The Patrol: Seven Days in the Life of a Canadian Soldier in Afghanistan

Ryan Flavelle

Abstract


In 2008, Ryan Flavelle, a reservist in the Canadian Army and a student at the University of Calgary, volunteered to serve in Afghanistan. For seven months, twenty-four-year-old Flavelle, a signaller attached to the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, endured the extreme heat, the long hours and the occasional absurdity of life as a Canadian soldier in this new war so far from home. Flavelle spent much of his time at a Canadian Forward Operating Base (FOB) living among his fellow soldiers and going outside the wire occasionally. For one seven-day period, Flavelle went into Taliban country, always walking in the footsteps of the man ahead of him, meeting Afghanis, watching behind every mud wall for a sign of an enemy combatant.
 
Bold, raw and often provocative, The Patrol offers a brave and startlingly original voice for those in the Canadian Forces in the 21st century. In the tradition of Farley Mowat’s The Regiment and James Jones’ The Thin Red Line, The Patrol isn’t merely about the guns and the glory; it is about why we fight, why men and women choose such a dangerous and demanding job and what their lives are like when they find themselves back in our ordinary world.


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JMSS is a publication of the Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary.

JMSS gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council.