“Today, on Canadian Armed Forces Day, we pay tribute to our brave women and men in uniform for their service to Canada, and thank them for the dedication, skill, and humanity they demonstrate when keeping Canadians safe here at home, and around the world. “I am continually inspired by the commitment and selflessness of the members of our Canadian Armed Forces. “On behalf of all Canadians, thank you to all current and former Canadian Armed Forces members and their families for your contributions and your sacrifice. - Minister of National Defence Harjit S. Sajjan (2019)
On June 7, 2020 let’s celebrate our members of the Canadian Armed Forces, past and present, for their service in Canada during this pandemic, and abroad, keeping us safe and upholding the democratic freedoms of all Canadians. Although our celebrations will be muted, raise your flags and enjoy the privilege of reading, by downloading one of our digital resources focusing on the Canadian Armed Forces.
No Lack of Courage by Colonel Bernd Horn – “No Lack of Courage is the story of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Operation Medusa, the largely Canadian action in Afghanistan from 1 to 17 September 2006, to dislodge a heavily entrenched Taliban force in the Pashmul district of Afghanistan’s Kandahar Province. At stake, according to senior Afghan politicians and NATO military commanders, was nothing less than the very existence of the reconstituted state of Afghanistan, as well as the NATO alliance itself. In a bitterly fought conflict that lasted more than two weeks, Canadian, Afghan, and Coalition troops defeated the dug-in enemy forces and chased them from the Pashmul area. In the end, the brunt of the fighting fell on the Canadians, and the operation that saved Afghanistan exacted a great cost. However, the battle also demonstrated that Canada had shed its peacekeeping mythology and was once more ready to commit troops deliberately to combat. Moreover, it revealed yet again that Canadian soldiers have no lack of courage.”
Waiting for First Light by Romeo Dallaire - “At the heart of Waiting for First Light is a no-holds-barred self-portrait of a top political and military figure whose nights are invaded by despair, but who at first light faces the day with the renewed desire to make a difference in the world. Roméo Dallaire, traumatized by witnessing genocide on an imponderable scale in Rwanda, reflects in these pages on the nature of PTSD and the impact of that deep wound on his life since 1994, and on how he motivates himself and others to humanitarian work despite his constant struggle.”
A Soldier First by Rick Hillier – “In the summer of 2008, General Rick Hillier retired as Chief of the Defence staff of the Canadian Forces. You could almost hear the sigh of relief in Ottawa as Canada' s most popular, and most controversial, military leaders since the Second World War left a role in which he' d been as frank, unpredictable and resolutely apolitical as any of his predecessors. Born and raised in Newfoundland, Hillier joined the military as a young man and quickly climbed the ranks. He played a significant role in such domestic challenges as the ice storm that paralyzed much of eastern Ontario and Quebec in 1998, and quickly became a player on the international scene, commanding an American corps in Texas and a multinational NATO task force in Bosnia-Herzegovina. But it was his role as General Rick Hillier, Canada's Chief of the Defence staff, that defined him as a Canadian icon. In Afghanistan, Canada faced its first combat losses since the Korean War, with every casualty becoming front page news. A country formerly ambivalent, or even angry, about its role in the conflict suddenly became gripped by the drama unfolding not only in a war zone halfway around the world but in unfriendly conference rooms in Ottawa. There, as everywhere, Hillier pulled no punches, demanding more funding, more troops and more appreciation for the women and men fighting a war on foreign soil.”
Unflinching by Jody Mitic – “Elite sniper Jody Mitic loved being a soldier. His raw, candid, and engrossing memoir follows his personal journey into the Canadian military, through sniper training, and firefights in Afghanistan, culminating on the fateful night when he stepped on a landmine and lost both of his legs below the knees. Afghanistan, 2007. I was a Master Corporal, part of an elite sniper team sent on a mission to flush out Taliban in an Afghan village. I had just turned thirty, after three tours of duty overseas. I'd been shot at by mortars, eyed the enemy through my scope, survived through stealth and stamina. I'd been training for war my entire adult life. But nothing prepared me for what happened next. A twenty-year veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, Jody Mitic served as a Master Corporal and Sniper Team Leader on three active tours of duty over the course of seven years. Known for his deadly marksmanship, his fearlessness in the face of danger, and his "never quit" attitude, he was a key player on the front in Afghanistan. . . an inspirational memoir about living your dreams, even in the face of overwhelming adversity, and having the courage to soldier on.”
FOB Doc by Ray Wiss – “Military doctors serving in Afghanistan usually spend their entire tour in the relatively safe confines of the main base. FOB Doc is the story of one Canadian doctor who spent nearly his entire tour in combat. Captain Ray Wiss was stationed at Forward Operating Bases - FOBs - in Khandahar province, the birthplace of the Taliban and the most intense zone combat in Afghanistan. He shares the 'terror and boredom' of the front-line soldier's life in this candid personal diary.”
Girls Need Not Apply by Kelly S. Thompson – “This inspiring, compelling debut memoir chronicles the experiences of a female captain serving in the Canadian Armed Forces, and her journey to make space for herself in a traditionally masculine world. At eighteen years old, Kelly Thompson enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces. Despite growing up in a military family — she would, in fact, be a fourth-generation soldier — she couldn't shake the feeling that she didn't belong. From the moment she arrives for basic training at a Quebec military base, a young woman more interested in writing than weaponry, she quickly realizes that her conception of what being a soldier means, forged from a desire to serve her country after the 9/11 attacks, isn't entirely accurate. A career as a female officer will involve navigating a masculinized culture and coming to grips with her burgeoning feminism. In this compulsively readable memoir, Thompson writes with wit and honesty about her own development as a woman and a soldier, unsparingly highlighting truths about her time in the military.”
Because We are Canadians by Charles Kepp –“ This is the story of one man’s war—the memoirs of Sgt. Charles D. Kipp, who served with the Canadian army on active duty in Europe during the bloody days and weeks following D-Day. What makes this work stand out from other Second World War battlefield journals is its unadorned, almost naive sense—a guileless attention to small details, horrific and beautiful, that Kipp recalls from his experiences. First published in 2003, this is a must-read, not only for veterans of the War and military history buffs, but also for anyone who seeks to understand what ordinary soldiers endured during the Second World War. Charles d. Kipp was wounded nine times during ten months of fighting at the front during the Second World War. After the war, he farmed briefly before being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome and suffering a second heart attack. He passed away in January 2000.”
Canada at War, A Graphic History of World War II by Paul Keery and Michael Wyatt – “A beautifully crafted graphic novel, tracing the achievements of the Canadian Forces in the Second World War. In 1914, Canada went to war as a subject of Britain. In 1939, it made the choice to fight all on its own. Canada at War follows the developments and setbacks, wins and losses, of a nation learning to stand up for itself in the midst of the most difficult war of the 20th century. In graphic-novel format, fully illustrated and in full colour, Canada at War shows the growth of a nation's army, navy and air force through movingly depicted triumphs and tragedies. From the disheartening losses at Dieppe and Hong Kong through the Battle of the Atlantic and the invasion of Sicily, it focuses on the human dimension of the key battles and decisions that ultimately swung the war in the Allies' favour. This poignant graphic account ends, after the victories of D-Day and Juno Beach and the liberation of Europe, with a final reckoning of the legacy these storied years have had on a country forged through war. Aimed at both adult and young adult readers, this very human history tells the stories behind some of this country's most distinguishing military moments.”
Thank you to all Canadian Armed Forces members, past and present.