An Oakville Modern Day Veteran: Carson McAulay

An Oakville Modern Day Veteran: Carson McAulay
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Nolan A Machan

Nolan A Machan

Nolan Machan is the Publisher of OakvilleNews.Org and has over 41 years of local Oakville knowledge. He is committed to providing Oakville residents with the most up-to-date information about our great town.

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A rocket lands in Masum Ghar Afghanistan, a forward operating US army base in the Hot Zone. Shrapnel blasts through the base. It is the first war experience for a soldier standing guard. The soldier stood looking at the bomb as the veteran soldiers dove to the ground. It was a surreal experience, and that began Carson McAulay’s 7-month tour of duty. He’s fortunate not to be hurt, and as he learned shelling is a daily occurrence on the base.

Carson is a true Oakville boy. He was born 29 years ago in the maternity ward of the Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital. He grew up in a home that was originally owned by his grandparents in West River, a tight knit community situated between Kerr Street and the 16 Mile Creek.  He attended Morden Public School and graduated from QE Park High School, a student of the last class to graduate before the school was shuttered.

Carson went off to Durham College where he studied criminology. He had a desire to serve.  After a short stint as a roofer a friend peeked his interest in the army. So in 2006 after having signing up, two weeks later he was in basic training. He described it as physically demanding as well as mentally intense.

Fuel truck and makeshift tent while on operation in Afghanistan

Fuel truck and makeshift tent while on operation in Afghanistan

During the gruelling 13 weeks of basic training the group of 70 was reduced to 30 by the end. The Canadian Military allows recruits to step away from their commitment, a definite departure from the American system.  After basic training the recruits choose their trade, and are given an additional 13 weeks of skills training. Carson chose combat arms.

It took from 2006 to March 2008 before he found himself looking at that bomb in Masum Ghar. The Canadian Forces are extremely well trained and properly outfitted before they are deployed, but nothing really prepares anyone for the real thing.  Carson was deployed with the Strathcona Regiment out of CFB Edmonton.  A quick reaction force provided tank protection for soldiers on the field, as well as domestic ventures (providing security for rebuilding of bridges).

Carson volunteered to drive a light armoured transport truck filled with ammunition and fuel for the tanks. It was one of the least desirable jobs. The supply trucks needed to go everywhere the tanks did. Tanks didn’t have any problems covering rough terrain – trucks with wheels weren’t as nimble. However, the lack of desirability wasn’t due to maneuverability. The supply trucks were a high value target for the Taliban.

He views himself as fortunate to have served his country, and lucky that no one from his group in Afghanistan did die. However, several of the men who trained with him did. He knows that he left to go to Afghanistan as a boy, and returned a man. Something he feels conflict does to a person.

For Carson McAulay now retired from the army, Remembrance Day is a time to honour the men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for Canada, as well as showing respect for the families of those who lost siblings, children, and parents.

Not often have I had the honour of speaking with a young man from Oakville who made the decision to put his life on the line for his country. Carson McAulay is that young man, and I’m proud I’ve had the opportunity to speak with him.

Please join me on Remembrance Day in paying tribute to our fallen soldiers at either St. George’s Square in Downtown Oakville on November 11, 2013 or on November 10, 2013 at the Bronte Legion at Jones Street & Lakeshore starting at 10:30 AM.






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