Monday, April 30, 2007

Happy 104th Birthday 2CER!

Canadian Engineer’s 104th Birthday Celebrations

May 11 - 12th 2007
CFB Petawawa

All members of the CFB Petawawa Military Engineer Family are welcome to
come out to celebrate and welcome home the engineers of JTF Afghanistan Roto 2.

Friday 11 May 2007

0900 hrs - Parade & Dedication Ceremony 2 CER, NREP
Seated by 0845 Dress: Service Dress 1A
1900 hrs Offr/SNCO Mixed Dining In - Normandy
for 1930 Dress: Mess Dress/Formal Officers Mess
(by invitation only)

Saturday 12 May 2007

0900 Golf Tournament - Twin Rivers
1000 Volksmarch - Mattawa Camp
1200 Family Day / BBQ - Mattawa Camp
1900 Relaxed Party - Bldg Y-101

Come out and help join in the celebrations!

Wear Red Event! June 3rd!

Support Our Troops- We Wear Red Event
Petawawa will be hosting a Wear Red Event
scheduled for Sunday, June 3rd.
Red t-shirts, yellow ribbons, car magnets are very prevelant. From cashiers to visitors, many people can be spotted wearing red in Petawawa each Friday... all as a visible show of support for Canadian Forces Personnel and their families.Royal Canadian Legion Branch 517 Petawawa Entertainment Chair Pat Oland would now like to see people literally come together to celebrate those who serve, and promote an organization whose mission it is "to serve veterans and their dependents,to promote remembrance, and to act in the service of Canada and its communities."

On June 3 from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.,

ten bands-- Freddy Vette & the Flames, The Legacy, Ghost Town Cryers, the Threshers, Mick Armitage Band, Common Ground, De'Mos, Quicksand, Memphis Mafia, and Split Decision

--will take the stage on the arena floor at the Petawawa Civic Centre for a "Support Our Troops - We Wear Red" event, a family-oriented day of music, entertainment, and activities including a pie eating contest, dunk tank, and games for the kids. "It's an event where the community can get together in one place to show their support," said Oland, who has organized the event with
help from a small committee, "and it's also a good opportunity to promote membership to the Legion, not just our Legion but any Legion," she said. Oland has written letters of invitation
to 36 other Legions, and has encouraged communities to organize transportation to and from the event. "We're seeing a new generation of war veterans ... and if we educate people and bring in new members, it will put the Legion in a good position to help veterans of all ages."
"Support Our Troops - We Wear Red" is a free event, made possible through support from businesses, the Town of Petawawa Parks and Recreation Department, Civic Centre Fundraising
Inc. committee who agreed to contribute bar proceeds, the town and numerous other organizations. All ten bands have also donated their time. "If the money we raise for the event exceeds what we need to put it on, the rest will be donated," said Oland. "The event itself is
more about showing our support as a community, and raising awareness of what the Legion does, than raising funds.
"It's about all our soldiers do in their communities and around the world, and all Legions do for those who need assistance." Free-will donations to support the Legion will be accepted on site throughout the day. For more information on the "Support Our Troops - We Wear Red" event, call 613-687-4657. The Legion is a non-profit, dues-supported fraternal organization with approximately 1,600 branches in Canada, the United States, Germany and the Netherlands.
The Legion receives no financial assistance from any outside agency. Membership is open to all Canadian citizens and Commonwealth subjects who subscribe to the purposes and objectives of the organization. The purposes and objectives of the Legion were born of the need to further the
spirit of comradeship and mutual assistance among all who have served, and never forget
the deeds of the fallen. In addition to acting as a veterans' advocacy agency, and assisting veterans and ex-service members in need and their families, the Legion also contributes
to programs for seniors, youth scholarships and bursaries, sports programs and activities.

Perhaps, we could charter a bus from the Baseball Game on the Saturday to Petawawa for Sunday! Now that's spirit! ... don't forget to wear your red!

Support Your Team, Support Your Country

Military Appreciation Day!
Our own Toronto Blue Jays will be honouring our troops
June 2nd 2007
1:07 pm
With Military Appreciation Day!

A big HUA for our Blue Jays!

Get your tickets before they are all sold out.
(Oh yes, they are playing the Chicago White Sox)

Support our Team.. Support our Troops!

It's Here... Up and Running!

CFB Petawawa Web Site is Announced!

Though it is currently in its infancy with some content still missing (filled in with coming soon pages), the CFB Petawawa Website is it is fully functional.

Over the next few days they will be compiling a multitude of data for implementation, tying up the odds and ends of the site. If you encounter any problems while viewing the site or have any feedback to offer, please don’t hesitate to contact them as they are fully open to suggestions and constructive criticism, as this is your site too.
Additionally, any links you could provide that may be relevant to one of their three link sections would be greatly appreciated. A French version should also be available shortly.

CFB Petawawa had lost its internet presence over the last year, and as they are an important part of this country, they need to reinstate that presence and in time it will become a thriving military and community resource.

You can visit the new site:

or at the old address:

Don't forget to bookmark it! ... and...Happy Browsing!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Anybody Seen My Coffee?

April 21st, 2007
Kandahar Air Field

Today was the launched date for Tim Hortons to bring out the newly designed Tim Hortons desert pattern cups for a special Roll Up The Rim in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
There are 5 grand prizes of $1000.00 (US) along with digital cameras, gift certificates, Tim Hortons hats, coffee and donuts. Can we send some out to the guys in the field?

Troops, get ready to roll up that rim and win!



