The National Post currently has two reporters in Afghanistan: Writer Brian Hutchinson and Illustrator Richard Johnson (who drew the image above). You can follow Brian’s writings at Assignment Kandahar and Richard’s journal and illustrations at Kandahar Journal.
Kandahar Journal: Canadian air, part two The Canadian Chinook helicopter was packed full of American and Canadian soldiers and a few journalists. The flight I was on was part of something called “the milk run” – a twice-weekly flight out to some of the major Field Operation Bases (FOB) in Panjwaii district. About 60 of us were strapped in tight, facing the centre of the copter, which was filled to waist deep with bags and equipment. Everyone was in full gear, helmet, gloves, earplugs, ballistic goggles, and Kevlar vest. Jammed as we were – shoulder to shoulder in the space – this was not a situation for the claustrophobic. I decided before takeoff just to close my eyes and will it to be over. I get motion sick, really, quite badly. And I hate flying. I like the prospect of being shot at while flying and feeling sick even less.
Brian and I finally landed at Kandahar Air Field (KAF) Tuesday afternoon. We walked off into the heat and stood in a queue where some happy U.S. Navy MPs confiscated contraband for an hour. I managed to get my first sunburn, as one by one the civilians heading onto base gave up their whiskey and gin.
After dumping our gear in the media sleeping accommodations, we took a quick tour with Canadian Sergeant Shawn Richardson who gave us the lay of the land. KAF is a constantly morphing and ever-enlarging base, as nations that are part of the ISAF coalition come and go, or as their roles change so does the structure and layout. The big news though – is that the Tim Hortons has moved to the other end of the base.