OC’s Update August
By Major JL Cochrane
2 September 2009
It is hard to believe but August 2009 is in the history books. The Afghan Presidential and Provincial Elections are complete, although the final results have not been released, and Ramadan started on the 22nd. Perhaps more importantly though is that we are not far from passing the torch at the FOB on to the soldiers of B Squadron.
At the start of August the temperature was sitting around 50 degrees, at least according to the meteorologists in Kandahar; however our thermometers were telling a much higher story; usually indicated a temperature in the range of 59 to 63 degrees. Now at the end of August, the temperature has actually started to drop – not much, but it has. We are actually noticing that it seems chilly in the mornings with a breeze, despite the fact that it is still about 29 or 30 outside, but I guess that is because it is a dry heat…..
The Squadron has been exceptionally busy this past month. We were involved in two major operations, a bunch of little operations, a whole lot of QRF calls, and of course the Elections. Throughout all these activities there were some absolutely astounding performances by the soldiers of C Sqn and they have done themselves and Canada proud. Finally, at the end of the elections we took several days to conduct some hard maintenance in order to get the fleet into tip top shape before the arrival of B Squadron.
Plans continue for the arrival of B Squadron and our primary goal is to give B Squadron as much information on their arrival as possible. Although the specific details are not yet finalized, it is safe for everyone at home to expect C Squadron back in Canada around the middle of October.
Morale remains high, although sometimes at the expense of others. Recently the SSM, MWO Stacey, decided that while the Squadron 2IC, Captain Dave Gottfried, was deployed for a short period, that this would be a great opportunity to play a small practical joke on him. After recruiting all the senior staff in the FOB, and all the members of the Squadron – a plan was put in place. During the day of the Elections the FOB was an exciting place with several rockets being fired at us, one hit the camp. It caused only minor damage and no one was hurt. Once the rocket was confirmed safe by our experts it was strategically placed in front of the 2ICs quarters with a great deal of security cordon tape around the site, preventing any one from entering the quarters. The OC briefed the 2IC that a rocket had landed on the camp and that it was being looked after, but didn’t inform him exactly where, thus setting the stage for his return the next day. When the 2IC returned to the camp following his task he was in complete dismay when he saw what had happened and even more concerned that it would not be removed until the following day. He was forced to spend the night without Acting Battle Captain, Captain Graham (Barf) Kallos, which many felt was taking the practical joke to a whole new level! Finally the next day he was let off the hook and the Squadron, in fact the whole FOB, got a good laugh – including the 2IC who couldn’t believe that no one let it slip for 24 hours.
I would like to congratulate the following soldiers that were recently promoted:
From MCpl to Sgt
Sgt Lewis (our FOB Firefighter)
From Trooper to Trooper Trained:
Last but not least Tpr(T) Graham, who had been waiting so impatiently for this promotion that he had been bugging his Troop Leader for weeks for a date when it would occur. So the Squadron naturally had to find a way to tease him a little. When those soldiers that were being promoted were called forward, we deliberately left Tpr(T) Graham out. We promoted all the other soldiers, had a quick chat with the Squadron and then started to leave, much to the dismay of Tpr(T) Graham. Only then did we stop everyone and promote him, much to the amusement of the rest of the Squadron, and relief of Tpr(T) Graham.
Congratulations to all of you on your well earned promotions.
The Squadron will continue to put articles on to the webpage and each Monday in the Edmonton Journal. I still encourage you to contact the Mission Information Hotline where you will hear messages from the troops in Afghanistan that will be updated at least weekly. The number is 1-800-866-4546 when the initial greeting is given you will need to dial 1-1221 for English and 1-2221 for French.