him. "What we'll miss most is his smile and his laugh."We're going to miss you, Colin. Thanks for all the memories."
Other family members have said Wilmot was inspired to become a medic by the television show MASH, but he did his medical work in the field during combat operations, not in a hospital behind the front lines.
Wilmot, who had been with the military for three years, was not originally scheduled to join the current rotation in Afghanistan but demanded to be sent.
"Colin cared about everyone, usually more than himself," Jones Kingston said. "What we'll miss most about Colin is his smile and his laugh. We're going to miss you, Colin. Thanks for all the memories."
Family, friends and colleagues remember Wilmot as a top student in his basic medical course and a young man with a perpetual smile and positive attitude.

Pallbears from the 1st Field Ambulance of the 2nd Battalion of Princess Patricia's Candian Light Infantry Battle Group, carry Private Colin Wilmot's coffin during his funeral at St. Luke's Chapel at CFB Gagetown

A silver-and-black hearse carried Wilmot's body in a deliberate procession that was greeted by an honour guard. Freshly-scrubbed members of his light infantry unit, none looking any older than him, served as the pallbearers, carefully carrying his casket, draped in a flag, up, then down the chapel's stairs. A step behind them, holding Wilmot's head dress, walked the grim-faced Cpl. Alicia Garbe, a member of the Edmonton-based Princess Patricias who escorted his remains back from Afghanistan.
Mourners spilled quietly from the church following the ceremony, some with their eyes red from crying, many with yellow ribbons pinned to their lapels. His loved ones waited, silent and heartbroken, for his casket to be lifted back into a limousine and taken to a cemetery in Fredericton.Soldiers saluted as the hearse left Gagetown, and mourners headed for their cars, clutching programs with his picture, smiling and handsome, on the front. On the back was a poem that was read during the service."A Canadian soldier goes home today, his duty all but done,'' it reads at the start. "His friends gather to see him off, and salute him one by one."
A private burial at Fredericton's Forest Hill Cemetery took place later in the day.
A Canadian Soldier Goes Home Today
A Canadian soldier goes home today
His duty all but done
His friends gather round to see him off
And salute him one by one

To keep the peace he's done his best
And kept the foe at bay
And gave the children in a foreign land
A chance to run and play

They may never know this soldier's name
Nor the sacrifice he made
To leave his own fond loved ones
At home they wish he stayed

But the work of keeping a fragile peace
Is a long and arduous one
Most times accomplished with an open hand
But sometimes with a gun

He is not the first to go this way
But we pray he is the last
With a few shed tears we say goodbye
And then from sight he's passed

Yes, a Canadian soldier goes home today
Draped in our National Flag
His duty for his country is done
Rest well my fallen comrade
BY: Roland MacKinnon Stationed in Kandahar, Afghanistan

Our prayers are with your family and friends both here and in Afghanistan as you travel your new journey. Bless you Private Wilmot. Thank you for serving our country. You will always be remembered.

Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect others.
Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they preform for those in need.

Bless Corporal Brendan Anthony Downey July 4, 2008

Bless Our Fallen Soldier - July 4th, 2008

Repatriation into Canada
Our fallen soldier, Corporal Brendan Anthony Downey, 37, a Military Policeman of 17 Wing Detachment Dundurn, is scheduled to return home to Canada today.

Where: 8 Wing Trenton, Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ontario.

When: Monday, July 7, 2008
at 2:00 p.m.

Present to pay their respects will be the Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and other dignitaries.
Our Fallen Soldier
At approximately 4:15 a.m. (EST) July 4, a Canadian Forces member was found dead in an accommodation room in the Theatre Support Element compound in the Gulf region.Deceased is Corporal Brendan Anthony Downey, a Military Policeman from the Military Police Detachment in Dundurn, Saskatchewan.An investigation is ongoing to establish the circumstances of this incident. No further details are available at this time, although enemy action has been ruled out.Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Corporal Downey during this difficult time. Our focus over the next number of days will be to provide the best possible support to the family of our airman and to his colleagues. Cpl Downey's immediate family has no comment at this time and will provide a statement in due course. I can't imagine the grief they are going through at this time. Let's welcome our fallen soldier home along the Highway of Heroes (Hwy 401 from Trenton to Toronto) along the overpasses.