Uxbridge showed its support for our troops by turning Main Street and Elgin Park into a Sea of Red as the crowd donned red t-shirts and participated in a parade, drum head service songs and more.
On Saturday April 21, 2007 the Town of Uxbridge Ontario, held a mass rally in support of our troops. Organizer Dave Thibodeau began by taping messages of support from local service groups, the idea caught fire, and grew
A video was created as a contribution to this outpouring of support, to be sent to Kandahar and all the deployment bases in Canada, to show our troops that we support them
Some of the participants in the Parade were the Uxbridge Legion Pipes and Drums, the Uxbridge Cadets, neighbouring Legion pipe bands, the Durham EMS, along with Army Jeeps and 'G'-Wagons.
Thousands donned red t-shirts and participated in a parade, drum-head service, songs and more. The military sent a helicopter, a C-130, and Canada's Top Gun Captain, Steven Neirlich, in a CF-18 Hornet from CFB Bagotville.

Featured acts at the fair Grounds after the parade included One Voice Choir, The Retrofits, Town Crier Bill McKee and a Comedian with John Cavers acting as MC. A 130 Hercules transport did a fly over along with a CF 18 Hornet from CFB Bagotville piloted by Captain Steven Neirlich who was born and raised locally and a CH 146 Griffin tactical helicopter from CFB Borden flew over during the parade.
Other communities also joined this emotionally moving demonstration. The message is clear. We support those who have put themselves in harms way, for the good of others.

Unlike many countries our forces are not conscripts. Members of the Canadian Forces are not drafted or conscripted, they voluntarily sign on knowing that they will continually be putting their lives on the line for us and others in this global community in which we live.
In addition to standing on guard for the hard fought for freedoms we enjoy in this country today our Armed Forces have always played a key role in helping to maintain peace around the Globe. While few would say that they support war or strife it is only appropriate that we all support those who strive to minimize the impact it has on our lives, our land and throughout the world

To view the video, click on: (thank you to our reader in the comments section)

Thank you Sapper Mike McTeague for all you have done for us.. you have given us great inspiration. Proud of you!! Thank you, from Military Mom

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Our Thoughts and Prayers are With Them

Canadian Soldier Dies in Accidental Fall in Afghanistan
Thursday, April 19, 2007
MAYWAND, Afghanistan — Another Canadian soldier has died in Afghanistan, this time the victim of an accidental fall in Kandahar.
Canadian military officials in Kandahar said the special forces soldier died Wednesday after falling from a communications tower during what they described as being a routine operation.
“I believe this was a routine activity that was underway, it was not operationally related,” Canadian military Col. Mike Cessford, deputy commander of Task Force Afghanistan told Global National. “It was simply and unfortunately an accident.”
Wednesday’s death brings the total number of Canadian casualties in Afghanistan to 54 soldiers and one diplomat.
Col. Cessford said that though other members of the special forces have been injured, the unidentified soldier is the first on the elite team to be killed while on duty in the country.
“This accident took place within the area of Kandahar City, but clearly for the reason of operational security, I cannot go over the exact location,” he said.
The next of kin has been notified, Col. Cessford said, but the soldier’s name has been withheld at the request of the family.
On Thursday morning, forces spokesman Capt. Martell Thompson said the military “understands and appreciates the public’s desire to know more details about any tragic events that have occurred” but said there are “unique security sensitivities” surrounding the special forces and their operations.
Capt. Thompson went on to explain the release of information relating to the special forces could potentially compromise either the operation in Afghanistan or national security in general.
That in mind, Capt. Thompson did say an investigation has been launched to determine what exactly led to the accident.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Bless Them All

Two more soldiers die in Afghanistan
Three convoys attacked

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - Two Canadian soldiers died in Afghanistan yesterday and three others were injured in a day that saw three separate attacks on convoys of Canadian armoured vehicles.
The deaths, which come less than a day after a ramp ceremony for six other fallen soldiers, bring the number of Canadians killed on the battlefield since Sunday to eight -- the most ever in a week since Canada's mission in Afghanistan began in 2002.
It pushes the total number of Canadian soldiers who have been killed here to 53.
"As you can appreciate, our thoughts, again, are with the families of the soldiers we have lost," Colonel Mike Cessford, deputy commander of Task Force Afghanistan, said from the NATO base in Kandahar late last night. "It is hard to put into words what they must be feeling at this time of sorrow."
The two Canadians who died yesterday did so after their vehicle hit an explosive device that was planted underneath a road in an area about 38 kilometres west of Kandahar City.
Unconfirmed reports named the slain soldiers as Master Corporal Allan Stewart, 30, and Trooper Patrick James Pentland, 23. Both men were stationed at CFB Petawawa.
Blackhawk helicopters brought the two bodies back to Kandahar Airfield along with two of the wounded soon after the blast.
One of those injured soldiers was carried into the base hospital on a stretcher, while the other -- still dazed by the blast -- staggered into the hospital with the help of two military medics.
Of those two wounded soldiers, one sustained minor injuries while a second was seriously hurt and will soon be taken to the U.S. military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany.
Col. Cessford said the fatal blast took place around 8 p.m. and that it happened about 800 metres from an earlier, similar attack against another convoy of Canadian soldiers.
That earlier incident, which Col. Cessford called "unrelated" to the second, took place at about 6 p.m., he said, noting a Canadian armoured vehicle hit another bomb planted in the road at that time. The shrapnel from that explosion left one soldier in a trailing vehicle with minor injuries.
The two blasts follow yet another attack on Canadian soldiers yesterday, one that happened at about 1:30 p.m.
In that third attack, a suicide bomber driving a taxi set off a large explosion next to a convoy of Canadian vehicles.
The blast blew out the front window of a nearby water truck and sent pieces of the taxi flying close to nine metres, witnesses said.
No soldiers were injured in that attack, which happened in a western district of Kandahar City, though Kandahar's health director said 10 Afghan civilians were injured.
Military spokesman Lieutenant John Nethercott said yesterday afternoon the explosion caused minor damage to a Canadian LAV III, but added all the vehicles in the convoy were able to keep driving and to leave the scene.
Taj Muhammed, a 25-year-old day labourer who was injured, witnessed the explosion.
He said he was on his way to Helmand province to harvest poppies when the explosion went off. He explained that he had pulled his car to the side of the road at the time because a Canadian convoy was about to pass.
"Suddenly I heard an explosion," he said from his hospital bed, where he was being treated for burns.
"After the explosion fire spread all around us," he added. "I lost consciousness and when I opened my eyes I found myself at the Mirwais Hospital."
Yesterday's string of attacks took place less than three days after yet another IED strike where six Canadian soldiers died in a blast about 75 kilometers west of Kandahar City. Corporal Brent Poland, Sergeant Donald Lucas, Corporal Aaron E. Williams, Private Kevin Vincent Kennedy, Private David Robert Greenslade and Corporal Christopher Paul Stannix all died in that blast, and were given a final farewell at a ramp ceremony on the Kandahar Airfield on Tuesday night.

