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Tidbits from Both Sides of the Fight

Posts Tagged ‘C-17

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 15 Apr 11

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  • Libya Ops – Long Beach-built Boeing C-17 Globemaster jets owned by the United States, Canada and Qatar are playing an increasing role in operations across war-scarred Libya, including the recent airlift of wounded rebel fighters. According to Press-Telegram, a newspaper from Long Beach, California, at least two Canadian C-17s are operating from Malta. A Qatari Air Force C-17 was used in early April to ferry 15 seriously injured fighters from outside the eastern harbour town of Brega, where revolutionaries have been clashing with fighters loyal to longtime Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The C-17, which can be converted to a flying Intensive Care Unit capable of carrying up to 12 critically injured or sick passengers, has also been airlifting tonnes of military, medical and food supplies to bases supporting Operation Odyssey Dawn, the United Nations mission against the Libyan government’s repression. The Qatari rescue mission was first reported by the Greek Defence Ministry, which said the C-17 first landed on the island of Crete to drop off the most severely wounded and one man who died during the short flight ….”
  • About 40 Taliban insurgents who have been fighting and killing Canadian troops in Panjwaii laid down their weapons this week and agreed to rejoin mainstream Afghan society. “Some of them undoubtedly have blood on their hands,” said Australian Lt.-Col. Liam Hale, who oversees NATO’s “Reintegration Cell” in southern Afghanistan. Canada’s Task Force Kandahar (TFK) had been a leader in establishing reintegration as a priority, the combat engineer said. “It was TFK that developed a formal process to sit down with them,” he said. “It has worked really hard with the district governor, pushing the messages that are important.” Task Force Kandahar’s commander, Brig.-Gen. Dean Milner, said that such defections from the Taliban’s cause represented a potential “tipping point” in the war in Kandahar. “They are switching sides,” Milner said. “How confident do those who remain (in the Taliban) feel when some are laying down their arms and reintegrating? What does it mean for what they can muster in May and June?” he asks, about when the fighting season usually begins ….”
  • The acting commander of Canadian troops in southern Afghanistan is decidedly upbeat as the clock ticks down on Canada’s five-year military effort in the region. Col. Richard Giguere does not seem to be bothered by the approach of the summer “fighting season” in which insurgent activity usually picks up. “There is a positive momentum going on right now in our area of operations,” Giguere said Thursday. Canadian commanders have often used glowing terms to describe the situation on the ground, even as their troops took casualties and military gains were quickly undone by an obdurate and wily insurgency. But Giguere points out that the situation has changed significantly in the past nine months or so. The most important change has been the significant shrinkage in Canada’s area of operations, combined with an influx of American forces ….”
  • Two judges overseeing the release of Afghan detainee documents as demanded by Parliament have decided the documents will remain secret for the rest of the election campaign, CBC News has learned. CBC News has obtained a letter sent by the judges to the leaders of the three federal parties on a committee looking into the release of the documents to inform them that the records cannot be released while Parliament is not sitting. The memorandum of understanding signed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the two opposition leaders agreed to the formation of a committee of MPs to determine how to release secret documents about Canadian prisoners in Afghanistan. The Liberals said Thursday that they are prepared to make whatever amendments are necessary to the original memorandum of understanding reached last year in order to have the documents released now ….”
  • Election 2011 – Michael Ignatieff has begun the second half of the federal election campaign with a partial retreat from some of his comments from Wednesday night’s debate. During the French-language leaders’ debate, the Liberal chief was adamant that he’d let the United Nations Security Council make the ultimate call on whether to send Canadian troops abroad. “The Canadian army must never be used outside the country without the authorization of the UN,” Ignatieff told his debate partners. While allies like France and Britain have vetoes on the Security Council, so do countries like China and Russia, which have shown much less willingness to support NATO or other interventions abroad. Asked whether he really wanted to give Beijing and Moscow that kind of power over Canadian policy, Ignatieff chuckled. “That’s a very funny construction to put on my words,” Ignatieff said. Then he dialed back his debate rhetoric and admitted there could be exceptions ….”
