Black Friday

Dreadful news from Afghanistan:

Four Canadian soldiers have been killed and another eight injured in Afghanistan in two separate improvised explosive attacks.
The dead have been identified as: Master Cpl. Scott Vernelli, 28, Cpl. Tyler Crooks, 24, Trooper Jack Bouthillier, 20, and Trooper Corey Joseph Hayes, 22.
Vernelli and Crooks died in an early morning blast at about 6:45 a.m. local time while on foot patrol in the Zhari district west of Kandahar. Another five Canadian soldiers were injured in that attack and a local interpreter was killed.
Bouthillier and Hayes were killed about two hours later when their vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb attack in the Shah Wali Kot district, about 20 kilometres northeast of Kandahar city. Three others were injured.
All the deaths occurred as the Canadians were taking part in a major operation attacking Taliban command centres and supply lines.

Damian P.

15 thoughts on “Black Friday

  1. TangoJuliette says:

    There was a big chopper order that was cancelled by the Chretien Liberals in 1993. How much a difference could these copters have made in today’s Afghanistan theatre of operations?
    If, from the very get go, troops in desert cammo, not jungle cammo, had spent more time in chopper transport rather than on road travel, would the loss of lives have been as tragically high as it is today?
    Yes. I know. Choppers get blown out of the sky. But they are also able to spot the source of enemy fire, react, evade and return devastating fire back. This can’t be done against roadside bombs. No I.E.D.s in the air – hopefully, fewer losses.
    Time to stop wringing our hands, and call a political blunder what it truly is: The tragedy of unintended consequences: yesterday’s partisan, Liberal, vote-harvesting act that now needlessly jeopardizes the lives of our brave women and men of the military, as they serve in harm’s way.
    The Liberals take credit for Canada’s strong banking sector in today’s economic woes. Now too, it is time for the Liberals to finally take responsibility for their helicopter S.N.A.F.U. of 1993.
    Now too, is the time for Canadians to understand the extent of the Liberals’ responsibility in this tragic, shameful decision. Much of Canada’s caring, sorrow and anguish today are a direct result of much careless Liberal intransigence yesterday.
    t.e.& o.e.

  2. Nicola Timmerman says:

    I agree, there is a lot of blood on that smug Chretien’s hands.
    But in tribute to our precious troops I would like to quote Winston Churchill: “All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice,honour, duty, mercy, hope”.

  3. John B says:

    Chretien did many things I disliked but getting rid of the helicopters wasn’t one of them:
    “Canada hasn’t owned Chinooks since the early 1990s, when the Mulroney government sold them to the Dutch, who are still using the same helicopters in Afghanistan. Chinooks are medium-lift helicopters, big workhorses that can carry up to 12,270 kilograms of cargo or 33 troops and their equipment.”
    The helicopters he did cancel were for the navy and Coast Guard IIRC and were a replacement for the Sea King and Labrador.

  4. Mark Collins says:

    John B: The EH 101s that Chretien cancelled had nothing to do with the Canadian Coast Guard; they were for the Air Force only (albeit the maritime version to support the Navy):
    The Mulroney govenernment had already bought, with some, er, controversy, other choppers for the CCG:
    ‘2. Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm GmbH (“MBB”) and Eurocopter Canada Limited (“Eurocopter”)
    On February 19, 1985, MBB, a West German helicopter manufacturing company, agreed to pay IAL commissions for the sale of MBB helicopters to the Canadian Government, which occurred on May 3, 1985. The Canadian Coast Guard contracted to purchase helicopters and equipment from Eurocopter Canada Limited, a Canadian subsidiary of MBB, formerly named Messerschmidt Canada Limited (the “MBB deal”). The contract contained a clause banning Eurocopter from paying bribes, commissions or other inducements to help secure the sale.’

  5. TangoJuliette says:

    John B. Re: your denying Chretien cancelling the helicopter purchase initiated by Mulroney. You see, with this new-fangled googley thingee, and access to information rules, it doesn’t take this old codger too long to check out, and prove that my recall of certain events is accurate. Or not. In this case, it’s accurate.
    Chretien *did,* in fact, blow away the choppers, leaving us with nothing – except a 2.5 billion dollar debt. Seems that ti-jean likes that number range – two, two and a half billion. Think Gun Registry. Which was supposed to come in at 1 to 2 million dollars. Think: massive effing cost over-runs.
    “. . . The Liberal leader, Jean Chrétien then the leader of the Opposition, had disparagingly referred to the EH-101 as a ‘Cadillac’ during a time of government restraint and deficit fighting. Terminating the new helicopters was one of the top priorities in the party’s election platform for the federal election. [4] Following a change of government in October 1993, the incoming Liberal Party ordered the Canadian Forces to immediately cancel the entire order, forcing the payment of cancellation fees of $500 million (CAD). . .” In addition there was a 2billion dollar penalty levied for the 20 years worth of lost maintenance contracts. Quotations from wikipedia.
    I’m sure that whatever choppers we would have acquired, some of them could have been modified, beefed up, short-time traded or temporarily switched with other allies – sorta like “loaners,”, for other, more appropriate machines.
    Hell, we’ve even rented, at great expense,heavy lift aircraft to transport Cdn. personnel, eqpt. and supplies to various internatonal disaster sites. And these rentals were obtained from Ukraine. Ukraine!??!?!!
    Yeah. Ukraine. The homeland of my long departed parents. relatives and other loved ones.
    t.e.& o.e.