Monday, April 09, 2007

DND Press Release April 9-07

Press Release
April 9, 2007

Statement by the Minister of National Defence on the Deaths of Six Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan

OTTAWA, ONTARIO- The Honourable Gordon O'Connor, Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement today on the deaths of six Canadian soldiers:"It is with the utmost sorrow that I extend my condolences, and those of all Canadians, to the families and friends of Sergeant Donald Lucas, Corporal Brent D. Poland, Corporal Christopher Paul Stannix, Corporal Aaron E. Williams, Private David Robert Greenslade, and Private Kevin Vincent Kennedy.Those who fell will be deeply missed by the Canadian Forces family. The dedication and bravery of these soldiers will be forever remembered. I also extend my wishes for a speedy recovery to those injured in the attack.Our troops have a clear mission - to build security and stability in Afghanistan. And it is because our soldiers are succeeding in this mission that they came under attack.It is in Canada's national interest that the people of Afghanistan regain control of their own destiny - to ensure their country never again becomes a launching pad for global terrorism. There can be no doubt that the desperate terrorists who carried out yesterday's attack want to return a murderous regime to power.On both sides of the Atlantic yesterday, Canadians paid their respects for the soldiers who fought in the Great War. These six soldiers who gave their lives carry on the valiant tradition of putting country before self."

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Homecoming "News"

As you know, I have been away on an ongoing family emergency. Exhausted (mentally and physically) I returned home to hear that a reporter had called my home and left a message for me. (I'm not devulging names nor name of the paper or station this person had called from) What was the message you ask? "We wondered if you son was still in Afghanistan. The reason we called was that there were 6 soldiers killed and we wondered if you son was alright ?" I was and still am floored! (this call came before it was broadcast on the news stations) This is the third time this happened. The first time was after the friendly fire in September.. and then the second was during Operation Medusa. .. and now today.

Some media personnel (and I'm not saying all.. many are highly professional) have got to exercise sensitivity when speaking to our military families.Sometimes we don't know.. and what a terrible way to find out! I can only imagine the mother's (father's, sister's, family member's) reaction whose son is currently serving overseas and gets a phone call like this.. this family is still waiting to hear from their son or daughter or has just received or is waiting to receive confirmation. I want to reach out and give a big hug to military families of soldiers currently deployed overseas.
My heart goes out to all those families... but today, especially to the families of our fallen and injured soldiers - my heart goes out to you in thought and prayer as I stand by you through this tragic time.
Military Mom

Six Canadian Soldiers Killed, Two Injured Today


Department of National Defence

April 8, 2007

DND: Six Canadian Soldiers Killed, Two Injured in Afghanistan

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--- Six Canadian soldiers were killed and two of their comrades were injured today in Afghanistan after a roadside bomb exploded near their vehicle. The incident occurred at approximately 13:30 hrs Kandahar time, west of Kandahar City. Four soldiers were evacuated by helicopter to the Canadian-led multinational hospital at Kandahar Airfield for further medical assessment. One soldier suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries from the blast and will likely be transferred to the U.S. military facility at Landstuhl, Germany. Another soldier who only received minor injuries was released from the hospital along with the other two who had not suffered any physical injuries.The names of the casualties are being withheld pending the notification of families.Though very saddened by the news several of their comrades have fallen in the line of duty, Canadian troops in Afghanistan remain staunchly committed to the critical mission of helping the Afghan people achieve peace and stability and rebuild their country and institutions.

