After an absence of several years for the military from the Canadian National Exhibition, this year the Canadian armed forces have a large display at the event that ends summer with a bang. It is located outside, beside the Automotive Building, just where it used to be.
One reason for the display's return could be that the military is undergoing a massive recruiting campaign, Another might be that the Conservatives are in power, which, of course, explains the recruiting campaign and a larger display.
The great feature of the large displays, especially when the forces are on foreign assignment, is that they are manned by personnel who have been there. They are phenomenally honest in their description of the events. One such soldier at the CNE was Corporal John Hewitt, who had just returned from a six month assignment in Afghanistan.
"I am very proud of what we have done there," said Hewitt, adding, "Since we've been there the country has improved greatly. It is more like Canada, except with mud houses. At night the lights come on and the people enjoy themselves, just like here."
"It is sad that the media only writes about the bad things and not the good that we've done," said Hewitt.
The display comprised of a Snowbird CF-114 training aircraft, in full form and in half size; a Bell Kirowa helicopter; a half of a Lockheed T-33 trainer; a Leopard II tank; a LAV-3 armoured wheeled personnel carrier; a Coyote armoured reconnaissance vehicle; a M-113 tracked armoured personnel carrier and finally, since the navy couldn't bring a frigate, they brought a small navy Zodiac Kevlar boarding raft to the show, with the crew dressed in black. And to keep everybody in line — a military police vehicle.
The Navy put on a display of how they board a ship they suspect of wrongdoing. They do this supporting the police or border authorities.
Marion Grobb, Director of Communications of Canadian Forces Personnel Support Agency (CFPSA) explained to the visitor the the role of CANEX. CANEX, one of the six divisions of CFPSA, is the retail chain mandated to provide goods and services that meet the needs of the Canadian military community. Profits from CANEX are used to support morale and welfare programs to benefit the CF community - in Canada and overseas. The CFPSA's goal is to enhance the quality of life of the military community and, thus, contribute to the operational readiness and effectiveness of the Canadian Forces. Grobb is trying to stir up support at the CNE for personnel who are fighting abroad.
"One of the messages we are trying to get out to Canadians is that there are lots of ways to support the troops. To find out how, visit www.cfpsa.com . Here, at the CNE or on the internet, you can purchase items that will show your support for the troops. One hundred percent of the proceeds from these items goes to the morale and welfare programs of the soldiers and their families. We also accept donations," Grobb said.
But as Brenna Morell, CFPSA Media relations Coordinator advises, not all donations are acceptable. As health, safety and security restrictions apply, anyone considering donating items is asked to visit the website and click on the yellow "Support our troops" ribbon on the upper-right corner for details. This will ensure that donations are able to be accepted and transported to deployed members. Morell added that CFPSA encourages individuals wishing to conduct donation campaigns to do so through one of CFPSA's established programs, clearly outlined on www.cfpsa.com
Recruiters are present for the regular force, reserves and Cadets for Air Force, Army and Navy.
It is quite a show, appealing to all ages.
Military display returns to the CNE