Defence Today

Defence Today

The Canada Forces Today: Part 1 of 4 – A Climate Of Change

by Tom MacGregor Legion Magazine is pleased to present a four-part series that takes a close-up look at today’s Canadian Armed Forces. We begin with an overview on how the Department of National Defence is attempting to cut costs while maintaining a combat-ready force. Reflecting on a career that began more than 30 years ago, Brigadier-General Jean-Michel Comtois notes, "I don’t think young people today going into the military have the same expectations as they did when I first joined. When I was first getting in, things didn’t change." But life at Canada’s Department of National Defence is indeed changing. It’s changing rapidly, visibly–and awkwardly. Under the key phrase of renewal, the department is into its fourth year of a thorough examination of itself and the way it does ev...
Defence Today

Preserving The Atlantic Lifeline

by Commander Tony German The month of May marks the 55th anniversary of the longest continuous battle of WW II--the Battle of the Atlantic. In this article, author Tony German takes a look back at the Canadian contribution to victory at sea. On Sept. 4, 1939, the day after Great Britain declared war on Nazi Germany, the Cunard liner Athenia sank in the Atlantic Ocean after being torpedoed by a German U-boat. Winston Churchill, back in his Great War Cabinet post as First Lord of the Admiralty, immediately ordered convoys. Canada joined Britain at war on Sept. 10 and six days later the first transatlantic convoy of the war--HX-1--sailed from Halifax. The Battle of the Atlantic had begun. Throughout the war--from that first sailing in 1939 to the end of war in Europe on May 8, ...
Defence Today

Peacekeeping Operations: A Progress Report

by Ray Dick "It has been pretty busy around here," says Lieutenant-Colonel Roy Forestell as he shuffles through operations reports on Canadian troops serving on peacekeeping missions and other operations around the world. In a quieter area of the tightly locked National Defence operations centre in downtown Ottawa, with a view through a glass partition of a world map and clocks showing the various time zones, the senior staff officer sips a coffee and discusses the latest mission by Canadian Forces on the international scene. It was late February and the Forces had just dispatched 400 personnel to the Persian Gulf as part of the threatened attack by U.S.-led forces against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The threat was in response to Iraq’s refusal to allow United Nation’s weap...
Defence Today

Military And Legion Respond To “Bosnia Without The Bullets”

by Ray Dick It started with a whimper, a dark omen on a weather radar screen that was tracking steadily from the southern U.S. towards the Canadian Great Lakes region, and ended with a crippling bang that caused half a billion dollars damage, at least 20 deaths and left more that a million people without heat, light and transportation in southeastern Ontario,Quebec and New Brunswick. This is Bosnia without the bullets," said one soldier, who recently returned from the former Yugoslavia, about the devastation he found in the Montreal area from the worst ice storm in recent history. The soldier was quoted by Chief of Defence Staff Maurice Baril, on one of several trips he made to areas devastated by the storm that struck in early January. More than 15,500 troops, including ...
Defence Today

Windsor’s Table Of Honor

by Tom MacGregor A bitter chill blew off the Detroit River as Legionnaires prepared to march to the Essex County War Memorial for the annual ceremony of remembrance in Windsor, Ont. The place where the Legionnaires gathered was Dieppe Gardens, a narrow waterfront park in the city’s downtown, across from the Detroit skyline. "Dieppe means a lot to Windsor," says Ontario Command’s Zone A-1 Commander Bill Smith while driving between various remembrance events in the zone. "It was our boys who got the worst of it." The reference is to the Essex Scottish, the Windsor-area militia unit now known as the Essex and Kent Scottish. The unit was assigned to Red Beach, the eastern flank of the disastrous 1942 raid by mostly Canadian forces on the main beach of the French town. Twenty min...
Defence Today

Swapping Military Jobs

by Ray Dick There was a storm raging on the North Atlantic when crew members of HMCS Calgary got the call. The Greek-registered bulk carrier ship Mount Olympus was foundering and in danger of sinking in heavy seas approximately 2,000 kilometres southeast of Halifax. The 30-man crew, most of them Romanians, wanted off. Among those preparing for the rescue mission as the Canadian ship raced to within helicopter range of the stricken vessel was United States Navy Lieutenant-Commander Bill Erhardt. The American was on the ship because he was participating in a Canadian Forces program that few Canadians have heard anything about. It’s called the Canadian Forces exchange program and at last count more than 180 Canadian Forces service personnel were involved in exchanges with armed fo...

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