  6. John B says:

    My point, which you apparently missed, is that we would have had the required transport helicopters had the Conservatives not sold them to the Dutch in the early ’90’s
    “Canada hasn’t owned Chinooks since the early 1990s, when the Mulroney government sold them to the Dutch, who are still using the same helicopters in Afghanistan. Chinooks are medium-lift helicopters, big workhorses that can carry up to 12,270 kilograms of cargo or 33 troops and their equipment.”
    “I’m sure that whatever choppers we would have acquired, some of them could have been modified, beefed up, short-time traded or temporarily switched with other allies – sorta like “loaners,”, for other, more appropriate machines.”
    Hey, why not modify a machine designed for another job (replacing Sea Kings) when the government has just sold the correct helicopter. Strange logic there Tango.
    I’m not sure what happened to the Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm helicopters but the Coast Guard is flying the CH-149 Cormorant:
    “The CH-149 Cormorant is the Canadian Forces designation for the AgustaWestland AW101 (formerly EH101), a helicopter used for air/marine search and rescue in Canada. Developed as a joint venture between Westland Aircraft in the UK and Agusta in Italy (now merged as AgustaWestland), the EH101 is a medium-lift helicopter for military applications but also marketed for civil use.”
    Note the EH-101 link. Here are a couple of good photo.

  7. Mark Collins says:

    John B: No, again. The CCG provides vessels for maritime SAR, the Air Force provides the aircraft (though the CCG choppers can assist in a pinch, they are not designed for SAR and do not carry SAR techs like the Air Force Cormorants). The CCG choppers are actually flown by Transport Canada pilots:
    “All Coast Guard helicopters are flown and serviced by Transport Canada
    employees assigned to the agency.”
    Please looks at these links for CCG helicopters–they are not Cormorants,
    and this one for the Air Force’s Cormorants:
    The CCG is a completely civilian agency under the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. I worked there for several years.

  8. TangoJuliette says:

    My records indicate 22 x Boeing [USA] CH-147 Chinooks in Cdn. Arsenal. 6 were to be deployed to Afghanistan last year.
    Whatever was sold by the chin that walks like a man was reportedly very hi-maintenance machinery.
    so we still have the situation where Brian ordered helicopters, under, what I believe to be, somewhat questionable procedures.
    Jean C’s Liberals, on the hustings and in their “Red Book,” campaigned against this order, stating that, if elected, the order would be cancelled. AND so would the then-hated GST.
    Well, we know how that turned out. Canada voted the libs in, while reducing the PC Party to two, three seats.
    Promise broken: GST survived, helping Paul and Jean, with some creative shifting of other funds, to balance the books first put into hyper-deficit, warp-speed, over-drive, by none other than P.E.T. hisself.
    Promise kept: 1993. Cancelled helicopter order. penalty for purchase cancellation: five hundered million dollars. Penalty payment for lost 20 year Helicopter Maintenance Contract: two billion, yes, that’s two billion dollars penalty.
    Overall penalty cost for jean’s partisan action: total 2.5 billion dollars in penalty costs, yet no new choppers in the mill. That’s 1993. Move up to 2002.
    2002 Chretien’s govt. starts to deploy Canadian youth to Afghanistan. Another measure of the Liberal level of military preparedness and concern? Why, let’s just send our kids into dessert war zones, but first, be sure to put Toronto’s snow shovellers out there, in Afghanistan, wearing jungle warfare cammo.
    Nothing wrong with my logic.
    “…when the government has just sold the correct helicopter. ..” the “just” you refer to, was eighteen years ago. The “correct” you allude to? Hi-maintenance “winter beaters.” Same choppers, in great shape, still on inventory. Chretien cancelled in 1993. in 2002 the new goods, would have been on-stream. Emergency modifications, jerry-rigging, crash adaptaptaion to circumstances – my experience is that the military of the 30’s to 60’s referred to this as “scrounging.” If one posesses “assets” one has greater flexibilty and negotiating leverage.
    I still maintain that JC and his crowd own the largest share of responsibility and culpability regarding our personnel injuries and deaths in Afghanistan. The liberal party, under most of it’s leaders post-WWII seemed hell bent on disarming, destroying, demonizing, demoralizing and debillitating the men and women that make up our Candian armed forces.
    Really, nothing new on that account. My 1960 boot camp experience, and all training afterwards, in various locations proved to be real eye-openers.
    Many of my1960 instructors, surviving personnel of the teen-age class of 1939 – 1945 circa WWII, were living in run-down BaseTMQ’s and PMQ’s with their families. Their wives were obliged to resort to local gov’t. handouts and food stamps for their families’ survival.
    QOR of C 2BN Depot 1960. Guys who had been 18, 19 y.o. survivors of D-Day, living on food stamps! Took Dief a bit to clean up this egregious travesty of Liberal ideology.
    t.e. & o.e.

