William H.A. Willbond MSM, CD

THE RCR[1] PLAN

The RCR they have a plan
To keep the peace in Afghanistan
When they landed over there
Patrols soon got the 10-mile stare

Searching caves for the Taliban
Is the duty of the Rifleman
Crawling into caves with a .45
Hope each man comes out alive

Over hill and dale they roll
Following men on foot patrol
Mounting sweeps of anti-terror
Leaves little room for human error

These fine troops of the RCR
Travel about in a LAV III Car
Young Canadians, they serve with pride
As al-Qaeda lurks on the mountainside

Parents and wives they worry at home
As o’er the Afghan hills they roam
I wish success to the RCR plan
As they keep the peace in Afghanistan!

Author’s Note: God Bless the peacekeepers:

Each Peacekeeping Mission is a separate war. Our Intelligence Operators estimate 5 to 10 or these soldiers will be body bag casualties during this current peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan. Twenty UN troops have been killed over there already. I hope and pray that these stats are wrong.

I hate it when the press takes photos of our lads with the 10-mile stare – yes they are afraid – yes we know that some of them might be killed (and so do they) so why can’t the media leave them alone?

Photos on the front pages of our newspapers only tend to make wives and mothers worry; of course, this is only my opinion, and opinions are like assholes, everybody has one.

Canadians Mount Anti-terror Sweep

Canadian 3RCR battlegroup arrive at a suspected Taliban village
Members of the Canadian 3RCR battlegroup arrive at a suspected Taliban village on the lookout for hostile fire during a reconnaissance mission near Kabul, Afghanistan. Stephen Thorne/Canada Press

The Time Colonist: Friday August 29, 2003
By Chris Wattie: CanWest News Service

Canadian Soldiers Search Caves for Taliban/al-Qaeda
Canadian soldiers, automatic weapons at the ready, look into a cave as they search for suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda incursion points during a reconnaissance mission near Kabul, Afghanistan. Stephen Thorne/Canadian Press
Kabul: The Canadian battlegroup in Afghanistan extended its reach on Thursday in an operation that sent reconnaissance teams, infantry, and armour units staging out of their usual patrol area in an extended buffer zone.

An LAV III armoured vehicle and a section of infantry probed into the area known as the western district, an extension of the Canadian sector which stretches past the outskirts of Kabul into the hills and mountains around the city, while the battlegroup’s reconnaissance platoon scouted out much of the remaining area.

The patrol reached the limits of the area controlled by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)

Sgt Todd Hunter of Placentia Bay, Nfld., led his section from the rear of their LAV and on a dismounted patrol along an isolated, pitch-black country lane west of the village of Paghman, in the extreme northern end of the Canadian sector.

His patrol was part of Operation Wolverine, a two-day sweep across the mountainous western district that includes longer-range patrols accompanied by mine-clearing vehicles. For security reasons, the Canadian Forces restricted reporting on the operation until it was complete late Thursday.

Hunt’s “brick” of four infantrymen moved down a narrow track which led from the Canadian area of operations and into the relatively unknown western district, with the massive LAV not far behind.

“If we make contact the important thing is to get to cover,” he said casually “which in this case is the right side of the road. The LAV’s right behind us; it’ll come up and give us cover.”

The vehicle’s night-vision sights can determine the range of a target within a metre and provided so detailed a picture that Hunt and his mater corporal spent a moment arguing in the turret over whether a group of armed Afghan militiamen, almost a kilometre away, were wearing American or British-style camouflage uniforms.

“All quiet here,” he declared after several minutes surveying the rolling farmland and occasional bombed-out buildings.

LtCol Don Denne, the commander of the Canadian battlegroup in Kabul, said his patrols wanted information on the sparsely settled regions farther from the capital.

“We’re identifying trails, possible missile launching sites (and) just getting an idea who’s out there.” He said.

Operation Wolverine’s purpose was to help Canadian commanders anticipate any threat from al-Qaeda, the former Taliban regime or other guerrilla forces that in recent weeks have mounted attacks, bombings and ambushes with increasing regularity in the provinces outside Kabul.

After Hunt’s soldiers tumbled back into the rear of the LAV and returned to the relative safety of the main Canadian sector, Pte Alan Rath, 21, of North Vancouver, the gunner in the vehicle, leaned down to remark the patrol had been under observation for at least part of the time in the mountains.

“There were a bunch of guys up on the ridge over you with AK-47s… just watching.” He said, adding with a slow smile: “It’s all right; I had a bead on them the whole time with the 26 (millimetre gun).”