War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

Another Sleepover

another sleepover with Admin. Coy. my roomies being accommodating again despite the fact that I’ll wake them at 04:45 to get up and go watch the cooks get the camp rolling with their breakfast prep.

I curl into my army issue sleeping bag, listen to my ipod for about five minutes and crash. oblivious to the soldiers watching 300, a movie about the battle of Thermopylae. there’s a safe sort of feeling that comes over me as I drift asleep knowing that I’m surrounded by 1PPCLI. the entire battalion.

not one, but two soldiers set their alarms for me and wake up with me at 04:45. I dress, tiptoe out of the tent into a still prairie night. only the sounds of diesel generators, and a few lights, and a thousand stars.

I wanted to be up with the first cook, but found several already up scrambling eggs, beginning to make French toast, the sausages and bacon fried the previous night. these men and women work from now until 8 pm. in cold and wind. they joke and laugh. make each other coffee. take smoke breaks. help each other. tick tick tick. the clockwork of a kitchen that feeds 600 hungry men.

they show me pictures of their babies, their kids. they don’t make it home for 1st birthdays, anniversaries. they’re going to Afghanistan. still, they laugh. play tricks on each other. call each other names. use language in a fantastic way.

I have to go at 08:00. a young Lt. is taking me to the big guns. otherwise I’d stay all day with the cooks. next time.

I go to the big guns out in the field. the artillery are part of a combined infantry, artillery exercise. live ammo. they show me their operations, then the 125mm Howitzer. a big old gun with big BOOM. some of them have been deployed on FOBs in Afghanistan. “It was an experience,” one guy says. weary. but he’s going again.

3 Comments (Closed)

Sid Tafler

I like the way you capture the comraderie

Oct 22 2008 · 07:44

donnie macneill

Hi Suzanne. As we say in Scotland, ‘you are some machne’! I’m sure Wilfred Owen would be delighted to have made your acquaintance, but I don’t want to to go out of your way to meet him!!
I look forward to reading the fruits of your labours, but go easy when you get to Arghanistan. I hope that common sense will prevail and you don’t have to go because there is no conflict; but I doubt it.
Take care. from an ex fellow Squadie, SPL Regiment of Verse

Oct 25 2008 · 14:07


A must read!

Take it from this 18 years in the mob P2, you get it.

The one element of any unit that can make it or break it has always been the cooks. Not the quality or variety of the food, but the cooks themselves. Good food is nice. Good cooks are a must. That Pvt or Cpl or MS standing there at O dark early with a ready grin and a corny joke. The moral of a unit, be it a Battalion, Wing or HMC Ship begins at the hayboxes and steamlines with the cooks.

For the record? No I am not a cook. Honest!

Look forward to following your work.

Oct 29 2008 · 18:04

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The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled Another Sleepover. It was posted here on October 22, 2008.


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