Brandon Sun (Newspaper) - July 4, 2002, Brandon, Manitoba
New military award to honour units for outstanding service under fire
OTTAWA — Two military units will be the first recipients of a new award designed to honour outstanding service under direct fire.
The 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and the 1st Battalion,
Royal 22nd Regiment will be given the Commander-in-Chief Unit commendation, Gov. Gen. Adrienne Clarkson announced yesterday.
The battalions are being honoured for their actions in the Balkans dunng protracted con
flict as the former Yugoslavia broke apart.
The 2nd Battalion Patricia's, based in Winnipeg, drove Croatian forces back from Medak in former Yugoslavia in September 1993 while under heavy fire.
Their actions put a stop to the Croatian army’s tactic of ethnic cleansing, the governor general said, saving many civilian lives.
The Royal 22nd, based at Val Cartier, Que., is credited with opening the airport in the besieged city of Sarajevo,
Bosnia-Herzegovina, in July 1992.
A release from the governor general says the battle group “steadfastly executed its mission” while surrounded and under fire from all sides.
Their efforts helped provide
critical aid to Sarajevo residents and established the United Nations as a force for peace there, it said.
Ceremonies are set for Sept. 11 in Quebec City and Dec. I in Winnipeg to present the awards.
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MONTREAL — The Canadian government officially opened a new treatment centre yesterday for active and retired soldiers suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder.
The Ste-Anne’s Centre, located at the country’s only remaining veteran’s hospital, was welcomed by veterans who say the military waited too long to acknowledge the disorder is a problem among Forces personnel.
The Department of National Defence and Veterans’ Affairs Canada will offer assessment and treatment of all psychological injuries resulting from military service.
One of the centre’s first patients will be retired sergeant Ron Smith, who served for eight years in the disgraced Canadian Airborne Regiment. The group was disbanded after several of its members tortured a Somali teenager to death.
Smith, who has since experienced constant nightmares and twice attempted suicide, said it’s the government’s responsibility to help soldiers deal with the horrors — and the often painful aftermath — of war.
“There’s literally thousands of us out there who are suicidal, who are depressed to a point where we don’t want to go on anymore,” said Smith, 40, a patient at the Ste-Anne’s Veteran’s Hospital. “We’ve got to find those soldiers, bring them out of the woods.
“A lot of us are hiding. We’re not going to come out looking for help.”
Defence Minister John McCallum, who was present for the unveiling of the stress centre yesterday, acknowledged
that the new treatment facility was set up too late for Canadian veterans who have died after returning from combat.
“We can’t rewrite history,” said McCallum.
“But this is a major initiative, and today is another step to improve conditions for Canadian Forces soldiers and their families.”
The Ste-Anne’s clinic will be the headquarters for a national network of mental-health facilities to be established at selected Veterans’ Affairs contract clinics across Canada.
The Forces made the announcement after coming under fire from critics, including former soldiers, who say military brass turned a blind eye to posttraumatic stress disorder.
Two veteran soldiers are suing the Forces and Ottawa for more than $2.84 million each, claiming they are permanently scarred from stress they suffered on peacekeeping missions abroad.
In a federal report released earlier this year, military ombudsman Andre Mann concluded soldiers sufifenng from post-traumatic stress don’t get the help they need.
The government has said it’s made major strides to improve its treatment of stressed-out soldiers, but it doesn’t know how many Forces personnel are suffering from psychological injuries.
The Department of Defence has commissioned a Statistics Canada study to determine the prevalence of stress disorders among regular and reserve members.
Smith, a resident of North Bay, Ont., said he credits government-run treatment facilities for helping him to deal with alcohol and drug problems after he returned from Somalia.
Leaky sub will resume trials
HALIFAX — A submarine purchased by Canada from Britain could be back under water today after springing a leak, a navy spokesman said yesterday.
HMS Ursula, to be renamed HMCS Corner Brook when the Canadian navy takes possession of the boat at the end of the month, was forced to abandon sea trials Tuesday.
The Ursula limped back to port on the west coast of Scotland, with a crew of about 50 Canadians, after water flowed in through a small tube-like device used to send signal markers to the surface when the sub is submerged.
Capt. Mike Williamson, head of Canada’s sub project, said the Ursula’s commander is anxious to resume sea trials that had been going well for more than two weeks when the leak occurred. There were no injuries and
posed to do, which just validates the quality of the training they’ve received, and the submanne returned to the surface,” he said from Ottawa.
The sub was in deep water but was back on the surface less than a minute after the leak started.
The incident is the latest in a string of setbacks for Ottawa over the acquisition of four used Royal Navy subs at a cost of $750 million.
The problems have included cracked exhaust valves and a dented hull and have left critics fuming over the purchase of what they call faulty equipment.
“We are endangering the lives of our soldiers,” Conservative MP Elsie Wayne said Tuesday. “We should never, ever have bought them.”
Williamson said that is “absolutely
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