Six Canadian Soldiers Killed, Two Injured Today


Department of National Defence

April 8, 2007

DND: Six Canadian Soldiers Killed, Two Injured in Afghanistan

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--- Six Canadian soldiers were killed and two of their comrades were injured today in Afghanistan after a roadside bomb exploded near their vehicle. The incident occurred at approximately 13:30 hrs Kandahar time, west of Kandahar City. Four soldiers were evacuated by helicopter to the Canadian-led multinational hospital at Kandahar Airfield for further medical assessment. One soldier suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries from the blast and will likely be transferred to the U.S. military facility at Landstuhl, Germany. Another soldier who only received minor injuries was released from the hospital along with the other two who had not suffered any physical injuries.The names of the casualties are being withheld pending the notification of families.Though very saddened by the news several of their comrades have fallen in the line of duty, Canadian troops in Afghanistan remain staunchly committed to the critical mission of helping the Afghan people achieve peace and stability and rebuild their country and institutions.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Unfortunately, due to a family emergency I will be unavailable to update my blog for a few days. Read through and catch up as I had posted a few articles this past week.

I'll chat with you when I return. If you'd like, you can chat to each other through my comment section...if you'd like. I'll leave it open for you.

Take care military families and friends, we'll talk soon,

Keep up the support for our troops!

Military Mom ox

DND Announces Construction of Facility in St John's

Minister O'Connor Announces Plans to
Construct a New Multi-Purpose Facility in St. John's

ST. JOHN'S, NEWFOUNDLAND and LABRADOR--(CCNMatthews - April 4, 2007) - The Honourable Gordon O'Connor, Minister of National Defence, joined the Honourable Loyola Hearn, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister responsible for Newfoundland and Labrador at the Canadian Forces Station (CFS) St. John's to announce that a new multi-purpose facility will be constructed at Pleasantville in St. John's, replacing the current 16 military facilities located across Pleasantville.Through a planned federal investment of $101 million, this new multi-purpose facility will replace facilities built 60 years ago which are increasingly costly to maintain. The facility is intended to be built over the next few years, and will comprise of operational training space, offices and classrooms, special medical and dental facilities, and warehouse space.The consolidation will not change the role or functions of the 711 Canadian Forces (CF) members and Department of National Defence (DND) employees working at CFS St. John's or its lodger units."Canada's New Government is proud to announce a project that is long overdue for the Canadian Forces Station St. John's. The current facilities in St. John's are aging, widely dispersed and simply incapable of meeting the current and future requirements of this region," said Minister O'Connor. "Once complete, this new multi-purpose facility will enable the Canadian Forces to consolidate these units in a modern, multi-purpose facility that will better support operations. This is good news for the Canadian Forces and the City of St. John's.""This is a major economic benefit for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and is a sign of the Government of Canada's commitment to maintaining a vital military presence in the region," said Minister Hearn. "Investing in the new facility for CF members and DND employees at Pleasantville will generate significant employment and provide a major boost to the local economy."In the coming months, DND and Defence Construction Canada will develop an open, fair and transparent competitive process in order to initiate the construction of the new facility.There has been a military presence in Pleasantville since World War I. As per recent agreements, the Department has been leasing the land from a The Canada Lands Company, which purchased the site from Public Works and Government Services of Canada in 2006.

Afghanistan- Information Session in Cambridge, ON

An information session sponsored by:
“Families of Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan”

- Afghanistan -
Canada’s Mission in Perspective

Outlining the progress in:

· Health
· Education
· Social Development
· Security

Hear how Canada is making a difference by contributing to the economic stability and self-sufficiency of this nation.

Guest Speaker: Lieutenant Commander Albert Wong

Will be at:

Royal Canadian Legion Preston Branch 126
334 Westminster Drive North,
Wednesday, April 11th, 2007
7:30pm-9:30 pm

EMCEE: Jeff Allen of 570 News

Open to the public - Free of charge - Only 250 seats available!

And Now the Taliban Plant the Mines...