Our Soldier is Home

Onlookers watch as the hearse carrying Cpl. Brendan Anthony Downey drives through CFB Trenton Monday PHOTO Credit: LUKE HENDRY

A dedicated crowd watched the repatriation of Cpl. Brendan Anthony Downey here Monday, July 7th.
Downey was based at Saskatchewan's 17 Wing Detachment Dundurn.
The Canadian Forces CC- 177 Globemaster III air transport carrying his body touched down in Trenton around 3:20 p. m. Monday. Pallbearers carried Downey's flag-covered casket slowly down the plane's long ramp and into a hearse. Family members then approached the vehicle in small groups to pay their respects.
The view from the fence showed little of the ceremony, since several wire fences and a low concrete barricade stretched across the hundreds of metres of asphalt between the fence and plane.
But a crowd of about 50 people, most of them civilians, watched intently nonetheless.
"This is the way these young men have ended their careers -- by serving us well, " said Cathy Quinn, a retired teacher from Ottawa. Her family is vacationing in Bloomfield in nearby Prince Edward County. She brought two 9 year old granddaughters - to watch the repatriation from the base fence along Highway 2. Hayley said the fallen have done "as much as they could" in the line of duty.
With the humidity making the temperature feel well above 30 C, many of the public stood drinking cold bottled water distributed free by the Quinte West Fire Department.
Lindy Muise lives just east of CFB Trenton and said much of the military air traffic, including repatriation flights, passes over his home. Monday was the first time he had attended a repatriation.
He said he felt he should attend because he now has a family connection to the Canadian Forces.
"I've got two grandchildren just going in," he said, describing their recent enlistments.
Muise said his family now watches military news closely.
"Every move they make we pay attention because we've got family in there," he said, calling the repatriation "pretty sad."
"It could be mine," said Muise, adding the fact that while don't brings comfort, the fallen are still "somebody's kids."
Quinte West OPP kept careful watch over traffic, blocking lanes to allow spectators to park and move safely across the highway.
Muise, though, said the public should be allowed onto the base during the services.
"The base is big enough to hold everybody and (have) lots of room left over," he said. "This is dangerous out here."
Monday's crowd was relatively small compared with that at other ceremonies, which have drawn as many as several hundred people.
However, the military -- which typically announces repatriations at least one day in advance -- did not make public the ceremony's date and time until Monday morning, then postponed the start time by just over one hour. Strange.

Bless you Cpl. Downey. You will always be remembered. Thank you for serving for us - our country, our people and those overseas. Our thoughts and prayers are sent to the family and friends both here and overseas.

He travels his journey home.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Let Our Yellow Ribbons Flutter... for Our Soldiers

I was saddened when I read this story about mothers who have been busy creating and hanging yellow ribbons in honour of our soldiers only to find them taken or cut down. I know I personally have been a victim of such a heinous act. My yellow ribbon (that hung in honour of my son and his Battle Group) was cut right off of the big tree at the front of my home. However, it was nice that a neighbour found my big ribbon - not to return it.. oh no.. but to cut it into pieces and tied it onto a line over his newly seeded lawn to scare birds away. Imagine that! Thank you nice supportive neighbour.
It seems like just yesterday that I had started a yellow ribbon hanging campaign of various cities (to which many Mayors gladly honoured our troops by doing so - thank you :) Let's do it again.

