Monday, November 09, 2009

The "new" veterans

Georgetown Independent writer Ted Brown touched upon an interesting theme in my local paper this week, and to their credit, his editors put the story on Page One. Ted profiled one of the "new" veterans, Private Brad Johnston, 1RCR:

“For me it was a good experience,” he continued. “It had its hard times, it had its fun times, and working with the ANA (Afghan National Army) was an interesting exercise. They’re a good bunch of guys and just want to do the same thing we’re doing over there.”

In retrospect, Johnston says there is a bond made when soldiers serve and fight together, under intense conditions.

“It’s like a Band of Brothers type thing,” he said, “We build friendships and trusts that will last a lifetime, we’re friends, we watched out for each other while in danger.”

Moreover, Brown was given additional space to comment further in the Opinions section:

It’s been years since I started writing about veterans— I guess that’s my passion.

For the most part, my writings have been about Allied World War vets, those who served in the First or Second World Wars.


And today, on the front of this paper, I’ve told the story of a present day vet — Brad Johnston, a soldier who returned in the spring from an eight-month tour of duty in Afghanistan.

This was a unique story for me. It was the first time the soldier I interviewed was young enough to be my son — not my father or grandfather.


After talking to him, and later playing back the recording, I could feel that maturity, that grown-up thing, just in his voice.

I thought of all the others I’d interviewed over the years, those who saw action in a war, 90, 70, 20 years ago — or simply a few months ago.

I’m sure they all share that same phenomenon. Yes, they came home, a little older, a little more serious, and certainly changed.

Face it — how can a human being can go through those experiences, watching people die, dodging bullets and constantly living in the midst of danger — and not be changed?

This weekend, as we gather to honour and remember those who didn’t come back, take a moment to think about the ones who did.

"Take a moment to think about the ones who did."

In that context, I'd like to suggest that any readers in the Ottawa area who can make it should attend this CDA event tomorrow:

The CDA Institute, in collaboration with the Department of National Defence, is pleased to invite you to a special Remembrance Week event with Captain (ret'd) Trevor Greene and Captain Kevin Schamuhn.

In March 2006, just three months into his deployment to Afghanistan as a Civil Military Cooperation Officer, Canadian Forces Captain Trevor Greene was severely wounded when he was struck by a Taliban axe while participating in a meeting (shura) with village elders. Since this time, Capt Greene's fight to recover - with the support of his fiancé Debbie, friends and family - has been one of strength, compassion and determination. He has overcome enormous obstacles, has been the subject of a Gemini-winning CTV documentary entitled "Peace Warrior" and has dedicated himself to continue the mission that no man, woman or child is oppressed. Capt Kevin Schamuhn was the Platoon Commander who was with Capt Greene at the time of the incident. Capt Schamuhn's immediate reaction to neutralize the threat and evacuate Capt Greene to medical attention was instrumental in saving his life.

Capt (now retired) Trevor Greene and Capt Schamuhn will be in Ottawa on the day before Remembrance Day, to share their experiences with Canadians as an inspiring story of motivation and healing and to contribute to increasing public awareness of CF veterans and of the role of Canadians aiding to bring stability and development assistance to the people of Afghanistan.

Here are your co-ordinates:

Date: Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Time: 9:00am to 10:30am
Venue: NDHQ Warrant Officers' and Sergeants'/Chiefs' and Petty Officers' Mess, 4 Queen Elizabeth Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K2P 2H9

All are welcome, media included. Registration is free, but mandatory for those wishing to attend - please register online at:

Pitter, patter.


Post a Comment

<< Home