JTF2: Canadian commandos

My first memories of Commandos at war was at the end of World War II when film documentaries were all the rage at theatres. We didn’t have television in those days, so all of us young kids looked forward to watching these adventure clips at the Saturday matinee.

We would sit in awe as Allied commandos would fight the enemy in every clandestine way possible.  The romance that we saw as young kids in those exploits was of course exciting, but it was also far from reality.

Canada did have an elite group back then and that first team was a joint special operations group with the United States.  At Monte La Difensa, Italy, the force earned the famous name the “Devil’s Brigade” which later was turned into a movie by Hollywood.

Before the assault by the Devil’s Brigade, regular allied forces were unable to achieve success.  Sadly, the success brought a 77 per cent casualty rate to the brigade.

At Anzio, Italy, the brigade was brought ashore after the U.S. Rangers were decimated.  I believe that is where the title “Devil’s Brigade” was adopted by the enemy.  The German defenders began to call them “black devils” because they smeared black on their faces.

One interesting note is the men began to use a sticker with the brigade logo on it and they would stick them on corpses at the site of many battles.  A trademark of battle and a fearsome warning to the enemy.

Eventually the Devils Brigade was disbanded and many who fell are buried at the Commonwealth Anzio War Cemetery.

Today, Canada has a modern day version of the courageous men who fought in the Devil’s Brigade.  Canadian special forces, called Joint Task Force Two (JTF2) is a force responsible for providing Canada with a force capable of rendering armed assistance in the resolution of an issue or a potential issue that affects our Nation’s national security.

They are not Rambos or Black-Ops, or the Terminator.  I doubt if those terms exist in the language of our special forces.

We don’t have or need Hollywood images of Navy SEALs, Green Berets, or other special groups. What we have is the most effective special force organization in the world.

Every once in a while a small amount of information comes to our attention about the activities of these very special forces.  Keep in mind that because of the nature of their work it’s important to have a cloak of secrecy over their activities

Not many years back the United States wanted to decorate members of JTF2 for saving their troops in combat in Afghanistan.  Pinned down and unable to move American soldiers were in a tight spot and in peril of being killed.

From over a kilometre away our guys began to take out the enemy, thus saving the American soldiers. One reported record was the shooting of an armed and dangerous enemy from 2,443 metres.  That’s almost two and a half kilometres away, an incredible shot by any standard.

Some of their assignments are long range and others are close in when tough fighting occurs.  It goes without question that many assignments are behind the lines and extremely dangerous.  Still, our guys are the best and we have every right to be very proud of Canada’s special forces.

The fight in Afghanistan has not been easy and it started out with some extreme difficulties.  Many of our soldiers didn’t have proper uniforms and one report suggests we had to borrow the correct bullets.  Our current government has made good progress toward giving our men and women the proper support and equipment.

After learning of the professionalism and courage of Canada’s special forces we can all sleep a little more comfortably knowing we have the world’s best protecting us.  To use a special term from the Second World War the folks in Canada’s JTF2 can carve their names with pride.

 

Mel is a retired Director of Operations for a large Canadian Corporation. He is a noted world traveller and has studied geopolitical issues for many years. His most noticeable interest is in the effects of different types of governance and organizational behaviour.

Just Posted

L.A. photographer explores past in Vernon exhibition

Caroline Clerc’s three day exhibition runs June 26-29, with talk on June 26

Cowboy entertainment returns to O’Keefe Ranch

Cowboy Dinner Show back every Friday in July and August

Spend Father’s Day at the GolfBC Championship

Looking for a last minute plan for spending time with dad?

Kelowna kids take to the sky with COPA event

The Kelowna Flying Club invited youth between the ages of eight and 17 to join them.

Education opportunity of a lifetime for Okanagan Y volunteer

Madeline Bishop receives $10,000 four-year scholarship

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Penticton Pistoleras seize second undefeated season

Penticton’s Pistoleras roller derby team wrapped up the season undefeated, thanks to… Continue reading

B.C. NHL prospect expected to make ‘full recovery’ after incident in Calgary

Jordy Bellerive was injured in a reported house fire Saturday night

BC Lions defensive back Marcell Young levels streaker in home opener

Young hit the fan near one of the 45-yard lines

Former Penticton Vee recovering in hospital

Pittsburgh Penguin prospect expected to make full recovery

UPDATE: RCMP investigating overnight incident on Lakeshore Road

Evidence markers noting blood stains on road

Police: Taxi driver who hit 8 Moscow pedestrians fell asleep

Two Mexican World Cup fans were among those hit

Police say Salmon Arm youth who posted about shooting students no longer a threat

Group which alerted RCMP to tweets says it issued a Code Red, highest level of alert

B.C. VIEWS: Orphans of our urban drug culture neglected again

Child advocate Bernard Richard leaves B.C. with harsh message

Most Read