This is the story of the men and women of 23 Field Squadron - Op Archer Roto 2, comprising soldiers, sailors and airmen drawn from across the Canadian Forces and beyond. The intent of this book is to mesh their very personal stories with the Squadron War Diary, all within the framework of the overall 1 RCR Battle Group mission. This mission was accomplished by the explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) operators, heavy equipment operators, armoured engineers, geomatic technicians, combat engineers and various support and headquarters staff that were 23 Field Squadron.
This book can can be ordered or purchased through:
23 Field Squadron
University of Waterloo
Coates and Laser (Petawawa)
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2 CER RMC 1 CER CFSME 5 RGC 31 CER 4 ESR
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Clearing the Way: Combat Engineers in Kandahar will be donated to the Sapper Mike McTeague Wounded Warrior Fund.
"Clearing the Way" includes accounts of members of 23 Field Squadron who took part in Operation Medusa. A fierce battle in Afghanistan in which Canada paid a heavy price is the inspiration for a new book authored by some of those who fought the Taliban. - Winnepeg Free Press
Tanks are a standard asset within the Canadian battle group, but did you know that the first time they deployed en masse from Kandahar Airfield, they were caught in a Soviet-era minefield? Do you know how Route Summit got its name, or how it came to be in the first place? Or what happened to forward operating base Zettlemeyer? Or how a “Mad Max-ed” yellow bulldozer played an integral role in Operation MEDUSA? Or that, after surviving a roadside bomb that destroyed his vehicle and kit, a petty officer, second class defused an IED using only his bayonet?
Clearing theWay answers these questions and more, and provides an intimate glimpse into the reality on the ground in Kandahar Province during late summer and autumn 2006.
Corporal Matt Austin was interested in writing a few short stories about the soldiers in 23 Fd Sqn, an idea fully supported by Major Mark Gasparotto, the officer commanding the squadron on Roto 2. “I told his section commander,” says Maj Gasparotto, “that we should look at interviewing all the members in the squadron and putting together a small book.”
Back in Canada in April 2007,CplAustin got to work, travelling through Ontario and making dozens of calls to various parts of the country.“The real challenge,” he says, “was to interview all persons involved in the TICs [troops in contact] or significant incidents. Naturally, soldiers sometimes forget things they may have said in the past, or events in detail.” Realizing this,Cpl Austin cross-interviewed troops at different times to verify the narrative and root out what were, essentially, simple lapses in memory.
Another challenge he did not anticipate was the emotional impact that revisiting these events would have on those he interviewed. “Many men,” he says, “would stop and only continue with the support of other section mates.”
After writing four highly detailed chapters, Cpl Austin was placed in a section heading back to Afghanistan, forcing him to hand over his research. “[He] ran out of time to cover everything that deserved to be written about,” says Maj Gasparotto.“That’s when I decided to write the squadron war diary and invited other members to share their stories.”
The book includes the war diary written by Maj Gasparotto, the chapters by Cpl Austin and first-person accounts of various actions that stood out during the tour. - Forces.gc.ca
"For the most part it's the individual soldiers' account of what they're seeing and a lot of it is candid and it's repeating conversations that people had during certain events," said Busbridge.
"It's a more personal account of what happened during that time." - Canadian Free Press
After he had written four lengthy, highly detailed chapters, Cpl Austin was placed in a section heading back to Afghanistan, forcing him to hand over his research.
“[Cpl Austin] ran out of time to cover everything that deserved to be written about,” explains Maj Gasparotto. “That’s when I decided to write the squadron war diary and invited other members to share their stories.”
The finished book includes the war diary by Maj Gasparotto, the chapters by Cpl Austin and several first-person accounts of various incidents that stood out during the tour.
Clearing the Way provides an intimate glimpse into the reality on the ground in Kandahar Province during late summer and fall 2006. Read further ~Capt Edward J.H. Stewart LFAA Public Affairs
These front-line engineers are often the first in and first out of a combat zone -- clearing bombs and mines, building roads, demolishing what needs to be taken out and providing "castle-like" fortifications for protection. lfpress
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