"A lot of people don't know what goes on in the woodwork of the Forces," the Corporal tells me. "In a sense, it's good that Afghanistan happened; it allowed us to show Canadians what we do, and what their taxes are paying for. And usually, if there's a sense of animosity against the army, it's because a lot of people don't know much about us."
My heart begins to pound as I see the green sign of the beach. I see other rafts ahead and can't be sure if the troops are fast-casting off them yet until I see their bodies make small, white explosions into the water. The driver yells "Go!" and the two men behind me somersault into the water with a crash.
The captain leads me through the base to pick up my kevlar vest and helmet. The officer sitting at reception's eyes grow wide at seeing my camera dangling around my neck. Understandably, the Forces are sometimes wary of the press. Minutes later, I don not the uniform of the Canadian soldiers, but rather the one they use during exercises for "enemy" troops.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - The loss of a not-so secret base in Dubai last year forced the Canadian military to use its unarmed Airbus planes for flights into Kandahar Airfield during the final phase of the combat mission, ministerial briefing notes say.
"Pressures imposed by the closure of Camp Mirage and the need to maximize flexibility in providing strategic airlift to support OP Athena have culminated in the (censored) using C-150 flights in KAF," said a Nov. 1, 2010, briefing note prepared for Defence Minister Peter MacKay.