I posted the story of the moms below. Read on.
Symbolic Yellow Ribbons Cut Down and Hamilton Mountain News
By Melissa Hancock
Jun 19, 2008
Yellow ribbons hung in the downtown area of Galt to signify the safe return home of Canadian soldiers were cut down in what some are assuming was a hasty act of objection to the war in Afghanistan.
"My first reaction was anger," said Cambridge resident Bob Stebbings, a retired military warrant officer. "My second reaction was sadness."
Mothers from a military family support group, which includes members from Cambridge and surrounding cities and towns, tied about 40 of the symbolic yellow ribbons around trees and light posts late last month in preparation for the later summer deployment of about 2,500 soldiers. Days later, one of the mothers found several ribbons in a garbage can on a sidewalk near Ainslie and Main streets.
"I was just flabbergasted," said Sharon Coulson, whose son will be among those deployed in a few months. "Somebody went around and cut them down."
As she ran errands near the Ainslie and Main streets area a couple of weeks ago, Coulson spotted several of the snipped yellow ribbons sitting in a shopping cart that was being pushed by a homeless man.
Coulson approached the man and asked where he'd acquired the yellow ribbons. He found them in the garbage, she said, and was hoping to sell them.
"I was asking myself all kinds of questions," she told the Times.
Coulson wondered: did a city worker take down the ribbons without knowing they were allowed to be up? Did the man with the shopping cart cut them down himself? Or did someone who doesn't agree with the war in Afghanistan cut them down?
"This has got nothing to do with the war," she noted about the ribbons. "It's not just for one, two or three - it's for every soldier out there."
She said she believed the man with the cart and walked over to the area where he said he'd found the ribbons. That's where she found more cut in half and sitting on top of the trash.
"That's a slap in the face to my son as a soldier," charged Coulson. "I was so upset."
The man gave back the ribbons to Coulson and she later continued to search for more that were discarded. After glancing up and down the streets where the ribbons were hung, she could tell how many were left just by looking. About a dozen remained out of the 40 that went up. But Coulson didn't look for long.
"I was just so upset; I couldn't look in the garbage anymore."
Stebbings said he thinks the public needs to be more aware of all that goes on overseas. Stories need to be heard of Canadian soldiers who have helped women in Afghanistan start their own businesses, he said.
"I'm a little disappointed that our government isn't explaining more of what's going on there."
However, the yellow ribbon signifies the safe return of Canada's men and women and it does not signify support of the war or have any political bearing, Stebbings added.
His wife, Andrea Stebbings - who is the executive director of the Downtown Cambridge Business Improvement Association - shares a similar reaction to what happened.
"I was stunned," said Andrea. "We all know what that ribbon represents."
The executive director, who was downtown at the armoury on Valour Place last month when the military support group mothers hung their ribbons, said it was most likely the act of someone who disagrees with the war.
"There's no politics in this yellow ribbon," she said. "It's a little yellow ribbon that carries so much meaning."
More ribbons have been hung up and there are still more to come, said Andrea. And if more are cut down, others will go right back up.
"Even if we have to climb higher up the pole."

Come on! Let's ALL hang a yellow ribbon in honour of our soldiers!
Let's do it for our troops! Hang a flag - hang a yellow ribbon!
.. and ... Don't forget your yellow ribbon magnet for your car!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

2nd Annual Charity Golf Tournament

Saturday, July 26, 2008, Windsor Ont the CAW (Local 2458) and The Canada South Blues Society partner in a Golf Tournament supporting

2nd. Annual Charity Golf Tournament.
In support of Injured Canadian Soldiers and

Sapper Mike McTeague Wounded Warriors Fund

Saturday July 26, 2008

at the Fox Glen Golf Club

7525 Howard Avenue,

McGregor, ON

Great Contest & Prices

Blues Bands of the course

Fox Glen Golf Club$ 125.00 per golfer

To enter, contact: Bruce Dickie or Tuilo DiPoni at 519-254-8630

or Entry forms available at the Windsor Pub, 3032 Dougall Avenue.

Map to Golf Course:

View Larger Map

Warriors' Day Parade

The 87th Warriors' Day Parade

on Saturday, August 16th, 2008

at 10:30 a.m.



