Training in Kingston for deployment to Kandahar


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Asia » Afghanistan » South » Kandahar
November 26th 2008
Published: November 18th 2009
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our bus!
Day 1 - Oct 26, 2008

Wow, I have been looking forward for this training for two months now only to have the bus coming late! There were already a few people waiting so I introduced myself since after all, we are all going to be together for 12 days. Finally after what seemed like an eternity, the bus shows up. I was surprised that the bus belonged to the Government of Canada; however the inside is not any different than the regular greyhound. I was actually expecting a school bus with the Canadian army logo on them, so it was worth the wait.
We finally arrive to Kingston and checked into our rooms. My room was all the way at the very end of the hall, but close to the bathroom. However the smell in my room was very unpleasant. Nobody else had that problem, and no matter how much fruity perfume I would spray, the smell still comes back! Each room comes with 3 bunk beds for 6 people. I have been lucky; we were only 3 so we had the whole bunk to ourselves. The downside of staying in barracks is that there is only 6 bathroom
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my room
stalls, 6 shower stalls and 6 washing and drying machine for over 30 girls. I somehow figured out a way to avoid line up. Either get up really early or stay up really late to use the facilities.
I had 2 ½ hours to kill, which I spent doing my bed, turning it into a tent with the extra sheets for privacy. At 6PM we all went to dinner, buffet style food; nothing fancy but it did the job on filling me up. After dinner everyone had to stand in front of the mic and introduced themself. Considering how I have always hated to talk in public, I did a pretty good job being a comedian; well mainly making fun of my own name, everyone had quite a laugh. So the PSP staff introduced themselves as well and decided to give us a fashion show of what our uniform would look like. Nothing special, but definitely funny to watch! Tomorrow will be a long day! Can’t wait to see what training is all about!!!

Day 2, 3 - Oct 27-28, 2008

Waking up on Monday morning at 6AM was rough!!! Initially, the idea was to wake up at
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weapons/mines/IED briefings
4AM so I can have the showers all to myself, but of course that didn’t happen. Surprisingly though, there was no line-up for the shower. I took a 10 minutes shower and went to blow dry my hair and was ready for breakfast by 6:30AM. The building where we ate is right next door and since its still so early, there was no line-up. I was done eating by 7:10AM and was ready for my 8PM class. The building where our morning classes are, was a 20 minutes’ walk away, not to mention it was freezing and I did not bring appropriate clothing for such weather.
The classes were long. Briefing was done by military officials, even though it started early, I managed to keep myself awake! Some people had their eyes closed for a few seconds and eventually drifted off to sleep. That is a big no no; if they get caught there is a possibility of being sent home. Many of the briefings were fun and interesting, depending on the officers.

Oh man...Today’s morning PT!!! I had to wake up at 5AM to catch the 5:20AM bus. It was so hard to get out of bed but
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me in a burka
I somehow dragged myself out. The cardio training did not wake me up, it only tired me more. Whatever, I did my best. After PT I had less than 45 minutes to eat breakfast and run to class for more safety briefings’. Since it snowed today, I went to Canex to buy myself a scarf and a pair of gloves!

Day 4 - Oct 29, 2008

Beautiful day today finally! We had a specialist coming in to explain to us about mines & explosives, he is one of the most lively guy to give out the presentation. Later that afternoon we all had a practical training on finding mines. We went inside a small hut with sands divided by 10 rows. We had to use the techniques that we learned on finding mines and safe spots to stand on. It was scary because if you don’t do it right, the mines that is hidden under the sand would make a loud explosion noise.

Day 5 - Oct 30, 2008

PT today again! We did aerobics, super boring but whatever I need the exercise! It was a long day today but it was super fun! We had a briefing on NBC (Nuclear Biological Chemicals) weapons, then off to the drill mess for Gas Hut training. I get to try on one of those cool gas masks only to find out they were not as cool as previously thought! Those masks were very tight and uncomfortable to wear. They were very difficult to breathe in. The trick is so relax and stay calm, but if you start to hyperventilate, you are pretty much screwed! On top of being uncomfortable, we all had to smother this slimy disinfectant all over your face, neck and hands!!! My face did not react well to that; it was burning like hell, but whatever makes them happy right???
So after half a day of trying on the mask and spreading slimy stuff on our faces, we were ready for the gas hut. As we approached the location, everyone started coughing and sneezing; because that’s what CS gas (aka tear gas) does to you. So at this point, I started getting worried because just as my group was going in, I had discovered a leak in my mask. I had to be pulled aside to get it checked and even though it took an
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how to perform CPR with a gas mask on
hour with no fix, I went ahead. To my surprised, I did not smell anything, everything was OK! We didn’t do anything in there, except to stand around and watch the demonstration while we were being gassed. Sounds pretty freaky right?


Day 6 - Oct 31, 2008

Today my group and I went to our fire extinguish briefing. We went inside this small trailer for more PowerPoint briefing. (It never stops!!!) I have to admit that since it was early in the morning and the lights were off, I couldn’t keep my eyes open. The only fun part was when we actually used the fire extinguisher to put out the fire on the TV screen. That was pretty cool, because the fire was virtually digitized and I don’t know how it works but if you do it right, you will really stop the fire with a real extinguisher. (I know I don’t make any sense!)

