- Canada’s Governor General and Commander-in-Chief David Johnston is back from his first visit to Afghanistan. – more on that from Postmedia News and the Canadian Press.
- According to QMI/Sun Media: “Five previously unnamed lakes in northeastern Manitoba now bear the names of some of the province’s fallen sons. Pte. Lane Watkins, Cpl. James Arnal, Cpl. Michael Seggie, Sapper Sean Greenfield and Trooper Corey Hayes (links to entries in the Canadian Virtual War Memorial) were honoured by the Manitoba government during a ceremony at the legislature Thursday where it was announced small lakes northwest of Utik Lake, located about 50 kilometres north of Oxford House, will forever bear the names of the fallen soldiers …. The families of Watkins, Arnal, Seggie and Greenfield attended the ceremony and were presented with plaques by Premier Greg Selinger. Hayes will be honoured at a separate ceremony at a later date as his family was unable to attend Thursday …. ” More from the Winnipeg Free Press here and CTV Winnipeg here – Manitoba’s news release here. One of the parents, though, is quoted saying “standing in line behind an NHL hockey player takes the lustre off the honour”.
- The Toronto Star looks over a statistical snapshot of Canadians wounded more than two years ago: “Gun shot wounds, buried bombs, vehicle rollovers, rocket attacks and suicide bombers. For seven months in 2008 — from March to September — those were just a few of the battlefield traumas suffered by Canadian troops as they tangled with insurgents. They are the very incidents that the military has tried to keep out of the public eye with its decision to keep details on wounded soldiers under wraps. The policy of releasing the number of injured soldiers only once a year — on Dec. 31 — has obscured the intensity of fight facing Canadian soldiers, as well as the nature of the sometimes life-altering injuries. It has also given Canadians back home a mental buffer against the numbing realities of war — soldiers who fight hard also get hurt ….”
- Going into more detail, the Toronto Star also shares the ongoing story of a Sudbury reservist, Bill Kerr, as he learns to live without his legs and one arm: “Cpl. Billy Kerr has a burning sensation in his heel and on the last two toes on his right foot. “I look down and I want to scratch them,” he says. “I feel it.” He can’t scratch them. He doesn’t have heels. Or toes. On the morning of Oct. 15, 2008, he stepped inside a mud compound in Afghanistan shortly before noon and a bomb ripped off his legs above the knee and his left arm a few inches below his elbow. Kerr, Canada’s only triple amputee to return from Afghanistan, remembers everything about that day ….”
- More on Canada leaving Camp Mirage in Dubai, via the Globe & Mail: “…. Military planners were given one month to vacate a base that was not only an operational hub, but one they had been counting for Canada’s withdrawal from Afghanistan next year. “It was a scramble,” chief of Defence staff General Walter Natynczyk said during a visit to Kandahar Airfield. “We had to move a lot of equipment over a month’s period of time.” Much of the logistical capacity has been transferred to an American base in Spangdahlem, Germany …. (and) the Canadian government was in the process of hammering out a memorandum of understanding with another country for use of an additional site ….” More on that from the Canadian Press. (P.S.: If you you believe the G&M’s anonymous “government source”, it wasn’t cheap, either.)
- How’s Canada’s withdrawal from Afghanistan going down in some quarters? Not well, according to Macleans.ca: “In private, American and British military officers have never hidden their disdain for the way Canada is handling this pullout. In February, a British general I was speaking with in Kabul called it “bad campaign work, and bad coalition work”. When I was back there in late September, I asked an American two-star general working at the IJC what they were going to do when Canada left. He sighed, then shrugged his shoulders ….” (Hat tip to Mark at unambig.com) First to pipe up on the record (politely), via the Canadian Press: Estonia.
- Some details about how Canadian troops are helping Afghan troops train, from the Canadian Forces information machine: “4th Company is just about ready for the big time. The artillery battery of Kandak 4, 1st Brigade, 205th (Hero) Corps, Afghan National Army (ANA), showed its stuff recently in a highly successful training shoot with live ammunition …. The soldiers of the Kandak 4 Artillery Mentor Team — Warrant Officer John Lannigan, WO Steph Meinert, Sergeant Steph Houde, Bombardier Matt McCron and (Lieutenant Joshua Barber) — have worked tirelessly for seven months with 4th Company ….”
- Russia to NATO: “Hey, whaddya doin’, driving the Taliban outta Kandahar into northern Afghanistan? You think we want THEM as neighbours again?”
- Taliban Propaganda Watch: Usual list o’ alleged attacks in Kandahar, Uruzgan and Zabul, plus a
pack o’ liesinterview with an alleged Taliban commander in Arghandab.
- Canada’s Special Operations Command (CANSOFCOM) has a new (and first-ever) Colonel Commandant, according to this CF news release.
- Well done to VIA Rail, which is offering discounted rail travel year-round to “Forces’ members and veterans who qualify” – waiting to hear back from VIA regarding what kind of proof you need of former military service to get the discount.
Enjoy your weekend!