Sunday, August 22, 2010

Assignment Kandahar: Pistol Pete’s patrol

‘My mission,” says Pete Reintjes, a sunburned, sweat-stained captain, “is to hold Nakhonay.”

It’s a dangerous, complicated task, and one suddenly crucial to Canada’s shrinking combat assignment in Afghanistan as it comes nearer to an end.

Capt. Reintjes has slept 15 hours in the past 10 days, reckons his sergeant, Jesse Kidney, one of just eight other soldiers in a small Canadian operational mentor liaison team (OMLT). The crew is assigned to a platoon of Afghan National Army soldiers.

The group is remarkably diverse. All but two of its members are reservists with different lives back in Canada. There’s Corporal Victor Choi, 21, a political science student at York University in Toronto. Capt. Reintjes, 43, is an Ontario Provincial Police officer in London, Ont. His men call him “Pistol Pete.”

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