Above image: Minister of National Defence Anita Anand and Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Wayne Eyre, concluded a tour to several countries to recognize the service and sacrifice of soldiers who spent the holidays away from loved ones this year. Image courtesy of CAF.
While Canadian families came together this holiday season from coast to coast to coast there was one notable exception: the families of hundreds of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members deployed overseas missed their loved ones.
On Dec. 20, Minister of National Defence Anita Anand and Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Wayne Eyre, concluded a tour to several countries to recognize the service and sacrifice of soldiers who spent the holidays away from loved ones this year.
“As 2022 draws to a close and as we all mark the holiday season, I extend my sincere and heartfelt good wishes to all members of the Canadian Armed Forces. Day in and day out, they work tirelessly to keep Canadians safe. During this holiday season, and always, we are immensely grateful for their contributions to Canada. I am especially grateful to all members of our military who are deployed far from home during this holiday season. On behalf of all Canadians, I thank them for their sacrifices to defend Canada, our Allies, and our way of life. I wish them all a very happy holiday season, and a successful new year,” said Anita Anand, Minster of National Defence.
“Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop”
During their visit to Scotland, Anand and Gen. Eyre visited the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Air Mobility Detachment in Prestwick.
This recently established Air Mobility Detachment is not only supporting operations in Ukraine but also partners in other third-country locations and other CAF missions throughout the region, operating on its motto: Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop.
This RCAF Detachment consists of three CC-130 Hercules aircraft, access to CC-177 Globemaster aircraft, and approximately 60 personnel.
“Minister Anand and General Eyre thanked members of the RCAF Detachment for their unwavering dedication to supporting the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and for having delivered over 5.5 million pounds of aid,” stated a press release from DND.
Operations in Kuwait
While stopped in Kuwait, Minister Anand and the CDS visited Ali Al Salem Air Base and thanked CAF members deployed on Operation IMPACT. Although Operation IMPACT, the CAF’s stability and security mission in the Middle East, deploys troops across the Middle East, a significant posting site for Canadian soldiers is Kuwait.
Also, while in Kuwait, the two officials met with Kuwait’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and Chief of the General Staff, Lt.-Gen. Sheikh Khaled Saleh Al-Sabah.
During this visit, Kuwaiti officials highlighted their appreciation for CAF support. In turn, Anand and Eyre also thanked Kuwait for their assistance in evacuating Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and eligible Afghan nationals from Afghanistan in 2021, according to the DND press release.
Final stop in Jordan
Besides meeting with CAF personnel stationed in Jordan under Operation IMPACT, Anand and Eyre both met with His Majesty King Abdullah II, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Maj.-Gen. Yousef Huneiti.
The meeting was an opportunity for the two sides to discuss their partnership and the CAF’s work to build partner capacity with the Jordanian Armed Forces.
Canadian military members deployed to Jordan work as trainers, advisors, and mentors for key capabilities “such as combat service support and assist with the implementation of a gender perspective in military operations,” according to DND.
Overall, the tour to visit troops was considered successful and a great opportunity to let soldiers know how much they mean to Canadians back home.
“Our armed forces members make tremendous sacrifices, each and every day, as they serve Canada at home and abroad. I am immensely proud of their dedication and professionalism and humbled by the many vital contributions they are making while away from their family and friends this holiday season. The Canadian Armed Forces Chief Warrant Officer and I were honoured to recognize their efforts and bring them our personal best wishes during these visits, and we sincerely thank them and their families once again for their service and sacrifice. I wish all of our deployed sailors, soldiers and aviators a happy and healthy holiday season and all the very best for 2023,” said Gen. Eyre.