"90th Anniversary of the End of World War I"

NOTE: This year the parade will terminate inside the BMO Field stadium at the CNE. All members of the public are welcome to enjoy the comfort of this world-class facility to join together in expressing appreciation for our Veterans and currently serving members of Canada's military service. Please help us fill the stadium!

PARADE ROUTE:-Through the Princes' Gates, along Princes' Blvd, in front of The Direct Enegy Centre right through to the BMO Field.-The Parade will enter through the south-east entrance of the BMO Field and -Exit the BMO Field through the north-west gate

For further information, please contact:

MWO Charles G. Harding CD (Ret'd)President, The Warriors' Day Parade Council

496 Mortimer AvenueToronto, Ontario, Canada M4J 2G7

Telephone: 416-465-7291 Email: mailto:cgharding@sympatico,ca

Free Family tickets to the Canadian National Exhibition grounds will be issued to, and are only for the use of Canadian or Allied Veterans, or members and ex-members of the Canadian Forces, Permanent Force or other Canadian Components and their IMMEDIATE FAMILIES.

Canex Discounts for Soldiers

Woaaaa!! Have I been sleeping?? How did I miss this??? This is a phenominal website - and truly beneficial to all soldiers! O.k. let me give you a hint: It has one word that I love: "DISCOUNTS!! " Please pass this on!

The CANEX Discount Program (CDP) gives access, at a discounted rates, to a wide range of commercial goods and services that benefit the military community. This program provides an online portal where members of the military community can obtain information about meaningful national and local discounts offered to them by Corporate Canada.

The authorized patron list is as follows:
(CANEX Discount Program (CDP) - Authorized Patrons List)
  • Serving members of the CF and their spouses

  • Members of the CF Reserve Force

  • Retired CF members and DND civilian employees in receipt of a DND pension

  • Permanent full time or part time NPF and DND employees and their spouses

  • CANEX Concessionaires (principals only)

  • Qualifying foreign military personnel

  • Retired NPF employees in receipt of an NPF pension

  • Full time employees of ASD contractors

  • Widows of CF personnel receiving a benefit under the CFSA, DSPCA, the Pension Act or he War Veterans Allowance Act

  • Members of the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires when residing or employed on a Base/Wing

  • Members of the RCMP
If you are a CANEX Authorized Patron, listed above, please click onto: CANEX DISCOUNTS or NOW!

Thank you CANEX!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

General Rick Hillier Retires

It's 11:00 a.m. in Ottawa. It has just happened.. General Rick Hillier has retired.

Today is a sad day for many as General Rick Hillier retires from his position as Chief of the Defence Staff. Hillier was looked up to and loved by many - soldiers and families.
He always presented himself with a warm touch and always had kind words for the families back home supporting the troops overseas. I had had a dream - to one day meet this man.

I remember a couple of quotes by General Hillier:

When announcing the Military Family Fund:
"When our families call out for help, we must be able to answer that call immediately and substantially. Our families have been here for us through our enrolment, our training, our deployments, and our homecomings. The military life places significant demands on our loved ones. They did not volunteer for service – but serve they do, and with great distinction. It is our turn to be there for our families.”

Or the time Hillier addressed the families at the Roto 2 Medals Parade when he addressed the families:
“…We know that you are not volunteers and sometimes the load that you carry is much heavier indeed than what we bear. We cannot do our jobs without your support, without your courage, and without your inspiration and for that you have our absolutely deepest gratitude, our appreciation, and thank you very much for your support to all of the families who are here today. “

~ All the best on your retirement General Hillier.
Godspeed on your new journey.
From the many Military Moms, Dads, Wives, Husbands, children and families of your soldiers.

***Readers: WANTED - If you have a picture or a paticular memory of Gen. Hillier, send it onto me and I'll post it.
Welcome General Walter Natynczuk
(o.k... it will take me some time to learn to spell his last name)

Now Retired Gen. Rick Hillier stands beside Gen. Walter Natynczyk at the changing of command ceremony in Ottawa on Wednesday, July 2, 2008.