So today is Halloween and many people had brought their costume. We all played bingo and at one point, they stopped the game to tell us that we had 45 minutes to run back to our room, pack all our stuff, because we are all changing rooms!!! All I have to say is...CHAOS!!! It’s a good thing that I have packed light or else I would have never of made it!


Day 7 - Nov 1st, 2008

We had Video teleconferencing this morning with some people who are currently in KAF. It was a morning dedicated to questions about anything we had in mind. It was real nice to see actual live footage of people who are on the other side of the world.
In the afternoon an Afghani man gave briefing on the Islamic culture. I think that was my favourite class of all. This is why I travel, I live to learn about cultures, I thrive on adventures and I travel for real.

After dinner that night, we were told to come on the bus at a certain time and I knew that something was up. I was right! It turns out; everyone has to sleep in the gym that night! This exercise was to prepare us on what to do during rocket attacks. It was really hard to sleep consistently, because the alarm would go off randomly and we all have to check in and then go back to sleep. If we needed to use the washroom, then we would have to sign in and out to use one of the two portable potties outside the building. It was a long night. Finally at 4:30AM they woke us up to clean up and go back to Sherman Hall to either continue sleeping or go to breakfast.


Day 8 - Nov 2nd, 2008-11-27

As I walk to my HR. Orientation class this early morning, I came across some people who had managed to go to Timmies for coffee and donuts. Damn!!!! It seems that not only am I a slow walker but I wake up late as well. I could of had coffee in the caf at breakfast, but their coffee doesn’t taste as good as Tim Horton’s. I know I’m addicted!!!! So this morning’s class is all about giving away your emergency contact numbers, insurance, beneficiaries and questions. For some people, these issues are too early to come across. Even though they assured us nothing will happen to us while deployed, precaution is a must.

After lunch, we had a walking tour of Kingston organized by a team. Even though
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in the gas chamber
Kingston is a beautiful peaceful city, I was glad when the tour came to an end because my legs are killing me and also the city bored me to death! Tonight will be the only night where all of us will have free time. Some studied their SOP’s, many watched TV and some went downtown for drinks and stayed way passed curfew. (which is 11PM)

Day 9 - Nov 3rd , 2008

More Briefings!!! The part where the majority of people who stayed awake was on the HLTA (Home Leave Travel Arrangement) briefings. Yep that’s right! After 4 months working in Kandahar Airfield or Camp Mirage in the UAE we could go on an 18 days leave and they pay for it!!! Yay everybody’s dream!!!

Tonight we had op showcase. It’s basically stations of different people who have been to KAF or CM. They were all dressed up traditionally like the Afghan people and every questions we have, there would be answers. They even brought stuff that they bought at the market over there to show us, and I couldn’t believe that a cashmere or silk pashminas cost between $2-10$!!! Anyways, as they were telling me about their adventures, I was thinking of a way to buy hundreds of them and sent it back home to sell it for a profit!!!


Day 10-11 - Nov 4th & 5th, 2008

Everyone who applied to their specific job would all be separated to go on their job training.
What is job training? MORE BRIEFINGS!!! Except it will be about your job. We watched lots of videos...and hey, they even taught us how to wash your hands!!! We also had an exam on the SOP’s, as nervous as I am with exams, I did pretty good. There was no pass/fail but it could affect your selection process. So yeah, we also had to Assess your peers (AYP) yep, not fun but it is required. 5 names whom we don’t want to deployed with and 5 names who we do, easy as that.


Day 12 - Nov 6th, 2008


LAST DAY!!! And also a LONG day. And guess what? MORE BRIEFINGS.
Anything from stress management to all sorts of harassements to baggages, EVERYTHING!!! So tonight I had to pack, get my makeup done by my roommate and get ready for the close out dinner.
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my team!
Everyone had to dress in black; hey at least I don’t have to worry about what to wear .
Everyone was there, all the officers came to the dinner. When I entered the caf, it was beautiful. Candles at every table, white tablecloth, wine glasses and we even had our own name laid on the table. But when the food came...well..what can I say? The food was exactly what we ate everyday but in a nicer plate. After diner, it was dancing and it was also announced that there will be no curfew tonight. YAY!!! I didn’t even stay to party, instead my friend and I was so excited at the fact of no curfew tonight that we ran back to our room to get ready to go downtown to party. When we finally reached downtown, well...since its Kingston there was barely anyone outside, even when we went inside this bar/club/lounge whatever they want to call it, we were the only ones there. YAWN!!!!


Day 13- Nov 7th, 2008

Its officially over!!! After a tearful goodbye...well for some people, we all boarded the bus and headed home. Now we wait till Nov 12 to find out our
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game night
faith.




Nov 12, 2008

I AM GOING TO KANDAHAR!!!




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karate

karate lessons???
movingmoving
moving

chaos!!!
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sleeping in the gym
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eating b.fast at the mess hall


19th November 2009

Great report
Really enjoyed reading this ngoggy. The food looked terrific. Hope you will keep us all updated. Or let us know how it all went in retrospect. Best wishes, William
19th November 2009

Thanks
You can see from my other entries on Kandahar, I just got back so Iam posting all this at once.

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