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Thread: Day to Day life of Canadian soldier in Afghanistan

  1. #1
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Day to Day life of Canadian soldier in Afghanistan

    FORWARD OPERATING BASE ROBINSON—Pte. Mark Brownell, going through the alphabet as he rattles off the names of singers and rock bands, is stuck at the letter "I.''

    Then, triumphantly: "Iggy Pop!''

    The 26-year-old driver of this LAV — light armoured vehicle — gets an approving whistle from his crew commander, Master Cpl. Tom Cole. It's the middle of the night in the Afghan desert, and these men are playing trivia games as tracer fire arcs overhead and the lumbering LAV dips precariously into a wadi.

    Brownell, known as Brownie, has been driving for close on 20 hours straight. His eyeballs are rimmed pink from staring at his thermal video monitor, the only way he can navigate the forbidding terrain, keeping his vehicle within a military column more than a kilometre long.

    It was Cole who seized upon this trivia quiz as a ploy to keep Brownie awake and alert. Machine-gunner Shaun Felix has already been hauled from his perch, replaced up top by air sentry Pte. Jason Joe.

    Since this arduous land move begun, a Bison has been crippled, several LAVs have strayed off into the darkness and been corralled, two other LAVS have been seriously compromised by mechanical problems but slapdash-mended, a couple of young Canadian infantrymen have been injured in a bizarre sideswiping accident, and a donkey has been turned into roadkill. (Prompt compensation to its owner: $50 U.S.)

    Just about everything that could go wrong has, save for a fatality, in the opening phase of Mission Dagger, the deployment of Charlie Company plus a battery of howitzers to a beleaguered forward operating base in Helmand Province, 180 kilometres west of Kandahar City.

    On 20 of the past 45 days, Forward Operating Base Robinson has repelled attacks by well-organized Taliban fighters. This is where Pte. Robert Costall died last week. The northern gate of the satellite base, metres from where 22-year-old Costall fell, will be named for him.

    Twenty-three hours after launching from Kandahar Airfield, this Canadian soldiers-to-the-reinforcement operation humps into the forward base, Charlie Company soldiers falling almost dead in their tracks upon arrival around 7 a.m. yesterday, collapsing around their vehicles, curling up in the dirt, arms flung over their faces to shield themselves from the sun.

    The mission, as detailed in orders the previous evening, was deceptively simple but logistically complex: Show force, blunt the brash assaults that have been waged against Forward Operating Base Robinson by a hard-core Taliban militia, reinforce the satellite base that has been primarily manned to this point by Afghan troops and American special forces, render the base secure until the arrival in force, later this month, of British troops, and be prepared to move on, if necessary, for a similar bolstering assignment at the U.S. provincial reconstruction team base at Lashkar Gah.

    "Domination of the battle space,'' as Maj. Bill Fletcher, company commander, had put it, when outlining orders on Saturday night.

    Upwards of a hundred Taliban are operating from three clusters of the villages in the area under the command of four identified leaders. Tactics used already by the enemy: Indirect fire (mortar, rockets), ambush, clever exploitation of terrain, forays in weapons-armed Toyotas, improvised explosive devices, suicide bombers (of which, Canadian intelligence indicates, there are five now in situ, preparing to hit in Kandahar City).

    A new wrinkle in the suicide bomber threat last week: The vehicle-borne suicide bomb and improvised explosive device, which had been pressure-plated or wire-activated to this point. Thus, the Canadian column is under strict instructions to keep the vehicles close together.

    It is the improvised explosive device (IED) and suicide bomber threat that will, under the plan as devised by Lt.-Col. Ian Hope, battle group commander of Task Force Orion, push the convoy off the risky highways and into the desert. But nobody could have foreseen the miseries that would befall the column.

    Just beyond the outskirts of Kandahar City, privates Dawson Bayliss, 22, originally from Kirkland Lake, and his air sentry cohort, a 23-year-old Toronto native, Daniel (surname not released), were injured in a weird highway incident.

    A heavy "jingle truck,'' veering too close against oncoming traffic, had hit the turret gun on a LAV, spinning the turret around. The cannon barrel swung 360 degrees, slamming into the faces of the two air gunners standing in their hatches. One, horribly bloodied, fell down into the lap of an embedded reporter. The other also crumpled into the interior.

    The two were evacuated by helicopter, their injuries not considered life-threatening. Within minutes the military column was back on the move.

    As the Canadians finally reached the forward base, Afghan army forces, who've been at this lonely outpost for ages, smile in greeting. They will be relieved of this assignment shortly, when the British deploy, hopefully taking over an area that has, by then, been pacified by the Canadians.

    "They're getting out of Dodge,'' noted Fletcher wryly.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

  2. #2
    Gold Member deckchick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Day to Day life of Canadian soldier in Afghanistan

    What is the source on this Grim?
    Vegetarian - Old Indian word for "Bad Hunter"

  3. #3
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Day to Day life of Canadian soldier in Afghanistan

    Oops.. toronto star.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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