  • Some U.S. defence work for an East Coast company.A rare ray of hope shone on the Miramichi economy Thursday as DEW Engineering and Development ULC announced an $8.7 million contract for its New Brunswick facility. The aerospace and defence company will create 35 new short-term jobs and maintain the 160 workers it currently employs. DEW was awarded the contract by General Dynamics Lands Systems Canada to manufacture bomb-resistant armour for front-line military vehicles used in Afghanistan by the United States Marine Corps. Tim Dear, president and CEO of DEW, said the armour manufactured in Miramichi – a lightweight ceramic composite technology – offers the same ballistic protection as the traditional steel armour at half the weight. “As the Stryker vehicles get older and need to be refurbished, we replace the heavy steel with our ceramic composite armour to get those vehicles back to the mobility they had when they were first made,” he said ….”
  • New Brunswick is consulting Reservists about education. The provincial government is adding military reservists to its list of public consultations. Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Martine Coulombe announced Thursday she will review ways to further enhance employment and education leave protection for Canadian Forces reservists in New Brunswick. “We are consulting with key stakeholders, including military reservists, to ensure that we are meeting their current and future needs,” Coulombe said. “The consultation process is designed to seek ideas on how to provide further clarity to existing rules, to support the Armed Forces’ ability to plan deployments, and to incorporate best practices implemented in other Canadian jurisdictions.” ….”
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MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 1 Mar 11

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  • What’s next for Canada’s response to Libya? Canada pledges humanitarian aid to Libya (without explaining what kind) + CF reconnaissance and medical team in Malta (More) = DART deployment?  Time will tell.
  • Canada to Gadhafi:  Maybe it’s time to go? Canada is warning that the desire for freedom in Libya and across the region will overwhelm leaders who withhold democracy and abuse their citizens. After criticism of its reluctant embrace of the pro-democracy rebellion that toppled Egypt’s longtime ruler, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is now positioning itself squarely behind Libyan rebels who are massing on Tripoli’s doorstep and preparing for battle with their dictator. In Ottawa, Government House Leader John Baird tabled sanctions in the House of Commons and spoke openly of “regime change” to end Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s 41-year rule. At a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva Monday, Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon spoke hopefully of a “tide of change” sweeping through the Middle East and North Africa ….”
  • How about a no-fly zone over Libya?  No consensus, says Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister“A military no-fly zone over Libya is unlikely to get off the ground as several allies are balking at the plan, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said Monday. “In terms of the no-fly zone, there doesn’t seem to be consensus among our allies,” Cannon told a teleconference from Geneva, declining to offer Canada’s position. “There are too many elements still not known, so I would not want to offer an opinion at this time,” he said. “We still don’t have enough information.” Earlier, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain was working with its allies to draw up a plan for a military no-fly zone over Libya ….”
  • What Canada’s up to, 140 characters at a time from the PM’s chief spokesperson Dimitri SoudasHow many out so far? Brit warship gives some Canadians a lift to MaltaWhere’s Canada’s big military plane in the area?
  • More news on the latest in Libya here (Google News), here (EMM News Brief:  Libya),  here (NewsNow), here (BBC) and here (Al Jazeera English).
  • More tidbits of information about missing Canadian Colin Rutherford in Afghanistan. This from CBC.ca: “…. The police chief in Ghazni province confirmed that Rutherford was living in the region for almost a month and that he was seen dressed in local clothing several times ….” This from the Toronto Star:  “…. In late October, just six months into a new job as a media auditor in Toronto, Rutherford told his boss he was going on vacation. The 26-year-old wanted to learn Pashto, one of Afghanistan’s two official languages. “He went to Afghanistan and didn’t come back,” said Zia Hasan, manager of audit operations at the Toronto-based Canadian Circulations Audit Board. Rutherford had booked two weeks off. “We just thought he decided not to come back. Sometimes people do that. We’re obviously concerned for his welfare. We’re cooperating with the local authorities for any information that they require,” Hasan said ….”
