Cpl D.A. Cruickshank
23 June 2020
In the fall of 2019 we found out six Strathconas would be deploying on Operation REASSURANCE, roto 20-01 in January 2020. Under the leadership of Sgt Sherlock-Hubbard our task would be the support of Health Services and Support (HSS) Company by manning Transport and Supply section. This news was very exciting and we were thrilled to get this opportunity, but still we still had some questions what our jobs fully entailed.
Upon arrival we very quickly realized our jobs were more than just operating Bison and LSVW ambulances. The multinational clinic is a very busy place, with new taskings always coming down. This definitely kept us on our toes, between driving patients to different health facilities, supporting ranges and exercises, ordering and receiving supply, or maintaining our 4 ambulances. Driving ambulances remained our bread and butter though; MCpl Meaney and Cpl Munro became Grizzly Company’s Bison crew, and MCpl Comeau with Cpl Cruickshank supporting Butcher Company the whole deployment. We all had our hands full throughout January and February, when the news of COVID-19 started to spread. In March, COVID-19 had a strangle-hold on a lot of Europe, Latvia closed the borders, and the base was locked down.
This blew our previous tempo out of the water, now with mandatory testing for all personnel showing any virus like symptoms, we now also had to drive these patients. Cpl Rose, along with several other HSS personnel, headed up our quarantine ward. Although this ward would never see a confirmed case of COVID-19, we had to remain vigilant and treat any possible symptom seriously. They moved into a new building with their main responsibilities being the testing and supervised quarantine of any patients with viral symptoms. We are all quite certain Cpl Rose got very familiar with the route to the testing facility, as the next few months he would be driving patients every day. With a new quarantine ward, came the ocean of ADREP and LPO requests we needed to accommodate, which Cpl Munro would take up the reins to order and distribute. All while Cpl Cruickshank would log any supplies coming and going from our stores.
Through all the busy days and late night duty phone calls, we still managed to have a good time and learn a lot. The knowledge we will take home will stick with us for many years to come, without a doubt Cpl Cruickshank will never forget that stitches and root canals are NOT a fun time. Working in a clinic with soldiers from all over NATO is an experience many crewman will never be able to get and it’s a reminder everyday of how diverse and adaptable people can be when required.