"I don't think that the enemy liked our presence," she says with a soldier's understatement. "It's kind of in the middle of where they want to be."
That first day set the pattern for the next few months. Twice a day, Six Platoon - part of Bravo Company in the First Royal Canadian Regiment - endured enemy fire, both on patrol and directly on the camp. It was so regular that the soldiers nicknamed it "contact o'clock".
Then, on 21 June, Sgt Jimmy MacNeil, an engineer attached to the platoon, was killed by an IED while on a foot patrol. He was a kind, popular soldier, and a close friend of Collette's.
"We still had six months to go," she says. "I remember thinking 'How am I, one, going to hold it together myself, and two, going to hold together this group of 60 people who are devastated by this event?'"
I was overseas at the same time as her in a different unit. We ran supplies to the PB which Bravo Company was based out of, and which a few good buddies of mine worked out of. I don't know her well but I've met the Captain a few times. They did a good job given the restrictions NATO put on them.
Edited by Thanato, 23 October 2013 - 01:40 AM.