CF Appreciation in D.C.
By Cpl Colin Johnston
29 January 2009
The morning of January 12, 2009 started off early for Cpl Mark Fuchko, Cpl James Douglas, and myself, as we were to meet at Edmonton International Airport’s Executive Flight Center at 0800.
Once we arrived we were met by the media and Edmonton Oilers’ executives and were told that we would be flying to Washington D.C. in the Oilers’ personal jet. After fielding a few questions from the local media we rushed off to customs to meet the rest of the Oilers and coaches to board the plane. The Edmonton Oilers’ plane was a modified A320, which looks normal on the outside, but on the inside was custom embroidered Oilers seats and every food you can imagine.
After Cpl Fuchko, Cpl Douglas, and I took our seats we were immediately welcome by Air Canada staff and some of the players. We wolfed down egg breakfast sandwiches and then we took off for Washington. During the flight we had several conversations with Head Coach Craig MacTavish and team Captain Ethan Moreau, and then we landed at Dulles International Airport in Virginia. From there we were met by Captain Richard Langlois, Assistant Canadian Forces Public Affairs Attaché for the Canadian Embassy and were whisked off to our hotel in the heart of D.C. We had a free night ahead of us but we took it easy for we had a important night the next day. The next morning we were met by Captain Langlois and taken to the Canadian Embassy for lunch.
There we had lunch with Col. Hilton who was CO to the Regiment in previous years and is now the Senior Serving Strathcona. We had a quick lunch then spent the rest of the day sight seeing; by far this was the best part of the trip. We went to such places as The Arlington War Cemetery and had the honour of seeing the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, The U.S. Marine Iwo Jima War Memorial and The Pentagon 9/11 Memorial. It was a good heart felt day.
That evening we met up with LCol. Martin Canadian Forces Public Affairs Attaché for the Canadian Embassy and were escorted to our seats which were donated by David E. Shelton of the City of Annapolis Fire Dept. While Cpl Douglas entertained the oncoming hockey fans with his bag pipes, Cpl Fuchko and I hung out in a VIP lounge meeting with the Director of the FBI Robert Mueller and members of Canadian Security Community. For the second and third period Ted Leonsis the owner of the Washington Capitals invited us up to his personal box to watch the rest of the game. Cpl Fuchko was a part of a cheque hand off with Director of the FBI as part of a hockey game involving the FBI and Canadian Forces Personnel with the proceeds going to the MFRC.
Throughout the trip we treated like kings, and I would like to personally thank Cal Nichols Chairman and Governor of the Edmonton Oilers, also Tim Shipton President of Alberta Enterprise Group, and Ted Leonsis Owner of the Washington Capitals for showing their hospitality and kindness. I know that for Cpl Fuchko, Cpl Douglas and I the trip will never be forgotten. Cheers.