An 11 year old boy recounts how his leg was blown off above the knee.
Photo Credit: AP
Land Mine Accidents Drop in Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan- At a lecture on dangers of land mines, the schoolchildren listened in horror as a guest speaker recounted how his left leg was blown off above the knee. It was three years ago, 11-year-old Massoud said, and he had been playing with a kite near his home.
"When I arrived over the top of the hill, suddenly a bomb exploded," the sweet-faced boy said. "No one would come near me because they were afraid another mine would explode. Then I crawled out of the mined area."
After a quarter century of war, Afghanistan is still littered with millions of land mines and other unexploded ordnance, and more mines are being planted in regions of the south where a Taliban-led guerrilla war against NATO forces has been escalating.
Yet as Afghanistan marks International Mine Awareness Day Wednesday, there is some cause for optimism. Accident rates have declined dramatically, thanks to the imaginative and culturally sensitive efforts of organizations such as OMAR—a mine-clearing NGO that recruited Massoud for the recent lesson in a Kabul mosque.
His audience, a classroom full of boys about his age, listened, their mouths agape. Their wide eyes moved from his face to the artificial leg under his gray tunic.
Massoud, who like many Afghans uses only one name, is one of nearly 800 people maimed and killed by the debris of war in Afghanistan every year. That's less than half the number five
years ago, when the country was embarking on reconstruction after the fall of the Taliban, the Islamic movement routed by the U.S. and its Afghan allies for hosting Osama bin Laden.
While nothing conveys the danger of land mines quite like a personal account, Massoud's macabre show-and-tell was just one small moment in a campaign that owes much of its success to its sensitivity to conservative Islam.
The U.N. has been demining Afghanistan since 1989, spending an estimated $300 million. It now believes it has cleared more than 60 percent of land sown with mines since the Soviet invasion in 1979. But as many as 4.2 million Afghans still live in suspected mined areas, according to U.N. statistics.
To teach the dangers, educators must tiptoe through a dizzying list of no-no's in a society hypersensitive about portraying even modestly dressed women and girls. In some conservative parts of the country, just photos of human forms and video, which were forbidden by the Taliban during their repressive rule, are also frowned upon.
"Some people object to seeing girls in any of our materials. They don't object to boys, but they do object to girls," said Susan Helseth, an adviser for the U.N. Mine Action Center for Afghanistan who oversees the development of education materials.
The Association for Aid and Relief, Japan (AAR-Japan) had to redo a mine awareness booklet whose cover showed a girl and boy sitting together in a class. An Afghan review committee said children of that age should be segregated by sex, so it was reprinted with boys and girls on separate pages.
AAR-Japan also uses two mobile cinemas run on generators to show villagers an 8-minute mine awareness video called "The Way to Home"—but not in the south, where conservative Muslims reject the idea of screening movies, said the group's director Koji Miyazaki.
He said there is also concern that the actress in the film, Marina Golbahari, may cause anger in former Taliban strongholds because of her role in the award-winning 2003 movie "Osama." The movie portrayed some Taliban as misogynistic pedophiles.
The communications firm Sayara, which works with the aid organization Handicap International, uses mobile theater to get its message across, although without any female characters.
The firm's director Antoine Heudre said it was a good way to reach illiterate people, particularly in villages that lack electricity to run televisions. Some 86 percent of women and 56 percent of men in Afghanistan cannot read.
Despite the many cultural and educational challenges, the mine awareness message, combined with the efforts of deminers, appears to be working. According to the international Red Cross, there were 771 victims of mine and ordnance accidents in 2006—down from 1,717 victims in 2002.
In all, mines and unexploded ordnance have killed at least 942 people and injured 4,543 in the past five years. Most of the victims are male.
Over the years, simple color-coded messages have been painted on rocks, houses and mountains around the country by deminers: red for danger, white for a cleared area. Also, mine risk educators use painted diagrams to warn children about land mines, cluster bombs and other explosives.
Despite such powerful education efforts, continued land mine accidents appear inevitable. Nearly 90 percent of accidents happen in unmarked areas, and it would take decades to clear Afghanistan entirely—and that is without factoring in the leftovers of ongoing violence.
Mullah Mahmood, a Taliban commander in the southern province of Helmand, told The Associated Press that militants have planted new land mines as part of their armed campaign against heavily armed NATO forces.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Harper at Legion in Kitchener Today!

Surprise Press Conference At Kitchener Legion

Prime Minister Harper addresses Canadian Veterans

Harper Government Delivers

Veterans' Bill Of Rights

The Polish Legion on Wellington Street Kitchener was packed with veterans bearing their medals of honour. A reminder of battles fought, comrades lost, and to some, years of living with disabilities without adequate financial resources and meaningful, effective representation.
Today Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s announced that Canada’s New Government is following through on its commitment to create a Veterans’ Bill of Rights and a Veterans’’ Ombudsman. The announcement should mean that Veterans past present and future will be treated with respect and not end up the forgotten ones when the fighting stops.
“The brave men and women of the Canadian Forces and RCMP have always acted courageously when called upon; and it’s because Veterans have always been willing to stand up for our country and its interests, Canada’s New Government is standing by them now,” said the Prime Minister.
The Bill of Rights will take effect immediately; will strengthen the government’s ability to respond quickly and fairly, to the concerns of Canada’s Veterans. It is a clear and concise statement that will allow Veterans Affairs to continue to ensure every Canadian veteran is treated with respect, with dignity and with fairness.
The Ombudsman, whom is yet to be chosen, will operate at arms-length from the government, and will play an important role in raising the awareness of the needs and concerns of Veterans. The Ombudsman will submit a report to the Minister on an annual basis, which will be tabled in Parliament.
“Our Veterans have given their very best to Canada,” said Prime Minister Harper. “Through the Veterans’ Bill of Rights and Veterans’ Ombudsman, our government is taking yet another step to ensure that Canada does its very best for the,” he said in closing.
A symbolic presentation was then made by the Prime Minister and Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson to a local Veteran.

Note: Unfortunately, PM Harper did not define Veteran in his speech. Who is he referring to? We can assume it is all Veterans - from WWI to present soldiers returning from Afghanistan, but we need to know.

What Happens With the Worn Out LAVs?

Canadian Army Accelerating Rebuilding
of Worn Out LAV-3 Armoured Vehicles

Canadian mechanized troops aboard a
LAV-3 armoured vehicle in this file photo
in Kabul, Afghanistan.
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (CP) - The Canadian army is accelerating the rebuilding of LAV-3 (Light Armoured Vehicles) armoured vehicles that are worn out or damaged from service in Afghanistan.
Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie said the light armoured vehicles are cycled through a repair plant in Edmonton. Leslie said within eight months, most of Canada's LAV fleet in Afghanistan will be sent through the rebuilding facility.
When worn out vehicles are sent back to Canada for repair, they are replaced by fresh LAVs.
Canada bought about 700 LAV-3s a few years ago, but the military won't say how many are in Afghanistan now.
Leslie said Canada expects to continue using its LAV-3 fleet for up to 20 years.

