Archive for: ‘June 2019’

the wave that did not come

23/06/2019 Posted by admin


 This is really sad. I debated with myself about writing it because it is not nice and I don’t like things like that.

 On the other hand it gives you, and me, insight into a world we think we know, and then find out we don’t.

  Last Thursday I was at the South Terminal of the airport where the Canucks were landing. I had nothing to do with the sport’s coverage. I was only there to edit that day’s story about the car detailer who liked to help people and I was going to work in one of the mobile editing trucks.

 But was stil exciting to watch about fifty fans on one side of a chain link fence shouting for their team. There were some young Sikhs in the crowd waving flags. They had tied their heads with blue material, making turbans that were the Canuck’s colour.

  There were some girls in Canuck’s jerseys. There were a few cameras poking through the fence. It was a small crowd with lots of yelling, chanting, banner waving and clapping. To get there they had to drive to the furthest back part of the airport, behind the old terminal building and then down a construction road. 

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  The players got off the plane in their private area, walked down the stairs that were wheeled out for them and then they walked to their cars that were parked in a neat row.

  One player, just one, I don’t know who because I was too far away to see his face, but just one player waved to the fans. The rest ignored them. The fans kept shouting and cheering, but mostly to the backs of heads of the players as they got in their cars.

  Then the players pulled out of the restricted area and drove out onto the road with police guarding the way. The fans ran across a field to get near the road. I could not see if any waved from behind their windshields I hoped they did. But they were driving fast.

   The bad thing about telling you is it takes some of the royalness out of the royalty of the players. The good part is the same thing.

  When the parade comes, which it will,  they will wave to the hundreds of thousands who come to watch after they have won four out of seven.. They should have done the same to the 50 who came to see them even though they had just lost two games. That takes true royalty. 


Who wants ice cream?

23/06/2019 Posted by admin

Walking back from the American mess hall on the base, after eating a fairly heavy lunch of chicken and mashed potatoes, I was confronted by a very odd scene. 

Just a few steps from my sleeping tent an ice cream truck had pulled up. Yes, the same kind of ice cream truck that would greet hordes of excited kids on a hot summer day. The same kind of ice cream truck that serves favourites like rocket popsicles, that drip down your hands in blue and red rivers of food colouring or scoops of strawberry, chocolate and vanilla ice cream.

Even though it seemed out of place on the grounds of a military base in the middle of Afghanistan, care had been taken to make sure it wasn’t too out of place. Like any of the other military vehicles that are painted in the color of sand at Kandahar Airfield (KAF), it was fully decked out in camouflage displaying the words “mind the troops.”

Courtesy of the British, this ice cream truck provides a cool respite from the relentless heat to those living at KAF.


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While ice cream trucks in a war zone are not a normal occurrence, its presence here shows that despite KAF being a staging ground for troops engaged in battle, there is a sense that life here can’t only be about the war. 

Deployments can be anywhere from six months to more than a year, and that’s why maybe an ice cream truck isn’t so out of place after all.

Melanie is Global National’s research supervisor, based in Vancouver. Follow her on Twitter: @emmyjd2.



Summerside Show of Force Weekend

23/06/2019 Posted by admin

This past weekend the Snowbirds were part of the Sumerside Show of Force Airshow.   Most airshows these days are a combination of civilian acts and Military displays.  Summerside’s objective was to exclusively use the military.  The intent was to celebrate the fact that a large portion of the CF consists of people from the Maritimes.

Saturday gave us clear skies and the whole day went as planned.  The Snowbirds were the closing act and we were able to carry out a high show for the folks who turned out.  The winds had picked up earlier in the afternoon, so Mother Nature offered us up some significant mechanical turbulence that kept us working to remain in tight formation.   After we landed the team signed autographs until the last person made it through the line.  What I learnt was that this was the first time many of the young people in the area had seen the Snowbirds.  I later found out that it had been over 10 years since the last visit by the team.   

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While walking back to the car at the end of the day Marco and I spotted a Leopard tank driving on the far side of the aircraft ramp. I’d never seen the Leopard tank in action and the kid in me couldn’t resist seeing the 40 ton earth rumbling machine motor around.  We approached the cad pad soldiers’ in the area I politely asked what the chance for a ride was.  A few minutes later we were thundering across the field doing donuts! I was awesome.  You could only imagine the disappointed look on our teammate’s eyes when they found out what they missed out on.  

