Strathconas in Iraq
By Lt Robert Haddow
The reality of operations in Iraq is that they are, by their very nature, multinational. Each base is composed of small contingents from the nations of the coalition, each dependant on the others for success. Watching American ground crew unloading Spanish cargo from a Canadian aircraft demonstrated this to me less than a week after arriving in Iraq. Al Asad Air Base is located in Al Anbar Province. It is one of the largest and most remote coalition bases in Iraq. The Coalition here is made up of seven countries, with each nation generating task forces with a specific objective such as base defence, rotary lift, or Explosive Ordinance Disposal. Only by integrating beyond the wildest dreams of the NATO planners of the Cold War can the task forces come together to complete the overarching mission.
I am far from the only Strathcona in Iraq, however. From supporting sustainment for the Coalition at large to training and advising the Iraqi central military command, the Strathcona’s deployed here are making a difference through a wide variety of missions. A strong contingent lead by Maj Bryce Simpson and Warrant Officer Matt Williams is based in Kuwait but frequently travels to Iraq. They work with Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR). CJTF-OIR works to combat ISIS across the whole Levant region. Sgt Adrian Droogers is currently also employed in Iraq, with the critical NATO Mission Iraq (NMI). NMI works to build the capacity of the Iraqi military to maintain security in Iraq. There are Strathconas representing the Regiment all over the Middle East, and Iraq is no exception. The work that they are doing is vital to combating terror and building security in the region.