2014 marked a significant year for the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) with noteworthy milestones and initiatives taking place over the course of the year, including: the end of Canada’s mission in Afghanistan, contributing to two new international operations, Operation IMPACT and Operation REASSURANCE, and commemorating Canada’s rich military history.
* March 2014 saw the final contingent of CAF personnel returning from Afghanistan. The 12-year military engagement in Afghanistan was the largest deployment of CAF personnel since the Second World War as more than 40,000 brave men and women fought to move Afghanistan towards becoming a country that is self-sustaining, secure, and democratic.
* At the National Day of Honour, held in May 2014, Canadians from coast to coast to coast gathered at events across the country to commemorate, honour, and recognize Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan and pay tribute to those 158 Canadian Forces personnel, one diplomat, two civilians and one Canadian journalist who paid the ultimate price by giving their lives for the freedom of the Afghan people.
* The Afghanistan Memorial Vigil, which featured more than 190 plaques from the Kandahar Air Field Cenotaph, travelled across Canada and to the United States between May and November, and provided Canadians an opportunity to pay their respects to the memory of our fallen.
* Afghanistan (2001–2014) and South Africa (1899-1902) were added as new inscriptions unveiled at the rededication ceremony for the National War Memorial unveiled on Remembrance Day. The inscription, In Service to Canada / Au service du Canada, was also added to formally recognize all Canadians who served in the past, who serve today, and who will serve in the future.
* Operation IMPACT: the CAF’s support to the multinational coalition against the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the Republic of Iraq included the deployment of an air task force with six CF-18s, one CC-150T Polaris, two CP-140M Auroras, 600 personnel including aircrew, liaison officers and support elements, and 69 advisors to provide advice and assistance to Iraqi Security Forces.
*Operation REASSURANCE: the CAF’s support to NATO assurance measures promoting security and stability in central and Eastern Europe in the face of the Putin regime’s aggression included a deployment of an air task force of four CF-188 Hornets and approximately 130 CAF personnel, a frigate, and troops undertaking training exercises in the region, as well as the contribution of non-lethal military equipment to the Ukraine.
* Operation SIRONA: nearly 40 CAF healthcare and support staff are currently deployed in Sierra Leone in order to assist in the international effort to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. They will work alongside their British counterparts at the UK’s Kerry Town Treatment Unit.
Other Historical Commemorations:
* Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada David Johnston and National Defence Minister Rob Nicholson joined the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) and the Royal 22e Régiment (R22eR) as they commemorated their 100th anniversary with a joint ceremony on the lawns of Parliament Hill on September 19.
“2014 was a significant year for the Canadian Armed Forces and we must take time to reflect on these milestones and accomplishments. As Canada concludes the end of military operations in Afghanistan, we must never forget to honour the bravery of our Canadian Armed Forces and the work they accomplished there. That bravery persists in the work currently underway in our various operations across the globe,” said Nicholson.