Sunday nights are typically the night the performers and the organizers get together and unwind.  While there, I began talking with the Captain of the HMCS Summerside.  After a bit, a couple of us were invited to visit the ship the next day to watch one of their training missions.  It was a chance for me to see how the Navy operates.  I’d flown over the Navy many times, so I didn’t want to pass up the chance to see how the Captain and his crew operate.  No matter who you belong to, the military is about training.  Training for just about any scenario one could think of.  The exercise for today’s trip was to react to a man overboard situation.  It was impressive to see that in a matter of six minutes the Captain instructed his crew to spin around a 1000 ton vessel, deploy a zodiac and have the soaked sailor back on board.   

The combination of great people, tanks, a huge ship and of course an airshow made for a great weekend.  Our job as Snowbirds is to represent all the people in the Canadian Forces.  This weekend helped in that I’m now better equipped to tell people how great the Army and Navy are.  Canadians should be proud of the work that these people do on a daily basis.  Bagotville is the next stop.  I can’t wait to see who we’ll meet next weekend. 

SB 6 




23/06/2019 Posted by admin

Last week we were in St-Hubert.  There we focused on two objectives. The first was to conduct and flat show for some 1500 plus aspiring air cadets. Many of our team members were once air cadets, so this stop was a way to inspire a new generation of cadets to go after their dreams.  Our second objective was to reach out to new groups of people that otherwise wouldn’t see the team perform.  Many of the guys on the team are avid motorcycle riders. I myself raced motocross for years; others participate in mini road racing, the rest ride for recreation.  What better group to target than a group of people who navigate their way through life manipulating machines than motosport fans.  The similarities between how the military uses high horsepower, high energy machines and people who are involved in racing are distinctly familiar. 

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Last weekend Mirabel hosted the first round of the Parts Canada Superbike race.  Since Mirabel is a short hop away from St-Hubert it made sense that we conduct a flypast on the Superbike practice day.  A few phone calls to our Headquarters and several e-mails to the organizers and it was a go.  We carried out both objectives in one mission.  We landed and met with the wide eyed, grinning cadets . The next day we were invited out to the ICAR race track to watch the races.  We were treated with open arms and the feedback from the racers and the fans exceeded our expectations.  Funny enough I ran into some old friends from my racing days in Saskatchewan.  They were the McCormick family, Grant, Michelle, and their son Brett.  Brett as it turns out is BMW Canada’s top rider and a contender to the Superbike title.  We ended up spending the day sharing stories and watching some exciting racing that had us on the edge of our seats.  Overall, I can’t say enough about how great of a combination it was to have the Snowbirds be a part of the motosport scene.  Perhaps we’ll see more of this combination in the future?

SB 6 out 



23/06/2019 Posted by admin

Busy week 

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The last few weeks have flown by (no pun intended.) The team has bounced from Kingston to St-Jean, over to Bagotville, back Eastward to St-Hubert and to our current location in North Bay, Ont.  We’ve carried out a flurry of flypasts for Canada’s newly graduated Officers from the CF’s Military Colleges in both Kingston and St-Jean. Since we’re still early into our show season we still need to practice..a lot.  Coming across unrestricted airspace to practice at isn’t so easy to come by East of Moose Jaw.  North Carolina was the last time we flew a high show, so an airport at a military base in is indispensable in keeping the rust at bay.  It’s only now that I realized how lucky the Snowbirds are to have the open airspaces south of Moose Jaw during our training season. That’s where Bagotville arrived into the picture.  It allowed us to practice; it also gave us the opportunity to re-connect with our colleagues from 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron.  Upon our arrival into the Saguenay airspace we were met by Canada’s finest fighter, the CF-18. Much of the Squadron was still deployed overseas supporting the mission over Libya. Rest assured though that Canada’s finest are doing their best to see that the mission succeeds.  To express our appreciation we ended up taking some of the guys who just got back for a ride. It also served as a way to motivate some them to take an interest in being future Snowbird pilots.  Sharing stories, hearing about their missions and shooting the breeze with some close friends made to stop memorable. 

 It was awesome being welcomed back to the region where I’d spent my first flying tour at.  The region was a nice as I remembered it and the people were as kind as ever.  Dinner that first night forced all of us the practice our second language, which in turn was the source of a lot of laughs.  French for me is a perishable skill (as Scott Mclean graciously pointed during one of the Snowbird 6 episodes,) but after a couple of days it comes back. Don’t get me wrong I still raised a few eyebrows when I ordered my food; luckily I got what I ordered (most of the time). 

We’ll be back in the Saguenay in a few weeks for an official air show.  Hopefully, the food orders will go smoother. 

SB 6 Out