Gordon O'Connor Speaks in Montreal

Canada in for the long haul in Afghanistan
Afghanistan is a "success story" and Canada will have a presence in the country until the progress made cannot be reversed by Taliban extremists, Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor said Tuesday.
"Afghanistan is improving," O'Connor told reporters in Montreal after a luncheon speech. "There are 37 countries in there. There's a lot of aid and a lot of effort going in to build that country up."
In his speech, sponsored by the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations, O'Connor said Canada is making a major contribution to the international effort to restore peace and stability in Afghanistan.
"It is because of the continuing threat posed by these extremists that the Canadian Forces remain a vital part of this mission," he said.
"This government will support the mission — by our words and by our actions — until the progress in Afghanistan becomes irreversible."
Asked by reporters later to explain exactly how long Canada will stay in Afghanistan, O'Connor said Canada has pledged support over the next two to five years in the form of both troops and development aid.
He said Canada has committed itself to having troops in the country until February 2009 and to contributing millions in assistance through the Canadian International Development Agency until 2011.
"We'll watch this year the progress," he said.
O'Connor added the government will make a decision next year whether the Afghan mission needs to be extended beyond its existing mandate.
Afghanistan, he said, should not be mixed up with Iraq.
"Afghanistan is a success story," he said. "This is a democracy and we are helping to support the government."
Partial return to normalcy
The defence minister said in his speech that, judging from a recent trip to Afghanistan, life is returning to normal in some areas.
"This time, villages appeared more active. Life is returning to places that seemed deserted before," he said.
But he cautioned that the Taliban is trying to sabotage any progress made and that is why Canada needs to continue to have a presence in the country.
A handful of anti-war protesters interrupted his speech at a hotel at one point, but police quickly ushered the small group out.
Outside, several more protesters demanded Canada withdraw its troops from Afghanistan.
Canada has more than 2,000 soldiers stationed in Afghanistan, with the majority in the southern province of Kandahar. Forty-five Canadian soldiers have died in Afghanistan since Canada sent troops to the troubled country in early 2002.
Canada has committed close to $1 billion in aid to Afghanistan over 10 years ending in 2011.
The federal government says, at the end of the 2006-2007 fiscal year, Canada will have invested nearly $600 million since the fall of the Taliban to help Afghans rebuild their country.
The Montreal Council on Foreign Relations is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting greater knowledge of international affairs.

CFS St. John's Announcement Tomorrow

Media Availability With the Minister of National Defence

ST. JOHN'S, NEWFOUNDLAND and LABRADOR- - The Minister of National Defence Gordon O'Connor and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister responsible for Newfoundland and Labrador, Loyola Hearn will be making an announcement regarding Canadian Forces Station St. John's tomorrow (April 4th) at 9:30 am . I'll keep you posted.

That's Cool... Tanks!

Canada to Lease New Tanks for Afghanistan

A Leopard tank of the Edmonton-based Lord Strathcona's Horse,
attached to ISTAR squadron in southern Afghanistan,
returns to a Canadian Forces mountain base after
assisting a patrol on the lookout for Taliban insurgents.
OTTAWA — A federal cabinet committee has given the green light to the lease of 20 state-of-the-art tanks to replace aging armoured vehicles in Afghanistan.

The cabinet priorities and planning committee approved the lease of the German-built Leopard A6M tanks last week, said a Defence Department source, who asked not to be named.
The recommendation, which is unlikely to be overturned, is now on Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s desk for final approval.
The news Tuesday came as Gen. Andrew Leslie, the country’s top army officer, said he might have to consider pulling existing tanks — which don’t have air conditioning — out of service in Afghanistan this summer because of the heat.
He also told troops in Kandahar to expect a decision from the prime minister on the new tanks within a week.
The new tanks have air conditioning, as well as improved protection against road-side bombs and suicide vehicles, both of which have been packing progressively bigger punches lately.
The army has a handful of older Leopard tanks, which are currently doing duty in western Kandahar as part of NATO’s Operation Achilles.
The deal, which apparently includes access to ample spare parts, also gives Canada the option to purchase an unspecified number of additional tanks at a later date.
Reports last winter suggested that in addition to a lease, the army wanted to purchase 80 new Leopards, but the source said that number is likely to be scaled back.
Harper wouldn’t bite on questions about the future of the vehicles.
“Cabinet has been discussing the tank issue and we’ll have an announcement on that shortly,” he said in Kitchener, Ont.
Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor, in Montreal for a speech, said he wasn’t aware the issue was resolved.
A Defence Department spokesman didn’t deny that a lease arrangement has been struck.
“We are exploring a number of options to address an operational requirement,” said Lt. Adam Thomson. “However, we have nothing to announce at this moment.”
The defence source could not say how much the arrangement was worth, but brand new Leopard tanks cost roughly US $6 million each.
Currently, the army has 17 of its old 45-tonne tanks patrolling the desert and dirt roadways of rural Kandahar. The biggest drawback to the vehicles is their lack of air conditioning in a climate where daytime summer temperatures soar above 50C.
Defence Department researchers have looked at installing air conditioners in the vehicles but that would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per vehicle.
Another idea proposes to give tank crew cooling vests — the same kind used by professional race car drivers — but they would be cumbersome when layered along with existing body armour.
Aside from the comfort factor, the lease of new tanks is seen as a more cost-effective solution, said the defence source.
Alex Morrison of the Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies said buying new equipment is better than retrofitting.
“It just makes more sense,” he said. “This is a decision that’s been in the mill for at least the last seven months.”
New Democrat defence critic Dawn Black said she’s not opposed to the lease arrangement, but only because it means tank crews won’t have to roast.
“I think it was irresponsible to deploy them, knowing they weren’t suitable for the climate,” she said.
In February, a policy think-tank produced a report that criticized Canada’s deployment of tanks to Afghanistan, saying the 1970s vintage Leopard-C2 vehicles were vulnerable to insurgent attacks.
Researcher Michael Wallace, of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, argued that new Leopard A6Ms would also be vulnerable to road-side bombs and rocket-propelled grenades. He said the introduction of tanks had the potential to spark an “arms race” with insurgents, prompting the Taliban to build bigger bombs.
Morrison dismissed the arguments, calling them ridiculous.
“What would they have us do?” he asked. “Take the tanks home and then the insurgents won’t use whatever weapon they have? What will happen in the end is the insurgents would control the whole country.”