  • How’re the Afghan troops being trained by Canadian and NATO troops doing?  Not all that great yet according to one journalist blogger: “…. The question on everyone’s mind these days is whether the OMLTs (Operational Mentoring Liaison Teams) can mould the Afghans into an independent fighting force by the time Canada’s military withdraws from combat operations in a few months. Based on my two days on foot patrol with the OMLT (which hardly makes me an expert), the short answer to that question is no. The Afghan company I observed showed a capability to orchestrate simple security missions, though not without some problems. Capt. Eric Bouchard believes Afghans are now at a point where they can successfully conduct searches of compounds and fields for weapons. They are also fast at responding to Taliban activity. But as for more complicated missions, the Afghans seem to be lacking a level of sophistication ….”
  • Taliban Propaganda Watch Attacks, assassinations alleged in Kandahar.
  • February highlights of what Canada’s buying.
  • Defence research paper (PDF): Soldiers identified good-vs-bad guys better with Combat ID (CID) System than without (bot both CID systems were the  same re:  effectiveness)

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 25 Feb 11

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  • Whaddya do when you want to help Canadians GTFO Libya, but the insurance company won’t cover the charter plane you’ve hired go in? Send in the big honkin’ military plane instead! “Canada will send a military cargo plane to evacuate its citizens from Libya, where conditions are becoming more dangerous, Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon told reporters on Thursday. The announcement came hours after plans to send a chartered civilian airliner on Thursday to the Libyan capital Tripoli fell through over insurance concerns. Cannon said nearly 200 Canadians had been, or were about to be, evacuated from Libya on planes and ships arranged by other nations. Cannon, speaking to reporters in the Canadian embassy in Rome, said a C-17 military transport plane with 156 seats was on its way to Italy from Germany and would fly to Tripoli as soon as Libyan authorities have permission. He also said a charter plane from Amman would arrive in Tripoli in the early hours of Friday. So far, 213 Canadians have expressed a desire to leave Libya ….” About the bit in red, if this is correct, I really hope a politician is not going to take up a seat in any of the planes flying out of Libya.  To be fair, I’ve also found this for his being there:  “…. Cannon is in Italy to discuss the situation in Libya and the region with his Italian counterpart….” More from CBC.ca here.
  • Other ways outta Libya: “…. Canada’s governor general …. has agreed to keep his aircraft on standby for possible use; he is due to be in Kuwait on Friday. Italy has also offered to welcome any Canadians trapped in Benghazi aboard its navy ships that have authorization to approach Libyan shores, he said. It’s not clear if and when the Italian vessels might arrive ….”
  • Here’s more on how the military does this sort of thing if the effort is cranked up further.
  • At least one observer with Canadian military experience is saying something more needs to be done about Egypt.
  • A Liberal and a Tory senator lay out how Canada can help in Libya. “…. Support from the international community, and Canada especially, should be offered for building Libyan civil society and the national institutions neglected and denied during Gadhafi’s four-decade, one-man rule.  Although the Security Council has expressed “grave concern” and called on Libya “to meet its responsibility to protect its population,” its issuance of a press statement is insufficient to communicate the gravity of the situation that Libyans face -namely, the threat of mass atrocities. Time is literally of the essence …. But strong words must be paired with strong action. Canada and the international community must stand by the people of Libya who, like so many others throughout the Arab world, seek the basic human rights that should be enjoyed by all who desire them. Whereas the protests elsewhere have led to relatively peaceful transitions or to dialogues for reform, Libya’s rulers have chosen repression and slaughter …. We have seen the cost of inaction, delay and obfuscation on innocent populations elsewhere. The Responsibility to Protect is about the world engaging when a civilian population is under attack -either from its own government or because its government lacks the means or will to protect it. Libya is one of the clearest examples yet of just such a circumstance.  Canada has an opportunity to help build a coalition at the UN for rapid engagement. This needs to be a matter of hours and days, not weeks and months.”
