2IC Strathcona's Update - 16 September 2007

By Major Trevor Cadieu

A month has passed since I last wrote and communicated to you the great work Strathcona soldiers are doing at home and abroad. I hope this email finds you and your families well.

C Sqn. Maj Trevor Gosselin, MWO Geoff Bamford and their soldiers arrived in Afghanistan at the end of August. Following their handover with A Sqn, the C Sqn team commenced immediately combat operations with the 3rd Battalion R22eR Battle Group. C Sqn soldiers have already been subjected to enemy rocket and RPG attack, and several mine/IED strikes. Unfortunately, two C Sqn tanks were struck today by IEDs during a combat operation in Kandahar Province. The crew members of the first tank struck were unharmed, while two members of the second tank struck were evacuated back to the Kandahar Airfield for medical treatment. While neither of these soldiers were seriously wounded, one is on route to Landstuhl, Germany, where he will undergo surgery for a badly broken leg. He will likely return to Canada following the surgery, where he will spend time healing with family.

The other wounded soldier has also sustained a leg injury. It is expected he will spend the next six to eight weeks recovering, and will then return to full duty with his comrades. The families of both of these soldiers have been notified. The Taliban are learning already that while we have new soldiers on the ground, they are as deadly as the batch they just replaced. C Sqn has engaged RPG gunners and rocketeers with lethal accuracy. Our thoughts will be with them in the months to come.

A Sqn. We were extremely pleased to welcome A Sqn on their return to Canada on 11 Sep. This team, under the leadership of Maj Dave Broomfield and MWO Bill Crabb, fought the enemy until the bitter end of their tour. They provided to C Sqn an outstanding handover that will surely prepare them for success. A Sqn soldiers and their families were recognized at a Welcome Home event in Edmonton on 14 September. These soldiers were all awarded the General Campaign Star recognizing their service in Afghanistan, and Commander 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group and Commander Land Force Western Area thanked the Sqn for their valiant efforts in combat. They will commence a period of well deserved leave on Tuesday. A Sqn will stand up again in November 2007 under the leadership of Maj Ian McDonnell and MWO Dave Hall, at which point they will re-commence training for another deployment to Afghanistan in the summer of 2008!

B Sqn. It is no surprise that B Sqn collective training in Wainwright is progressing extremely well, especially since many of these soldiers are recently returned from combat in Afghanistan. The Sqn will participate in combat team level live fire training in the coming two weeks, and will then commence force-on-force training at the Canadian Manoeuvre Training Centre. It will not be long before this team is again in Afghanistan, replacing C Sqn (Feb 08). We all look forward to the visit of the Colonel of the Regiment, Colonel John Roderick, in Wainwright at the end of the month.

It is all hands on deck for the remaining sub units in the Regiment, either supporting our soldiers deployed overseas, their families on the home front, or augmenting the live fire training in Wainwright with safety staff and mentors with recent combat experience. The bulk of Regimental Headquarters, Headquarters Squadron and E Company will remain in Wainwright until the end of October facilitating B Sqn's training gateways. I will provide to you in the coming weeks a more detailed report on future activities, but wanted to communicate to you in a timely fashion the status of C Sqn's wounded soldiers. You will notice in the next SITREP information on Reconnaissance Sqn - we will again stand up that capability commencing in Nov 08 in preparation for a potential deployment in 2009.