WO Marty Wheeler
2 November 2009

Well, the journey here began many months ago with the training and the never-ending paperwork that comes along with deployment. However, as the departure day came closer, all soldiers involved were ready to go.

We had two days of even more paperwork and roll calls before we could actually get on the plane to take us to Afghanistan. Departure day finally came, and we began the long trip for our final destination, our Forward Operating Base (FOB). We said our farewells to family and friends and boarded the buses to take us to the Edmonton International Airport with a police escort down 97th Street.

Upon arrival at the airport we prepared to load the aircraft and, with one last look at the city, we boarded and headed towards Winnipeg, Manitoba. There we stopped and picked up some more soldiers to join us. We took off from Winnipeg and headed for Trenton, Ontario where the aircrews switched around, then off to Germany. Upon arrival in Germany we got off the plane and had a much needed stretch, and for the smokers, several cigarettes were put down range. We then boarded again and off to Cyprus where we got off the Airbus and prepared to board the C-17 Globemaster for our final fixed wing aircraft to Kandahar Airfield (KAF), Afghanistan.

Once we hit Afghan airspace, we donned our fighting order and began our decent down into the blackness. The aircraft by this time was fully tactical and looking around at the soldiers some looked like kids at Christmas and others had no expressions on their faces at all. As we got lower we took a steep dip and then before we knew it the aircraft was on the ground and we began the long taxi to the tarmac.

The aircraft stopped, the back of the C-17 opened, and the heat of the country hit us immediately. We got off the plane and loaded onto the same buses that I am sure I was on back in the 1990’s in Bosnia and went to an Arrival Assistance Group (AAG). There we did some more paperwork and yet another roll call. We were issued some kit and our weapons as the sun started to come up over the hills and the temperature began to rise. We were finally taken to a bunk area where we were given the schedule over the next couple days and a bed space. We were on forced rest but most of us just wanted a coffee, so we headed to the infamous Boardwalk to have that Tim Horton’s coffee in Afghanistan. For most of us that will be the only Timmy’s in Afghanistan as there are no coffee shops where we are heading.

After a couple of days in KAF we finally boarded a CH-148 Chinook helicopter and headed for the FOB that we would call home over the next six to seven months. The heat was unbelievable. In the high 50’s; not as hot as Rotation 7 had to endure, but to us it was very uncomfortable and something we would have to get used to. We were given the Camp brief by SSM Rick Stacey and off we went to begin our hand-over with the guys. After a couple of days the hand-over was complete and we in turn took on the task of getting C Sqn out of here and welcoming the rest of our Task Force in the FOB.

To say the least the flights here were painful but the end result was accomplished, we made it all here to finally put all our hard work and training to the test.