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Op PRESENCE/Mali (Cdn mission/s, sitreps, etc. - merged)

Nfld Sapper

Army.ca Fixture
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News Release
One Canadian soldier dies in Mali
NR–08.069 - September 12, 2008

OTTAWA -- A Canadian Forces member serving with the Military Training Assistance Programme (MTAP) training initiative in Bamako, Mali, lost his life in a non-combat-related incident on September 9.

Major Luc Racine, of the Royal 22e Régiment, Valcartier, Quebec, was a member of the Embassy of Canada in Mali and senior staff member at the Bamako Peacekeeping School, a military training center designed to support peace operations and capacity building in Western Africa.

The thoughts and prayers of the men and women of the Canadian Forces and the Department of National Defence go out to the family and friends of the deceased.

- mod edit to add mission name -
RIP to the fallen.  Condolences to his family and friends  :salute:
As one who has recently lost a son in Afghanistan, my condolences to the family.

RIP sir. :cdn:
Condolences to the family, colleagues and friends of the fallen.  :salute:
Statement by the Minister of National Defence on the death of Major Luc Racine
NR–08.072 - September 12, 2008

OTTAWA - The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, issued the following statement today on the death of a Canadian soldier:

I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Major Luc Racine, who died in Bamako, Mali. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time.

Major Racine was a member of the Embassy of Canada in Mali and a senior staff member with the Military Training Assistance Programme (MTAP) at the Bamako Peacekeeping School. The Bamako Peacekeeping School is a military training center designed to support peace operations and capacity building in Western Africa. His hard work and dedication will not be forgotten.

Major Luc Racine was a member of the Royal 22e Régiment in Valcartier, Québec."
Hello Everyone,
          My name is Patrick Lefebvre, though I don't serve in the armed forces/Navy/Air Force etc, I was a "base brat" as the children of soldiers who lived in the PMQ's were referred as.  My parents are currently en route to visit Dani (Luc's Wife) and children in the Province of Quebec.  They left at noon today and as I write this condensed letter to all of you, My parents should be in Edmunston New Brunswick by now.  Now im sure some of you will say "What am I doing here ?"  I share in what Canada has lost on September 9th.  A great man indeed, I have had the honor and pleasure of meeting Luc Racine, Dani and their children on several occasions, Luc is a man of vision, Discipline, Preseverance, Humanitarian and Honor.  It is without a doubt that these times will be difficult for those who have lost loved ones/friends/family.  My parents are very good friends of the Racine family, I used to enjoy sitting down listening to Luc and my father just talk.  I would have done volunteer work for the military but my diabetes is difficult to control as I have been recently diagnosed and still in the beginning stages,however when I think of Luc's motivating thoughts, I continue to press forward taking each day...one day at a time. ;D

             So as I close this out, To those who have lost a loved one, I take my hat off to each and everyone of you including those presently overseas as U.N. Peacekeepers/Peacemakers in various parts of the world.  Take care and talk to you all soon.


P.S. Master Cpl Joe Lefebvre is my father, retired and last posting CFB Cornwallis, N.S. in case some of you are curious.
Rest in peace Major Racine

At the going down of the sun,
and in the morn,
we will remember them!

I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Major Luc Racine. My thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time.  :salute:
December 09, 2011

Allan Woods

KINGSTON—Jamaican commandos storm the Tivoli Gardens slum in May 2010, hunting down an alleged trafficker and drug baron wanted in the United States.

One year later on the other side of the world, a little-known squad of Afghan cops fend off volleys of Taliban bombs and bullets during a siege of the governor’s palace in Kandahar City.

Tying the two events together are small groups of Canadian special forces who travel the world training foreign militaries how to fight terrorism. It’s a modest investment of foreign ministry money and Canadian Forces personnel meant to halt threats of violence and instability before they spread to Canadian shores.

The emphasis is on “modest,” particularly in a time of federal deficits, budget reviews and economic uncertainty, said Brig.-Gen. Denis Thompson, commander of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command.

“If you’re in a resource-constrained environment why wouldn’t you make a small investment into the development of someone else’s forces if they’re gong to do that work for you,” he told the Star.

With the training for the Jamaican Defence Force, which has been ongoing since 2008, Thompson likes to think his soldiers contributed in some way to the capture of Christopher Dudus Coke, the notorious gang leader and drug trafficker who operated with impunity.

The rare peek behind the curtains of Canada’s special forces came during a conference in Kingston this week that brought Canadian and American soldiers together to discuss what could be the future of this country’s special operations.

