Monday, November 09, 2009

Tanks for the memory

Members of Lord Strathcona's Horse on their tour at Kandahar (video here):
The uneasy ride of Canada's tankers in Afghanistan
The dust, the dirt, the attacks, the roadside bombs just part of a day's work for Edmontonbased Lord Strathcona's Horse as they go about their duties

Lord Strathcona's Horse Leopard tank prowls at dawn near Masum Gar, Afghanistan, earlier this year.
Photograph by: Supplied,

In the land of guns that is Afghanistan, members of the Edmonton-based Lord Strathcona's Horse have the biggest ones around.

For six sweltering months, the 82 Edmonton based soldiers of C Squadron operated the only tanks in southern Afghanistan. On bomb-littered roads absent of any traffic rules, the Strathcona's drove their 70-tonne machines on nearly 250 missions.

Their tanks were damaged with hidden bombs numerous times, with three major incidents, severely injuring two soldiers, but they suffered no casualties during the entire tour.

From April to October, four members wrote about their experiences for The Journal [see this post]-- squadron commander Maj. John Cochrane, 40, originally from Toronto; Trooper Cory Rogers, a 21-year-old from St. Albert on his first tour; reservist Sgt. Shawn Alexander, 33, of Edmonton; and crew commander Sgt. Gregor Moon, 35, of Keswick, Ont., now a veteran of four international tours.


Not just busy on their own, the Strathcona's are also a favourite request from other countries in Afghanistan, like the United States and Britain, who have only wheeled vehicles on the ground ["Chief of the Land Staff: US Army needs tanks (or something similar) at Kandahar"] . Canadian tanks are admired in Afghanistan.

"The Americans loved having us, just because we were the biggest things out there," Sgt. Moon says. "We did an operation with the Brits, where they were dropped in by air. They loved us because we secured the area before they got there. Other countries frequently ask for our squadron's help."

That international trend should only climb with the recent influx of American soldiers into the country...
Armour from The Armorer
Update: Some great photos of Leopards in Afstan from Paul at Celestial Junk, here's one:


Blogger Agwho said...

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11:14 p.m., November 11, 2009  

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