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Month: August 2009


Health File

Brain Injuries Studied By Military The Canadian Forces is gathering data on mild traumatic brain injuries suffered on deployment, in part to guide future treatment of troops with persistent symptoms. Although sports experience shows most people with concussions fully recover in a short time, not enough is known about similar injuries in military settings, particularly those caused by blasts from improvised explosives. Soldiers are “known as wanting to tough it out and not declare symptoms,” says Dr. Bryan Garber, deployment health specialist with the Canadian Forces Health Services Group. The CF was spurred to gather its own data on mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) after reports in the United States raised fears of inadequate long-term treatment for military personnel with delay...
Air Force

The West Coast Balloon Attack: Air Force, Part 34

Commencing Nov. 3, 1944, and continuing to mid-April 1945, Japan launched between 9,000 and 10,000 incendiary balloons from their home islands in an attempt to set North America’s forests alight from Alaska to California. American and Canadian authorities imposed a news blackout on balloon arrivals to deny the enemy any intelligence about the effectiveness or non-effectiveness of the devices. This proved so successful that only one report of balloon landings filtered back to Japan, even though thousands of persons witnessed balloons passing overhead or saw balloon debris lodged in fence lines or treetops. On May 5, 1945, six Oregon picnickers were killed by a balloon-delivered bomb they had discovered. On May 22, 1945, the news blackout was lifted to warn of hazards posed by the...

The Battle For Panjwai: A Soldier’s Story

Ambush At The White School One of the first battles for the infamous white school in the Panjwai district of Afghanistan occurred on Aug. 3, 2006—one month prior to the launch of Operation Medusa, which has been the subject of a three-part series in Legion Magazine. In the August battle, Canadian soldiers fought with great courage despite being seriously outnumbered by the enemy. What follows is one soldier’s account of that chaotic situation. Master Corporal Matthew Parsons is a transplanted New Zealander who served in 9 Platoon of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. We were sitting at Forward Observation Base Spin Boldak near the Pakistan border, laughing about an infection I had in my right testicle, and the uncomfortable feeling it was giv...

A Sad State Of Affairs: Navy, Part 34

  The convoy battles of late 1941 were a defining moment for the Royal Canadian Navy, and the outcome was not good. The confusion over Allied priorities, the navy’s push to get the first corvette construction program into service, the urgent need to increase the size of the Newfoundland Escort Force (NEF) and its groups, the lingering presence of U-boats in the northwest Atlantic and the watchful—often sharply critical—gaze of its larger Allies all conspired to create the impression of a bungling, struggling young service. The situation prompted an exasperated Commodore L.W. Murray to lash out at the navy’s establishment in Halifax and the service in general, accusing both of lacking the “breadth of vision to see that the RCN’s reputation in this war depends on the success or failure...

Collapse Of The Rimini Line: Army, Part 83

Operation Olive, 8th Army’s offensive of September 1944, had been promoted as the “last lap” in a long and bloody battle to break the enemy’s Gothic Line defence. “Breaking the Gothic Line,” General Oliver Leese declared, promised to be “the beginning of the end of the German armies in Italy.” The operation itself was expected to take one or two weeks. Unfortunately, the mountain ridges stretching down from the Apennines to the narrow coastal plain provided the Germans with a series of natural fall-back positions. The Gothic Line turned out to be a superb, in-depth defensive zone protected by artillery and mortar positions located on the reverse slopes of the ridges. Long after the battle, war veterans would disagree over whether the worst fighting occurred at the Foglia River or...
O Canada

Rays Of Hope On The Sunshine Coast

In Powell River, B.C., a small balcony at the Manzanita Restaurant overlooks what was once the city’s biggest employer, the Catalyst Paper mill. By 2010, the mill will have just 350 employees, a fraction of the 5,000 people it employed when it was the world’s largest paper mill. And instead of the pungent odours it once spewed, today it emits mainly steam, because the wastewater treatment system has been upgraded. Inside the Manzanita, customers nosh on bison burgers, warm Brie, and fried local oysters with smoked paprika rémoulade. Eye-catching paintings—many for sale—line the brightly coloured walls. “There’s some incredible artist power [in the region],” says Karen Skadsheim, the restaurant’s service manager, who spent a decade working for a pulp and lumber trader before joining ...

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