Out with the old in with the new

By MCpl Hurlburt
3 May 2010

Another trip to Afghanistan for the Strathconas. This is nothing new to A Sqn, for this is the Sqn’s third deployment overseas. The only thing to change from the previous rotations were the stories and the soldiers in the Sqn.

When the first chalk boarded the plane in Edmonton on their long journey to Afghanistan, some of the NCOs lingered near the back of the line in order to catch anyone that decided to have a change of heart and flee. Word had already spread that all fast food restaurants were leaving KAF. Some of the Troopers soon saw the real reason that the NCOs waited to board the plane last as they filled the seats in the back of the plane and left the first class seats wide open. MCpl Paterson, MCpl Morley, Sgt Trenholm, MCpl Reid and a few others were forced to travel in style.

MCpl Paterson remarked, “We had our own personal flight attendants, big screen TVs and of course, big comfy seats that almost fully reclined”. After many hours of travel and a couple of stops along the way, they were finally out of Canada and crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

Apparently, all the pre-deployment training took a toll on MCpl Reid and he was soon fast asleep in his fully reclined chair. Everyone was slowly dozing off when MCpl Reid starts screaming in his sleep “STOP! STOP! STOP!” The flight attendant first thought the plane was being hijacked. Everyone turned to him and stared, until he slowly opened one eye to see what all the racket was about.

No one really knows what he was dreaming about and I don’t think any one wants to find out. Either way, it was the highlight of the 30 hours of travelling for the first chalk.

Admin Troop and the remainder SHQ were the last to head out. They arrived at the Regiment all bright eyed and bushy tailed and sadly said good-bye to loved ones for the next several months. The absence of Tpr Kent could be felt by the group. Pte Bowers was delayed due to unforeseen circumstances (no thanks to MCpl Gordon, no names no pack drill). But she should return to our little family in short order.

Unfortunately, at the airport, like many things in the Army, the plan changed unexpectedly, this time in the form of a volcano. The volcano eruption in Iceland had made air travel to Europe travel near impossible and the last chalk’s departure was postponed a day.

The trip started the next day with many stops along the way, picking up passengers in Ottawa and Fredericton. It was a difficult trip for the smokers, as we not allowed to leave the plane. Their cravings were finally satisfied when we were given a brief reprieve in Scilly. At that point we were allowed to get off the plane 20 people at a time for ten minutes.

The RiP, in true Strathcona fashion, was a success. For many of the new soldiers this was their first trip outside of North America and for others this was nothing new for them.