Hillier handed over the reigns today to Lt.-Gen. Walter Natynczyk who succeeded him as Canada's chief of defence staff.
Early Wednesday, before the change-of-command ceremony in Ottawa, Hillier visited Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa, a stop he said was the final leg in a tour of respect he has taken over the past month, visiting key burial sites of Canada's fallen soldiers.
"I wanted to complete that journey, if you will, by going by the national military cemetery this morning and just visiting and paying my respects to those young men and one young woman who are buried there and who have served their country and paid the ultimate price for it," he said. "It was something I wanted to do on my last day as chief of defence staff."
Hillier announced in April that he would be moving on after more than three years at the head of Canada's military.
The outspoken and charismatic general, who was known as "a soldier's soldier" by many of his troops, will become the chancellor of Memorial University in St. John's, N.L. as of July 3.
Losing 'soldier' status
He said the most difficult part of leaving the military will be losing his status as a soldier.
"I've been a soldier all my life, really," Hillier said.
"I joined the army as a boy, my wife and I were married quite young, we grew up in the army, and so leaving as a soldier, my goodness, this is an earth-shaking moment for us."
During his time in the post, Hillier oversaw Canada's role in Afghanistan and secured new money and new equipment for the military.
Retired Gen. Lewis MacKenzie said it was at a similar ceremony more than three years ago that Hillier set the bold tone for his term.
"When he took over he figuratively turned to the audience and said we need help, we need more money, we need more people. Everyone was aghast and thought that would be his last outburst," MacKenzie told Canada AM.
"Instead, it was the beginning of three and a half years of fine leadership where the morale of the Canadian Forces was really revitalized."
Hillier's successor
Hillier said Natynczyk is the perfect candidate to replace him as chief of defence.
"Walt is probably the best officer with whom I ever had the opportunity to work with," Hillier said.
"He's got incredible values, great experience, command time, international time, domestic time. My advice to Walter has been be yourself. You've got those great characteristics that led you to getting the appointment here today. He's a great leader and as I told him I'll be at his beck and call, or not, as he decides."
Natynczyk, who will be promoted from his role as vice-chief of defence staff, has been referred to as a "gentleman's soldier" by Defence Minister Peter MacKay.
He has acknowledged that Hillier will be a tough act to follow, but said he expects to put his own stamp on the military.
Shortly after his appointment was announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Natynczyk, who is affectionately known among the troops as "Uncle Walt," told reporters he was honoured to be selected as the new CDS.
"I'm looking forward to providing the leadership to the men and women of the Canadian Forces, providing security for Canada, for Canadians, and... for all those families of our military men and women," he said.
The change of command ceremony, which began at 10 a.m. ET, was presided over by Governor General Michaelle Jean.
JUST IN: Wednesday, July 2, 2008 1304
General Walt Natynczyk is officially the new Chief of the Defence Staff for the Canadian Forces. General Natynczyk was given the top command in a ceremony at Uplands presided over by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, as well as Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay attended the ceremony."We are torn between sadness at bidding farewell to a general whom we greatly admire and joy at welcoming as the head of the Canadian Forces a generous man and a fine officer," said the Governor General. "These emotions speak volumes of the respect that we have for them both. A respect that resonates at all levels of Canada's military, from myself as commander-in-chief to soldiers of every rank and stripe to their families."The Canadian Forces have the important and challenging responsibility of protecting Canada and Canadians and contributing to international stability," said Prime Minister Stephen Harper. "It is critical that they have a Chief of Defence Staff that offers strong leadership and expertise.""General Natynczyk has the extensive knowledge and experience necessary to ensure our Canadian Forces continue their fine work into the future," said Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay.General Natynczyk takes over as Chief of the Defence Staff from General Rick Hillier, who assumed leadership in February 2005. General Hillier is retiring from the Canadian Forces after 35 years of dedicated service.