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Month: March 2005

O Canada

Saddling Up For Parks Patrol

PHOTOS: BRADLEY BISCHOFF; J. PAGE, PARKS CANADA Top: Wardens assigned to patrol Banff National Park gather at Stoney Creek Warden Cabin. Below: Wardens on patrol in Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan. “These are my last two babies,” says Rick Smith, foreman at Parks Canada’s Ya Ha Tinda Ranch, 75 kilometres west of Sundre, in Alberta’s foothills country. A biting December wind blows off Warden Mountain to the west as he strokes the muzzles of eight-month-old colts Quill and Quigley. It’s no coincidence both their names begin with Q. Entered in a dusty horse register kept in a 1918 cabin near the corral are the names and statistics of every horse born here for the past 70 years. Colts born on the ranch each year were given nam...
Defence Today

Prime Minister Names Chief Of Defence Staff

PHOTO: DND General Rick Hillier, the new chief of the defence staff. Lieutenant-General Rick Hillier, an army officer from Newfoundland, is the Canadian Forces new chief of defence staff. Prime Minister Paul Martin appointed Hillier in early February to replace General Ray Hénault, who is leaving to take over the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s top military post in Brussels. Hillier has a great deal of high-level experience in military leadership. He was appointed chief of the army in May 2003 and last year he commanded the 36-country NATO International Security Assistance Force in Kabul, Afghanistan. In 2000 Hillier commanded the Multinational Division Southwest in Bosnia and in 1998 he was the deputy commanding general of the United States Army’s III armour...
Defence Today

Blue Water Readiness

Top: HMCS Athabaskan clears its decks to prepare for a helicopter landing during an exercise off Norfolk, Va. Inset: Sub-Lieutenant Shantell Wile grabs some deck time--staring at the horizon helps ward off seasickness. Below: Athabaskan's flight crew perform their duties beneath the Sea King's whooping blades. Somewhere off the coast of North America, in the cold grey swell of the Atlantic, HMCS Athabaskan’s radar operators have locked onto the target—an unidentified air threat, danger close, screaming low and fast toward the Canadian warship. “Target acquired. Tracking…tracking,” crackles over the intercom. The bridge is silent and all eyes are on Navy Captain Bruce Donaldson. He stares in the target’s direction, utterly calm. It is closing ...
Defence Today

North To Alert

A Herc prepares for takeoff; (inset from top left) The remains of a U.S. cargo plane that crashed without a fatality in 1952; one of several Arctic wolves to visit the station; two of Alert's tracked vehicles cross the tundra. Corporal Ron McLean is a few metres outside the meteorological shack when frost begins to form on his thin, brown moustache. Pausing to pull his blue toque down over his ears, McLean notices the light snow swirling across the gravel runway. A few days ago, the 45-year-old meteorological technician was at home in Trenton, Ont. Today, he’s trudging across a dark and frozen landscape that appears more lunar than earthly. McLean’s location is Canadian Forces Station Alert, the world’s northernmost permanently inhabited...
Canada & the Victoria Cross

Hand-to-hand On Hill 70: Part 8 of 18

ILLUSTRATIONS: SHARIF TARABAY Clockwise from top left: Victoria Cross recipients Michael James O'Rourke, Harry Brown, Frederick Hobson, Filip Konowal, Robert Hanna and Okill Massey Learmonth. During a bitter 10-day struggle—from Aug. 15-25, 1917—the Canadian Corps overran Hill 70, a treeless hillock on the north side of the French mining centre of Lens. The corps suffered nearly 9,200 casualties, among them four of the six Victoria Crosses awarded in that gory battle. The ages of the six recipients ranged from 19 to 41. Michael James O’Rourke, 39, had already earned the Military Medal for bravery at Monquet Farm on the Somme in 1916. From Aug. 15-17—during the first phase of the fighting around Hill 70—the former British ...

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