I deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan in November 2010 as a Tactical Civil Military Cooperation Team Leader. My team was attached to “C” Squadron combat team in order to help with the battle damage assessment and to mitigate the negative effects of Route Hyena. “C” squadron was in charge of security and construction of route Hyena, which was Canada’s legacy project in Afghanistan.

I had the privilege of working with some of the finest Canadian, American and Afghan soldiers, including my friend Steven from 1st battalion of Royal 22eme Regiment. One of my fondest memories from my time overseas involved this fine infantry officer.

After arriving in Masumghar where the tank squadron was based, I had a hard time adjusting to the workload and also dealing with some key personnel. I was really struggling. In December 2010, I heard that my friend Steven was going on a battlefield tour with the Deputy Battle Group Commander and he was going to pass by Masumghar later that day. I was happy to hear this news and I was looking forward to discussing our experiences over a cigar.

That evening when I returned from the construction site, I met Steve on the hill in Masumghar. He told me about his experience working in Battle Group Headquarter as the senior duty officer. I shared my concerns about all the troubles that I was having. A great listener and always the voice of reason, my friend took the time to listen to my issues and give me wise advice. Throughout the conversation, I was enjoying a fine Cohiba cigar that Steve brought from Kandahar Airfield. Before departing, he left me a box of Cohiba cigars. It was a generous act, as I knew that these Cuban cigars were extremely expensive.

From that evening forward, I had no major trouble with my work balance or getting along with people for rest of my deployment ending in July 2011.

I am forever indebted to friends like Steven as they helped me get through some of the hardest times of my life in Afghanistan.

Captain Raju
Tactical Civil Military Cooperation Team Leader
Task Force 3-10

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