Hostage rescue, terrorist takedowns and protecting high-value targets like the Canadian embassy in Libya remain the top priorities for Joint Task Force 2 and the rest of the unit, but training foreign forces to do the job themselves is “essential,” Thompson said.

“Threats are eliminated there before they can reach our borders, or at least they are contained within remote or inhospitable areas where terrorists have limited ability to pose a threat to others.”

Canada’s legacy over six years in Kandahar will take more time to sort out, but Canadian commandos still take pride in the individual battles they helped to influence.

One among them was the coordinated attacks of early May 2011 in Kandahar City while members of the Canadian Special Operations Regiment were mentoring a Provincial Response Company made up of Afghan police.

“They went from an organization that was completely new, with absolutely no trust from the Afghan government simply because they were an unknown entity,” said Lt.-Col. John Vass, Canadian Special Operations Regiment’s commanding officer. “Once they were trained up . . . they actually became a very reliable organization for the higher levels of leadership in Afghanistan.”

With the combat mission in Afghanistan over, the Canadians have been working since September with the Kabul-based Special Operations Advisory Group to get Afghan commandos up to snuff before Canada’s training mission ends in 2014.

But they are increasingly turning their attention to the Sahel region, a narrow band of predominately Muslim countries reaching across northern Africa from Senegal to Sudan.

The first deployment to train Malian special forces, who are trying to defend against Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, an offshoot of Osama bin Laden’s group, was in the fall of 2010. That was shortly after the kidnapping of Canadian diplomats Robert Fowler and Louis Guay in neighbouring Niger. Mali’s government was reportedly closely involved in negotiating their release.

“I don’t think you draw a direct line (between the kidnapped diplomats and the training mission) but you can probably make some inferences there,” said Thompson. “But the point is that Al Qaeda in the Maghreb is still a threat and that’s what we’re focused on.”

A 15-man Canadian team will be training about 100 Malian soldiers in things like marksmanship, operating in close quarters like a house or building, communications and how to track and disrupt terrorist networks. The training efforts are closely tied to the larger American special forces efforts across the region.

To tailor the training to Mali, the Canadians have had to abandon some of the more sophisticated equipment in their arsenal like GPS tracking devices and satellite communications and bone up on more rudimentary devices used in more remote parts of the world like high frequency radios and cellular telephones.

“There are other places on the horizon,” Vass said, but their movements are for the time being limited by the size of the force, which after five years stands at 440 people.

The other limitation is a complex geopolitical calculation that balances the threat of instability against a force’s ability and the country’s political will — all designed to ensure the skills Canada passes along don’t fall into the wrong hands.

History is littered with such warning signs, the most glaring being the American decision to train and equip Afghans to fight the Soviets, only to face off against them more than a decade later as the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

In the words of retired U.S. Air Force special operations commander Gen. Donald Wurster: “You’ve got to make sure you’re not training the next coup leader.”

The U.S. results have been mixed. Even the Canadian efforts have had some unintended outcomes.

It was Canadian commandos that trained a Jamaican team responsible for disarming a young man who hijacked a Canada-bound jetliner in Montego Bay in 2009, resolving the standoff without firing a shot. That was a clear winner.

But the 2010 capture of Dudus Coke, the druglord, led to the resignation of Prime Minister Bruce Golding last month.

The decision was partly the result of his poor handling of the extradition to the U.S., where the druglord pleaded guilty to drug and weapons trafficking. Golding resisted the American pressure for nine months before agreeing to track down the kingpin of Tivoli Gardens — Golding’s political power base.

With a U.S. surveillance airplane watching from the skies, three security personnel and 73 civilians were killed over four days. The controversy raged much longer with accusations soldiers killed innocent civilians and executed suspected gangsters

Meanwhile, new folks in charge of Mali....
On March 21, 2012 a group of Army mutineers appeared on Mali's national television station to declare that they had ended President Amadou Toumani Toure's regime, and put in place the ‘National Committee for the Return of Democracy and the Restoration of State'' (CNRDR). The spokesman for the CNRDR has also alluded to the army's dissatisfaction with the Toure administration's handing of its fight against Tuareg rebels in northern Mali.

France has already declared an end to security cooperation with Mali, the African Union has issued a statement condemning the actions of CNRDR and it is still unclear where President Toure resides or how much control he retains ....
Jamestown.org Terrorism Analysis, 22 Mar 12

More on what Canadians have been up to in Mali in the past here.
smack dab in the middle of nowhere............