On March 20, Chief of the Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance shared a letter on Twitter addressed to the Canadian Armed Forces Community.
Shared on social media, the letter begins by thanking the community for their quick response.
“From the superb reaction to repatriate and assist in quarantine of returning passengers at Trenton, to significant change to our training routine and our continued mission to defend Canada and conduct overseas operations you have done extremely well and I thank you,” reads the letter.
He noted that the community is part of a national response to ensure COVID-19 is contained and not spread as it will help the country and ensure that the medical system is not overloaded.
“As you adopt a dispersed posture at home, or are working on critical tasks with others, don’t let the physical isolation get to you. Reach out, stay connected and remember to be mindful that our obligation to conduct operation means we must preserver our force so we are healthy and ready to deploy wherever and whenever our country needs us – this includes here at home and abroad. This is your mission.”
The letter continues that as the first week of dispersion completes, the results will reveal if social distancing has been effective. General Vance notes that all military personnel and family members are part of the solution to ensure that CAF personnel are ready to respond, if and when they are needed.
The letter continues, “The actions of you and your family will have a direct impact on our ability to be ready for the unknown, and be ready for our continued missions. Should we be required, and while we monitor the situation, our contingency planning has, at its core, a reliance on well-trained and healthy troops to be there for Canadians.”
The general also noted that the community needs to face the reality that the three-week operational pause may continue if required in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus.
“This will have, and has had an impact on our training and many institutional activities. While we study to make the best decisions we can based on medical advice, we know that we will experience significant disruption to posting, courses, collective training and strategic work in procurement and force development,” reads the letter. “We will do all we can to mitigate, but the bottom line is that we must accept such disruptions as a price to pay to preserve the force and help keep Canadians safe.”
General Vance mentions the CAF community is facing unprecedented circumstances that must be taken in stride as, “We are the Canadian Armed Forces.”
Concluding, the letter reads, “We will plan confidently and respond professionally as land as we all do our part. Stay focused on the mission, and your mission is to be ready by following direction of your Commanding Officer, and keeping yourself and your family healthy.”