Earthquake Shakes Afghanistan

Powerful Earthquake Hit Northeastern Afghanistan
An earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale has hit a remote and mountainous area of northeastern Afghanistan Tuesday morning, shaking buildings in the capital, Kabul, parts of Pakistan, Tajikistan and India. The temblor was centered in Badakhshan province, about 200 miles northeast of the capital, Kabul. Residents reported shaking buildings and shattered glass but no immediate casualty figure was available, AP reported. "It was a very strong earthquake," said Agha Noor Kemtoz, the provincial police chief of Badakhshan. "My room was shaking and the light was swinging back and forth." The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered 40 miles south of Faizabad and hit at 8:05 a.m. Damage reports from northeastern Afghanistan are often slow to trickle in, because of the region's remoteness and a lack of communication facilities. Badakhshan-- the most remote area in Afghanistan-- is located in the towering mountains of the Hindukush and is a region prone to earthquakes. The province shares a border with Pakistan, Tajikistan and China. A 6.7 magnitude quake struck Badakhshan in December 2005, killing five children. That quake was centered about 60 miles southeast of Faizabad.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Provinces of Afghanistan

Have you wondered what all the provinces of Afghanistan were? Here they are- an interactive guide. Click on a province name below and it will lead you to the Wikipedia site for detailed information on each province chosen.

Catching the Game...

Well.. do you want to see what the soldiers are watching when at Canada House in Kanadar (KAF)? Here is the site to the Canadian Forces Radio and Television that brings live Canadian TV programs to CF members serving in Afghanistan and the Middle East on a 24/7 basis in both English and French. Sports and news are the most requested programs. New schedules will appear each week on this site:

Watching the Toronto Maple Leafs at 4 a.m in Canada House (KAF)

Canadian Forces Radio and Television (CFRT)
The mission of Canadian Forces Radio and Television (CFRT) is to provide television and radio services to Canadian Forces (CF) members deployed overseas, establishing a much needed, continuous link with home, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
CFRT is transmitted via satellite to most CF ground forces posted in the Middle East, Africa and Europe. This service proved to be so popular that in April of 2002, it was expanded to include HMC Ships where the CFRT signal is available.

Live English and French radio and television programming includes:
Local, regional, national, and international news programs from major networks such as Canada AM, The National, CJOH News, Global Edmonton and Victoria CH News.

Major league sports such as: NHL hockey, CFL football, and NFL football as well as special sporting events such as the Olympics and the Canadian Curling Championships.

Popular Canadian variety programming such as: the Red Green Show, This Hour Has 22 Minutes and the Royal Canadian Air Farce.

Kandahar Satellite

U.S. PRT Constructing Water Reservoir

The soldiers are working very hard - with many positive gains ...

Reservoir being constructed in Ghazni
GHAZNI CITY, Apr 1 (Pajhwok Afghan News):

The US-led provincial reconstruction team (PRT) will construct a water reservoir in Deh Yak district of the southern Ghazni province.
In this connection, an agreement was inked between provincial Governor Merajuddin Patan and PRT officials in the province on Sunday.
The dam will cost $413,000 and will provide irrigation water for 17,000 acres of land in Deh Yak district.
Haji Fazal Ahmad, Deh Yak district chief, told Pajhwok Afghan News construction of the dam was a longstanding demand of the people.
He added 5,176 families from 70 villages would benefit from the project, which would be completed in the coming five months.
Agreement for construction of a similar project in Jaghatoo district of Ghazni was signed last week.

Press Release - Military Families Fund

This is a press release that just came in from the National Defence Department. This is great news! My only question is: What does it fund? I know a lot of families who do not live on or near the defence bases and have felt like they were and/or are in left field (out of the loop). If you are in this category, please leave me a comment (you can remain annonymous if you wish, but just notate a city or town). eg. Did you go attend a midtour briefing? (many parents and spouses didn't even know there was one) Is there a CFPSA in your area?


April 2, 2007

CFPSA: CDS Military Families Fund

OTTAWA, ONTARIO - - (April 2, 2007)

The Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), General Rick Hillier, in recognition of the outpouring of support from Canadians, announced the creation of the CDS Military Families Fund today, adding a new vehicle to support military families."When our families call out for help, we must be able to answer that call immediately and substantially," said Gen. Hillier. "Our families have been here for us through our enrollment, our training, our deployments, and our homecomings. The military life places significant demands on our loved ones. They did not volunteer for service - but serve they do, and with great distinction. It is our turn to be there for our families."The CDS Military Families Fund will be an agile and responsive means to provide support to military families. Base Commanders, partnered with Military Family Resource Centres across the country, will be able to assist military families within hours of being advised of the need.The CDS Military Families Fund will grow through the contributions of private citizens and corporations. Contributions can be accepted by phone or mail, as well as through participation in upcoming fundraising events that will be announced later this year. For inquiries about this fund or to make a contribution, please call 1-877-445-6444.
The Canadian Forces Personnel Support Agency (CFPSA) - the morale and welfare arm of the CF that provides programs and services for the well-being of the CF community - will administer the CDS Military Families Fund. Cheques or money orders should be made out to CFCF - CDS Military Families Fund.

