OC C Sqn Update May 2009
Major J.L. Cochrane
1 June 2009
Well, we are two plus months into the tour, I know it is hard to believe but it is true. We have settled into an unpredictable routine of maintenance, operations, operations, and maintenance and it is non-stop which certainly helps the time to go by quickly. Hopefully things at home for all of you have started to do the same.
The HLTA plan has kicked in and our first personnel left early in the month and believe it or not some are already back. This routine goes on for the duration of the tour and I know that everyone is looking forward to their well deserved break, whether it is at home with family and friends, or taking advantage of a trip to some exotic location.
We have had a few visitors over the course of the month, one visit of which was comprised of the Chief of Land Staff (CLS) Lieutenant General Andrew Leslie; Army Chief Warrant Officer W.A. Ford; Deputy Minister of Defence Mr. Fonberg; Deputy Minister of Public Works, Mr Guimont; and Commander Land Forces Doctrine and Training Systems (Commander LFDTS) Major-General J.M.M. Hainse. The visit was a great success with all members of the Forward Operating Base (FOB) putting their best foot forward and showing off their skill sets and dedication to the mission. There were many highlights of the visit but several that come to mind:
-The CLS driving around in one of the Gators marked Mayor with Sgt Connauton;
-The VViP Party visiting a local school that is open and has children attending;
-Troopers Courneyea and Rogers showing off and discussing their tank that struck an IED on a recent operation;
-the CLS, an avid Edmonton Oilers Fan, taking the time to have a photo with the Squadron and a great deal of Oilers paraphernalia; and lastly
-The CLS promoting Troopers Lanthier, Lajoie, and Macaulay to Trooper (T). Oh yeah he also promoted Trooper Tonn as well but that was later because our young Trooper went AWOL on the promotion parade! Actually he was on Camp Security “defending the FOB” as the CLS said promoting him just prior to departing.
Congratulations to all of the promotions and the FOB for the effort and pride that was demonstrated by all in giving a true representation of what life in the FOB is like and the successes that are being achieved.
One other visit that team that was quite high profile was that of the Minister of National Defence, Peter McKay; and the Minister of Veterans Affairs, Greg Thompson. It was a productive visit and both gentlemen took away a great deal of information. In addition they actually got the opportunity to look at the ground first hand as we took them on a short patrol to another FOB that they were visiting. I found both of the Ministers and their entire team to be very interested in what we had to say and they interacted well with all our soldiers – it was a pleasure to have them all.
On a more sombre note I need to pass my best wishes to four soldiers from the Regiment (three from the Squadron) who had to return to Canada. Three of these were due to injuries sustain in theatre and one personal reasons. I am not permitted to mention them by name, but our thoughts and prayers are with you all. You are and your families are still members of this Squadron and if there is anything we can do to assist you, please do not hesitate to ask. I am fully confident that the Regiment back in Edmonton is taking all steps to keep you informed and assist where possible.
The Squadron will continue to put articles on to the webpage and each Monday in the Edmonton Journal. I also encourage you to contact the Mission Information Hotline where you will hear messages from the troops in Afghanistan that will be updated at least weekly. The number is 1-800-866-4546 when the initial greeting is given you will need to dial 1-1221 for English and 1-2221 for French.