  9. Mark Collins says:

    TangoJuliette: The Air Force now has only six Chinooks, all Deltas, at Kandahar:
    The government plans to buy 16 Chinook Foxtrots, but that contract has been in the works for coming up to three years now:
    Not exactly urgent progress by this government. The C-130J Hercules contract, on the other hand, with through in the er, lightning speed of just over a year after it was effectively decided to acquire the plane:

  10. John B says:

    Mark: You’re kind of splitting hairs on the Cormorants. They are search and rescue machines – it doesn’t really matter which government department owns and operates them.
    Sweet Baby Jesus, when I look at the Coast Guard’s fleet of machines I now know why sailors keep the U.S. Coast Guard’s number on speed dial if they need help. All I see is “marine pollution surveillance” and “shore-based ice surveillance, navigation aid maintenance” – isn’t “Coast Guard” a bit misleading. Maybe they could moonlight on traffic reporting and make a buck or two.

  11. TangoJuliette says:

    Mark: Looks like different sources of info on Chinooks. Probably just as well.
    I think, that at times such as these, a little bit of circumspection should be in order. This ‘cone of silence’ or something like an official secrets act[?] perhaps, should govern all information dealing with military hardware, assets, materiel and personnel – especially pertaining to ops.status, readiness, effectiveness, locations and availability.
    I remember WWII slogans like “Loose lips sink ships.” We’ve got far too much info, far too readily accessible by anyone with a laptop and the ability to easily plug into somthing like “www.blab@toomuch/key/info/” access.
    t.e. & o.e.

  12. Mark Collins says:

    John B: Just that it’s important to get the facts right. The CCG’s roles are those assigned to it by the government, since it assumed its present form when formally created in 1962 (then in the Department of Transport; it shifted to DFO in 1995:
    “While it has no formal mandate in the area, Coast Guard is being asked increasingly to contribute to Canada’s maritime security agenda.”
    I agree that compared to the USCG the “Guard” in the broad military and security sense is something of a misnomer for the CCG. But that is simply the way things are. I would urge you to read this post at “The Torch” to get a fuller picture:
    “What to do with the Canadian Coast Guard?”

  13. John B says:

    Mark: This is what I’mereferring to with respect to the Coast Guard’s ability to do its proper job:
    “Rescue ship reaches sailor adrift in Atlantic”
    Cool – coast guard rescue – read on:
    “A U.S. coast guard cutter reached Jean Raymond Collon and his sailboat Grail Pilgrin on Friday morning.”
    “Collon was on his way to Bermuda from Halifax when his engine failed about 400 kilometres east of Cape Cod.”
    “He called the rescue co-ordination centre in Halifax, which notified the U.S. Coast Guard in Boston.”
    OK – this Quebec sailor (who leaves for Bermuda in December, but that’s another issue) is rescued. What did the U.S. Coast Guard do:
    “While on a routine patrol (deployment) we were diverted to evacuate
    the sailor onboard the S/V Grail Pilgrin. We were 240NM west of the S/
    V Grail Pilgrin when the call came in. We made best speed to his
    position where we discovered winds out of the East holding steady at
    45Kts gusting up to 60kts. The wind waves were reaching 5ft in height
    and we recorded swells reaching 18FT in height. To give you an idea
    of how bad it was out there our 270′ ship at one time took a 32 degree
    roll to starboard. Most ships today are designed to withstand a roll
    of up to 45 degrees before structural damage starts to occur so if we
    took a 32 degree roll ..”
    The U.S. Coast Guard motored a 270 foot cutter about 275 statute miles to rescue a Canadian sailor (who was likely closer to Canadian waters) AFTER being called to do so by the JRCC. Rather pathetic when you think about it. I can only hope the U.S. Coast Guard billed the Canadian government for this rescue.

  14. John B says:

    Sorry for the typo:
    “This is what I’m referring to with respect to the Coast Guard’s ability to do its proper job:”

  15. Mark Collins says:

    John B: It would seem to me the fellow was clearly in an area of US responsibility for marine rescue. The fellow probably called Halifax because he had the number, and they properly notified the USCG. No big deal.

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