B Squadron Arrives in Kandahar
T.J. (Trevor) Cadieu
Officer Commanding B Squadron
1st Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group
As Officer Commanding B Squadron, I am extremely pleased to report on the great work being done by Strathcona soldiers in Kandahar, Afghanistan. This report is the first of many that will be written by soldiers and leaders of B Squadron, with the purpose of keeping family members and friends informed on the progress of our mission to Afghanistan.
The first group of B Squadron soldiers departed Canada on 10 October, and a larger group who endured two successive flight delays followed them soon after. On arrival at the Kandahar Airfield, we joined the 1st Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group under unfortunate circumstances, as they mourned the loss of two of their soldiers killed in combat the day prior. In true Strathcona fashion, B Squadron soldiers joined the Battle Group at a ramp ceremony to show their support for fallen comrades.
This group of soldiers has achieved an incredible amount of work in an extremely short period of time. Immediately following kit issue, we zeroed personal weapons and completed a training package to further hone the skills of our soldiers prior to joining the Battle Group in operations. Extensive work has also been achieved on our tanks. All Leopard tanks have been kitted, bombed up and extensive maintenance has been conducted to ready our team for the harsh environment of Afghanistan. Preparations of the first wave of B Squadron soldiers and tanks culminated in an opportunity to deploy to Tarnak Farms to zero our tanks and experience life ‘outside the wire’. As the attached photos suggest, B Squadron soldiers are sharp and their drills are well developed.
Afghanistan is an extremely harsh environment, however, Strathcona soldiers have a reputation of making themselves comfortable in any environment. We have established a permanent living area in close proximity to the tank park, and all soldiers will call home for the next four months a bunk bed in what we affectionately refer to as the BAT (Big Ass Tent). There are well-established kitchen facilities on base, however, soldiers can choose to take a break from mess food by visiting Burger King, Subway, Pizza Hut or Tim Horton’s on the ‘board walk’. I am certain the airfield will seem a paradise when we deploy forward with the Battle Group. The smell of sewage constantly lingering in the air takes some getting used to though.
We now anticipate eagerly the arrival of remaining B Squadron soldiers and our tanks. Our entire team will continue to prepare equipment for operations and we will conduct further training prior to deploying on operations. The Battle Group has been extremely supportive and all infantry soldiers we have talked with are keen for the tanks to join the team.
Our ability to deploy to Afghanistan could not have been achieved without tremendous support from many people at home and those deployed in advance of our group to Afghanistan. On behalf of all B Squadron soldiers, I wish to sincerely thank all soldiers and maintainers at the Regiment who have spent countless hours facilitating the training of our team and preparing vehicles for deployment. We are also extremely grateful for the efforts of the Tank Activation Team, a group of soldiers and technicians who deployed two weeks in advance of the squadron to receive and kit Leopards on arrival at the airfield. Most importantly, it is the families of B Squadron soldiers who have made this deployment possible. Without your unconditional love and support on the home front, our mission would not be achievable.
B Squadron soldiers are well prepared and motivated for the mission in front of them. The Squadron Sergeant Major and I take very seriously the well being of all of these soldiers, and I commit to all family members we will do everything possible to prepare in advance for operations we will conduct.