Celebrating the Season in Kabul

Captain J.L Cochrane
10 January 2005


Well the holiday season has come and gone and most of you reading this will now be back to work. It will come as no surprise that the squadron remained busy throughout the holiday season. Between normal operations, all the Christmas and New Year's activities and the visits, we all felt like we were at home trying to get the relatives out the door after two weeks.


The festivities started off on the 22nd of December when the Junior Ranks were invited to the Combined Officers'/WOs' and Sgts' Mess for a little (2 beers) Christmas Cheer. The turn out was huge and there was very little room left in the Mess by the time we got all the guests stuffed into our single weather haven mess.


The next event was a collection of Men's Christmas Dinners, one for each of the sub-units in the Task Force. Recce Squadron held its dinner on Christmas Day at 1130 hours in the Junior Ranks Mess. The kitchen staff here did an outstanding job and the efforts of the Food Service Officer, Capt Johnson, the KO, Sgt Evens, MCpl Nicholson and Cpl Prosper was noted by the everyone in the camp. The Officers and NCOs of Recce Squadron took on the normal role of serving the Junior Ranks their meal and the OC, Major Derek Macaulay and SSM Brian Talty changed ranks with the youngest and oldest members of the squadron, those being, Pte Rutledge and Cpl Petca. The highlight of the day however was the fact that the Task Force Commander, and former CO of the Strathconas, Col Jim Ellis, authorized a third beer.


The next event was the arrival of the Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson Governor General and Commander of Canada. Her and her husband, His Excellency, John Ralston Saul visited Camp Julien and the Embassy here in Kabul for a five-day period over the New Year. Her events included attending the largest Curry Luncheon on recent memory with upwards of 160 persons in attendance. Guests included Her and His Excellencies, DComd Ops ISAF - MGen Loeser, Comd KMNB - BGen Spindler, UNAMA - BGen Wohlgemuth and DComd CFC-A MGen Gilchrist. In addition to the military guests we also had a number of civilian guests, which included Dr Sima Samar of the Afghanistan Human Rights Commission and the Canadian Ambassador to Afghanistan, Mr. Chris Alexander.


New Year's Eve consisted of two separate parties, one in the Junior Ranks Mess and one in the Combined Officers/WOs and Sgts Mess. The Governor General dropped by both parties. First she went to the Combined Mess Charity Casino and tried her luck with the Black Jack tables. The Combined Mess by the way raised over $400.00 for the Task Force Kabul Humanitarian Club through the events of that evening. Following her brief stint with the Combined Mess, she headed over to the Junior Ranks Mess where she danced the night away until the New Year arrived, she promptly planted a few well placed kisses on a few lucky soldiers who happened to be in her area when the clock struck midnight. Meanwhile, His Excellency decided to head out on the town, Recce Sqn style. His Excellency, the TFK Comd and OC Recce went on a New Year's Eve tour of Kabul, finally ending up at the King's Tomb to toast in the New Year.


The next day's (New Year's Day) consisted first and for most the traditional New Year's Day Levees in both Messes and in a novel change to what most people do on New Years, recover from New Year's Eve, the Combined Mess hosted the "First Annual Camp Julien 5 or 10 km New Year's Resolution Run". With just under 200 competitors the event was a huge success. Due to rotation schedules on camp two runnings of the race were conducted, the first being at 1000 hours, which the Governor General dropped by to start, and the second running at 1500 hours.


The last and probably most entertaining event was the introduction of the Karaoke Machine to the Combined Mess. Early in the tour Captain Islam Elkorazati, pestered the PMC, Captain John Cochrane, into ordering a Karaoke Machine. The PMC reluctantly consented on the condition that Captain Elkorazati be the first to break it in. Well, much to the disappointment of Captain Elkorazati, the PMC remembered this condition and ensured that the condition was met on 6 January 2005. After a surprise visit to the Combined Mess by the members of his troop, courtesy of WO Riley, Captain Elkorazati got up and performed what was undoubtedly the worst version of Shania Twains "Man I feel like a Woman" in recorded history. Capt Elkorazati we of Recce Squadron salute you, it takes a special kind of man to dress up like a woman and sing Shania Twain.


Folks, time continues to pass, we'll be home before you know it.