Roto 11 CHF(A) - Race
By Cpl Kyle Cameron
Since the first chalk of Roto 11 CHF(A) has arrived in theatre, things have been high paced. Flight crew members are already approaching 100 flying hours. By end of tour we are expected to have more than 300 hours. It seems like yesterday the door gunners, comprised of soldiers from LdSH(RC) and 2 VP began pre - deployment training and experienced our Close Combat Attack (CCA) course in Cold Lake.
We were pleasantly surprised with the amount of ammunition allotted for door gunner training, with each of the gunners all too eager to blast off 10's of thousands of rounds from the GAU-21 (50 CAL), Dillon M134 Mini Gun and the somewhat anti-climatic C6 GPMG. Every burst fired enabled the gunners to improve their drills and deadly accuracy. This proved to be the start of friendly rivalry and competition between the gunners of the Strathcona’s and 2 VP.
A particular day started differently than any other. We had just completed our first 3 ship air assault in the infamous “Horn”. Adrenaline was still running high after shut down. Across the tarmac was awaiting the infamous “Bongo Truck”. The pilot’s kit wasn't going to make it to storage by itself so after a quick game of rock, paper, rank the gunner's were tasked with fetching the truck. With the multiple aircraft shutdown and only one bongo to go around, it was simple, the quickest gunner to the bongo won. This quickly became apparent to the two gunners as they stared each other down. In an explosion of speed, two gunners launched themselves at full momentum towards the awaiting truck. Personnel working on the ramp stopped to stare in awe and confusion. The run to the bongo only lasted 20 seconds for MCpl Kirby 2 PPCLI and a disappointing 26 seconds for Cpl Dan Graham LdSH(RC). I was almost embarrassed for the Strathcona's until I realized Kirby had the advantage (his aircraft was parked several spots closer). He still denies this to this day.
There was only one way to solve this, Re-match! We called it Dash for Cash, the scene was set. The Bongo Truck was placed an equal distance between two Chinooks. In Aircraft 206 we had MCpl Sean Kirby, 2 PPCLI, 5’7 weighing in at 250 lbs. in FFO. In Aircraft 207 there was Cpl Dan Graham LdSH(RC), 6’4 weighing in at 415 lbs fully kitted and fit to fight. Their task? Egress the helicopter with full kit, go bag, personal weapon and be the first to the bongo. Hundreds of people cheered in amazement as Cpl Graham achieved his impressive stride leaving his Regimental Brother, Cpl Cameron, (and cameraman) in the dirty Afghan dust. All onlookers soon realized it was an easy win for Cpl Dan Graham and the LdSH(RC).
Dash for cash managed to raise $450.00 for Soldier On, but most importantly, Strathcona's “WON”, Patricia’s 0.