A Reservist's Tale Of A Tour


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When I got back to Halifax after being dismissed from Gagetown for the holidays, I immediately set to trying to get my leave schedule as synchronized with my wife’s vacation days as possible. Thursday night when I got home she told me she’d found a last minute five-star all-inclusive trip to Cuba, leaving the following Tuesday.

I immediately started trying to negotiate for some leave schedule that would allow for it, but alas, nothing even after Christmas dinner. Monday, I breezed into the office and almost immediately into a conversation about training going on between Christmas and New Year’s Eve for a recruit course and our Mountain Operations Platoon.

Turned out that they needed more staff for the four days of planned training, and I immediately volunteered, getting a leave pass for the rest of the week and plane tickets to Cuba leaving the following day. We didn’t get the five star steal, but a nice four star, leaving from Toronto so we visited some old friends on the way there and back.

Had a great trip, nice to relax and enjoy some sun,  wander around Old Havana, and not really care about much of anything.

I came back expecting to spend those days between Christmas and New Year working. Specifically, they needed someone to help run rifle ranges, because the other officers who were to be there had other things to do. Not really a hard go. The problem, of course, is that I had left most of my cold weather kit in Gagetown. So I called a friend and asked her if I could borrow… well… everything.  And she hooked me up (and gave my wife a quick lesson on Afghan carpets, and pashminas). Off I went.

The CF all but shuts down over the holidays due to leave. Everything goes to minimum manning. When we arrived we were basically the only people at this camp, the Land Force Atlantic Area Training Centre Detachment at Camp Aldershot. Aldershot is about an hour from Halifax in the Annapolis Valley just outside Kentville, Nova Scotia.

We ordered all the necessary accommodations, meals, etc. All went well on arrival until we realized that the heat in the staff quarters was off. My room the first  night was a balmy 7°C. In the morning, it got more interesting. I was supposed to be running a PWT-3 range. The ammo techs first didn’t show up at their appointed time, then we found out that for whatever reason, there wasn’t enough ammunition to do the shooting that was planned. Some request didn’t get processed properly. Then it was decided to cancel the range altogether. The same day, the recruits were going to the gas hut, and the instructor running it and the Deputy Commanding Officer of my unit showed up. They said, “Well, you may as well go home.” (the subtext was “why did you even come?!”) So I packed up my kit and off I headed home for some nice relaxing days off. It worked out really nicely.

New Years Day I headed down to my parents’ winter home in Yuma, Arizona for a week – I’ve been enjoying myself here, riding around the desert in a dune buggy, visiting Mexico for shrimp tacos (while my mom got her prescriptions refilled), and so on – just enjoying some sun. I also visited the US Army’s Yuma Proving Ground, a massive sprawling training and research facility. I’ve been playing with the new Kindle Fire I bought, and just relaxing. My folks have been asking what I want them to send me “over there”, so I’ve sort of set up a standing order for things I’m interested in having in care packages.

I’ll be home next week to work at my home unit (which I don’t think will actually be anything!), and then after a week it’s back to Gagetown to bash on with the last stretch of training before we go. After a week of sunny days I’m not looking forward to seeing the snow.

Happy New Year everyone. 2012 is going to be interesting.

Written by Nick

January 6, 2012 at 10:31 pm

3 Responses

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  1. All the best Nick. God speed!
    Bruce and Joy

    Bruce Cowan

    January 7, 2012 at 2:00 am

  2. As some other guy once said, May you live in interesting times!

    I hope that 2012 is one of the most exciting years you have.



    January 9, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    • You do know that was a curse, right Sir? I saw you on TV the other day (well, I saw the clip) – well done getting some local attention.


      January 10, 2012 at 8:49 pm

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