The mailing address is as follows:

CDS Military Families Fund
c/o Canadian Forces Personnel Support Agency
4210 Labelle Street ,
Ottawa, ON, K1A 0K2

Please do not send cash.

It's Raining, It's Snowing?

Floods, Avalanche Kill 51 in Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan - Flooding and an avalanche have killed at least 51 people and destroyed hundreds of homes over the last 10 days, following warm weather and heavy spring rains across much of Afghanistan , officials said Sunday.
In total, 31 people have died in the province from the avalanche and flooding over the last 10 days, provincial Gov. Sultan Ali Uruzgani said late Sunday.
About 300 people are shoveling snow to clear a road between Daykundi and neighboring Bamiyan province that was buried under 115 feet of snow after the avalanche, he said.
Floodwaters killed eight people in Parwan, north of Kabul, where officials are using old tanks — the debris from decades of war — to shore up the banks of the swollen Parwan river, said provincial Gov. Abdul Jaber Taqwa.
In western Herat, seven people were killed, including two children, said Noor Khan Nekzad, spokesperson for the provincial police chief.
Afghanistan has endured about a decade of drought, and residents say this year‘s spring rains are heavier than they‘ve seen in years.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Senators Come to Afghanistan Bearing Gifts

Senators' Gifts for Troops

What an awesome gesture... way to go Senators!! Thanks for your support of our soldiers serving overseas..... from family and friends.

Canadian troops in Afghanistan received a taste of home Sunday as the owner of the Ottawa Senators visited the base in Kandahar to deliver $50,000 worth of hockey equipment and 2,500 Tim Hortons gift certificates.

Photo Courtesy: CP

Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk (right) shakes hands with Capt. Jim Bacon of Petawawa, Ont., wearing his new Ottawa Senators jersey in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Sunday, April 1, 2007.

Eugene Melnyk, wearing body armour and an army helmet, flew in Sunday on a C130 Hercules transport aircraft.
For the troops, many of whom play ball hockey as a pastime, Melnyk brought new goalie equipment, hockey sticks, inline skates, balls and NHL and Team Canada jerseys.
"They were overjoyed," CTV's Paul Workman said of the troops. "They're very passionate about their ball hockey on this base."
He said the players have such an emotional connection to hockey because it reminds them of Canada.
In fact, the sport is so popular that a league has been formed with 15 teams and 300 players who play two times a week.
"The equipment they used wasn't really the best and now they're outfitted in spectacular NHL jerseys, they've all got new gloves, the goalies have new pads," said Workman.
And, with their new equipment, Canadian troops managed to beat the American team 9-0.
Melnyk, a billionaire businessman, was scheduled to be on a business trip in Dubai and decided to visit Afghanistan first.
"As I was planning for the trip (to Dubai) I found myself paying more attention to the news and sacrifices that our Canadian troops are making for our country," he said in a news release.
"I want to bring a slice of Canadian hockey and Canadian coffee for our soldiers to enjoy in the few personal hours that they have when they're not on duty.
"I want to thank them for the sacrifice they're making and remind them that Canadians are safer because of their commitment."

Bikers Everywhere Supporting our Troops Ride

The Bikers Everywhere Supporting our Troops Ride in Canada

Sunday, July 15th, 2007

Start: Hespler Legion

26 Scholfield Street

Cambridge, ON

In support of The Sapper Mike McTeague Wounded Warriors Fund

This will be an approximately 200km blind poker run (cards are sealed in envelopes, so you don't know what you've got until the end) with stops at 4 different cenotaphs in towns surrounding Cambridge, ON.

There will be a 50/50 draw, live music after the event, and prizes for the best poker hand, top pledge earners, and more!

The location for the ride has now been established!We will start and end this ride at the Hespeler Legion at26 Schofield StreetHespeler (Cambridge), ONClick here for a map

If you would like instructions on how to get there from your area, please email Miss K with your starting location and preference and she will give you directions either via limited-access highway (401, QEW, etc) or via overland routes.

Schedule of Events:

09:00 - Registration Opens

10:30 - Pre-ride safety talk

11:00 - First riders depart

14:00 - First riders begin to return, barbecue starts, cash bar opens

16:00 - Last riders return, closing ceremonies

17:00 - Live music

19:00 - Event ends

Registration Fees:

Riders - $20.00

Passengers - $10.00

Extra Cards (if you want to discard - maximum 2) - $5.00 each

"B.E.S.T." patches will be available on the day of the ride, at a cost of $12.00 each.

Any profits from the sale of patches will be included in the donation to the Wounded Warriors Fund.

Pre-Register for the ride here!

Download the Pledge Form here!

Details to be announced as they are confirmed.

For more info, contact Miss K

Camp Nathan Smith, Kandahar

Photo Source: DND
Captain Robert Wheeler, a Reservist with 2 Royal Newfoundland Regiment, hands a box of school supplies to a village elder in the town of Walakan, southwest of Kandahar City. Standing by is Sergeant John Sloan, a Reservist with1 Royal Newfoundland Regiment. Capt. Wheeler and Sgt. Sloan are Civil Military Co-operation (CIMIC) operators working at the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team (KPRT) in Kandahar City, Afghanistan. They went to the village to check on the progress of the canal irrigation project.
The KPRT is an integral part of the Joint Task Force Afghanistan (JTF-AFG), which is Canada's military contribution to Afghanistan. Canadian operations will focus on working with Afghan authorities to improve security, governance and economic development.