Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A message for Cpl. Rob Furlong, et al...

It may be doubtful that young Mr. Furlong or his comrades will ever read these words. This is intended not only for Robert Furlong, but also for Graham Ragsdale, Dennis Eason, Arron Perry and Tim McMeekin. To you all who, for however long formed such a cohesive, disciplined and lethal unit. I want to go on record as stating the following:

There is no rhyme or reason, for the abuses you and your fellow soldiers have suffered at the hands of your so-called superiors. What precipitated the accusations you faced, one can only guess. Was it jealousy? Bad blood? Who can say... It would take a small, small man indeed who would seek to tarnish the records of such consummate professionals, simply because they themself are not up to par, or perhaps simply did not get to partake in the tasking that fate ordained was to be for you and you alone. It seems supremely ironic that our training system (run by NCOs...) is still capable of producing such outstanding warriors, but our military has no idea what to do with them after the mission has been completed.
The hypocrisy of such a situation is almost unbearable. Perhaps if we had a few more real soldiers and/or military men in our upper echelons, as opposed to scads of political appointees. Your exploits, the manner in which your team carried out it's assigned missions, all reflect nothing but the highest credit on yourselves, your unit and on the Canadian military in general. Your particular engagement with the enemy did not win the war, or even perhaps a battle. What it did accomplish however, was to serve notice that we are back as a fighting nation. As a worthy contributor to world stability and peace. You had singlehandedly at that time, restored the combat credibility of the Canadian Military.

You already know the gratitude and admiration in which you are held by our American allies. Surely you must know that all enlisted ranks of the CF are equaly proud of you, as one might imagine. I would even go so far as to speculate that most of the officer cadré (Combat Arms) would have to accord you your due, if they were the least bit worthy of their commission. Any serving member who would not accord you the accolades of which you all are so richly deserving, or who would do so begrudgingly, is not worthy of the uniform they wear.
You know as well as any one can, that the chance of an officer admitting to any wrongdoing in the fiasco which followed your deployment, are infinitessimal. We have had some senior officers who were willing to shoulder responsibility in the name of others, in recent memory... but they are all gone now. So for as much as an official apology would be welcome, I'm sure... I don't see it in the cards. The egos of those involved are simply too big and fragile to be overcome. Typical, really... They are those who can only think that they're you. They can only hope and wish to leave the type of imprint on Canadian, on World military history that you have.

You, gentlemen, are legend!

I salute you, as well as those who have followed you since into Afghanistan, ever broadening our reputation. Who carry out their patrols on a daily business, unknown to the multitudes here at home, who endure the tedium, the boredom, punctuated by moments of terror, fear and pain. Who soldier on in spite of everything, committed to one another, their unit, the regiment, the mission. To them I wish a safe and speedy return to our home soil.

For you, Mr. Furlong, Mr. Ragsdale and Mr. Perry, I thank you for your service and wish you all a peaceful and rewarding life on civvie street. Please remember that for as important and praise-worthy as your performance in the Shah i Kot Valley was, it is not nor should be, the single moment that will define your lives. That moment still awaits you, as you reintegrate yourselves into the non-military world. You all still have so much to contribute to this country, which you served with such gallantry and distinction.


Peggi said...

Just was looking into this story. Did you know it was Tim McMeekin, one of the snipers, who reported the "body desecration". Did you know he was made the sniper team leader when Ragsdale was demoted? Read the official reports.

Ex Patricia said...

I just came across this and, I couldn't have said it better. They truly are what inspires a nation.
I was at Wainwright with Rob, Tim, and Arron. I ended up graduating in the next class. At that time Tim was a very good friend as he bunked right across from me. I can remember the x-lg pizzas and the KFC we ate by the bucket. They were a great bunch of guys and I still think about them even to this day.

It is too bad the way the "brass" fucked them over, but in the end, they didn't need shit from them anyway. As you said, they are proving to be more valuable out on civie street helping others realize their greatness....that is the type of guys they were when I trained with them, and even more so the men they are now.

I may live in the US now with my family, but I am proud to have been a Patricia, and to have had the pleasure of knowing such men. My stint with them may not have ended the way I wanted, but man did we have a blast.

Once a Patricia, always a Patricia.

Brent Weaving CF 89-92 - 1 VP, A-coy