  • More news on the latest in Libya here (Google News), here (EMM News Brief:  Libya),  here (NewsNow), here (BBC) and here (Al Jazeera English).
  • The leader of Canada’s last battle group in Afghanistan says his goal to establish a presence in every town and village in Kandahar’s Panjwaii district may not be attainable. Lt.-Col. Michel-Henri St-Louis said last month that it was his aim to be present in every Panjwaii community before Canada’s military mission ends in July. But St-Louis says that may have been overly optimistic. Still, he says the Canadian military and Afghan National Security Forces have eroded the insurgency’s freedom of movement in the violent district in recent weeks ….”
  • Taking a trick out of the Taliban’s play book to reassure Afghans. “The letter opens with a greeting seemingly ripped from a fairy tale: “Brothers and sisters, sleep soundly.” Beginning this week, Afghans in Kandahar province will wake up to those warm words posted on their front doors. The Canadian military is borrowing a Taliban tactic to counter the insurgency’s message, coming up with night letters of its own to be distributed in select communities in the Panjwaii district, where most of Canada’s battle group is based. The letter, written in Pashto, is an attempt to reassure locals that the Afghan National Security Forces are patrolling their villages at night. It also encourages them to report suspected insurgent activity, such as the planting of improvised explosive devices or stashing of weapons, and provides phone numbers where people can offer tips while maintaining their anonymity ….” More on the Taliban’s use of night letters here and here.
  • Poochie story o’ the week: “The Canadian Army has been employing sniffer dogs to detect mines and improvised explosive devices (IED) not only along routes, but also in buildings and vehicles. “We work with canine teams nearly every day, and the dogs form an integral part of our teams and sections,” explained Sergeant Alexandre Murgia, commander of a combat-engineer section of the 1st Battalion Royal 22e Régiment Battle Group (1 R22eR BG) ….”
  • 23 Feb 11: The head of Canada’s public service gives a Twitter atta boy to civil servants working in Afghanistan. 11 Jan 11: The date of the speech by the head of Canada’s public service in Afghanistan, giving them an atta boy about working in Afghanistan. The good news: good to see government using social media. The bad news: a bit more immediacy (something less than 6 weeks) would keep this sort of thing more timely.
  • Oopsie…. “The cost to refit one of Canada’s trouble-plagued submarines is skyrocketing, according to documents obtained under an access to information request by CBC News. In the year 2010 alone, the Canadian navy spent $45 million on repairs to HMCS Windsor. It had budgeted to spend just $17 million, the documents show. It appears that every system on the British-built submarine has major problems, according to the documents, including bad welds in the hull, broken torpedo tubes, a faulty rudder and tiles on the side of the sub that continually fall off ….” Broken record:  any links to the access to information documents obtained?  Nope (again).
  • Tracking down the identity of REALLY “old” soldiers. “The Honourable Laurie Hawn, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, announced today that Department of National Defence has identified the remains of a First World War soldier found in Avion, France, in 2003, as those of Private Thomas Lawless of Calgary, Alberta …. In October 2003, two sets of human remains were found at a construction site south of Avion, France, in the vicinity of Vimy Ridge. Over a period of six years, the Casualty Identification section of the Directorate of History and Heritage, sought the identity of the soldiers …. The first soldier was identified, in February 2007, as Private Herbert Peterson of Berry Creek, Alberta. Through continued genetic testing using inherited genetic material through the maternal line (mitochondrial DNA), osteology, facial reconstruction, military history and finally, stable isotopes – the second soldier was identified as Private Thomas Lawless on January 10, 2011. Veterans Affairs Canada has made contact with the members of Private Lawless’ family and will provide on-going support to the family as arrangements are made and carried out for the final interment ….” More on how this sort of thing is done.
