Young faces, old tradition



(L) Capt. Andrew Champion, Margie Schott, Capt. Sarah Wuntke and Capt. Reid Wuntke enjoyed part of their military leave in Southampton

The Saugeen Times recently ran an article and photo about four highly intelligent, high-energy, highly-trained youth in our Canadian Military.

The Saugeen Times subsequently received a letter to the editor which we have chosen not to print.

Our rules for publishing Letters to the Editor are very simple:

  • The letter cannot contain profanity
  • The letter must be understandable
  • It cannot, in our opinion, denigrate an individual or group

The letter we received violated two of the three criteria. It contained profanity and maligned the training, ability and intelligence of our young service people. It is one thing to not agree with the mission that the Canadian and other military are involved in, but it's quite another to not understand the level of training that our forces undergo, which makes them one of the most respected in the world.

The young people in the article are indicative of all our young men and women who serve in the various Armed Forces, just as their ancestors did in World War I and II, and the Korean Conflict. The services then were made up of young people in their teens and 20s who answered the call to duty.

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01/09/2009 07:00 PM

Today's young Canadians are also highly trained just as the Canadian Military always has been. These are young people who go into service with the belief that they can make a difference in the world.

The letter would argue that coming out of a facility such as Royal Military College (RMC) does not qualify one for combat. What the writer may not realize, however, is that these service men and women go through extensive training and field experience before they are ever deployed into a combat situation.

In the article, Captain Andrew Champion for example, went through Royal Military College where he became an engineer, a communications specialist and completely fluent in French. He then went on to take intensive and extensive field training as did his men with him. He was, in fact, the first of his class of 200 to be deployed, after five years of military training.

Armed Forces the world over are made up of young people. Fortunately, or unfortunately, they are the ones who have the energy, stamina and fortitude to serve. These young people are backed-up and mentored by experienced commissioned and non-commissioned officers (NCOs).

The military does not just go into combat however. It is also building roads, building schools and helping to ensure that a population has the human right to make choices, including the opportunity for young women to go to school and be educated.

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