  • Taliban Propaganda Watch Attacks alleged in Kandahar, and the Taliban like what the Washington Post has to say.

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 31 Jan 11

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  • Prayers for the troops“A military vigil held Sunday at Thunder Bay’s First Baptist Church had people praying for the families of troops deployed all over the world.  Organized by the Military Christian Fellowship of Canada and the National House of Prayer, vigils were held across Canada last week to pray for various Canadian military-related goals, such as peace to come quickly for people in Afghanistan.  They were non-denominational and non-political discussions and prayers for the Canadian military ….”
  • Having a big honkin’ plane in the inventory is apparently helping Canada deal with not having a staging base in the UAE anymore.  “The lights of ultramodern Dubai dazzle below and Canada’s former logistics base, Camp Mirage, can be seen in the distance, as the Canadian air force C-17 Globemaster transport flies over the tiny emirate on a circuitous journey from Kandahar to its new hub at a U.S. airbase in Germany. Despite having been banned from landing in the sheikdom last November because of a high-profile dispute between the two countries over commercial air-traffic rights, several Canadian flights a week still pass through U.A.E. air space for about 20 minutes. The military insists that losing access to Mirage has had no effect on the 12,000-kilometre air bridge between Canada and southern Afghanistan. Nor, they said, will it delay plans to bring home about 3,500 troops and thousands of tons of combat gear later this year in what is being described as by far the biggest airlift in Canadian history ….”
  • Let the evacuation out of the madness that is Egypt these days begin! “The federal government will start to fly Canadians out of Egypt, perhaps as early as Monday, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said Sunday. Egypt is in turmoil, with demonstrators in the streets demanding longtime President Hosni Mubarak step down, but the protests Sunday were peaceful. “The situation is deteriorating,” Cannon said to explain why the government had launched the evacuation plan. “The situation is not under control.” People who take the flights to London, Paris or Frankfurt will have to pay for their tickets, he said ….”
  • Meanwhile, Leader-No-Longer-of-Tunisia’s brother-in-law is seeking refugee status here in Canada. “The brother-in-law of Tunisia’s deposed dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali has claimed refugee status in Canada, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon says. The Canadian government has said Trabelsi is not welcome. But Cannon said Trabelsi has a right to seek refugee status under the law. To be granted asylum, Trabelsi would have to prove he needs to stay in the country in order to avoid persecution in Tunisia ….”
  • Of COURSE she does… “The wife of an Edmonton man wanted in the United States on terrorism charges says her husband is not a terrorist, describing him as a “kind, generous” man. In a written statement distributed to the media by her lawyer on Sunday, Cara Rain said her husband Sayfildin Tahir Sharif is a hard-working man, as well as “a loving and kind and affectionate father.” Sharif, 38, was arrested in Edmonton earlier this month and charged based on wiretaps and search warrants gathered in Canada. The FBI has accused Sharif of playing a role in an Iraq suicide bombing that killed five American soldiers in April 2009. In her statement, Rain said Sharif is “a loving father to children that aren’t his,” saying he opened his heart to her family ….”
  • F-35 Tug of War Update: “The Canadian military does not have the ability to conduct aerial refuelling of the F-35 fighter jet it wants to purchase and is now looking at ways to get around the problem, the Ottawa Citizen has learned. Options range from paying for modifications to the stealth jets to purchasing a new fleet of tanker aircraft that can gas up the high-tech fighters in mid-air. That option could cost several hundred million dollars, depending on how many new tankers are needed, according to sources. In addition, because the F-35 would not be able to safely land on runways in Canada’s North as those are too short for the fighter, the Defence Department is also looking at having manufacturer Lockheed Martin install a “drag” chute on the plane ….”
  • The Chief Warrant Officer for Canada’s military has a new Facebook page.  The good news:  great to see someone this senior embrace the interwebs to increase back and forth.  The bad news:  Let’s hope someone helps a bit with punctuation.