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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Soldiering-- a Family Affair

This is an exerpt from the following article--'But it's not as if she can run up and  husband on his return from the field. The Canadian military has a strict "no fraternization" policy that forbids soldiers -- even married couples -- from any displays of affection.'

I like this 'family togetherness' story a lot and give them the credit they deserve for their sacrifices but I do have one question though, "What is the definition of fraternization?"


They eat all their meals together. After work, he picks her up and they watch television or a movie. Sometimes they call home. The night ends when he drops her off at her tent.
On Saturdays, they shop at a market on the base where local vendors hawk Afghan rugs, knock-off watches and glass jewelry, and bootleg DVDs.
Some nights they play ball hockey. They both play defence, but on different teams that haven't faced off against each other yet.

 Would an unmarried couple be able to do the above activites day in and day out and not be accused of fraternizing?


KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — They met on a military training course. She was a student. He was the instructor. Sparks didn't exactly fly the first time they met.
"The first day, when she arrived at my office, she said, 'I would like a key for my room,"' Warrant Officer Mario Emond recalls on a recent sunny afternoon at Kandahar Airfield.
"She was a new recruit, so (I said), 'Stay in the corridor and when I have time, I will give you the key."'
Master Cpl. Deborah Yaxley picks up the story.
"He was so arrogant," she begins. "You know, I'm asking him for a key so I can go drop off my bags in the room and he's like, 'Yeah, so? You think you're special?' Okay, I'll just go wait in the corridor.
"So it was not love at first sight, that's for sure."
They have been married four years now.
Emond, 42, and Yaxley, 33, are both serving with the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan. He's with the Royal 22e Regiment battle group from CFB Valcartier, Que. She's with the military's national service centre.
Emond's job often takes him outside the relatively safe confines of Kandahar Airfield. Yaxley stays behind on the base. It's hard to see him go, knowing what she knows.
"I thought I was going to be sick the last time he left," she says.
"My heart stopped, because I know what's going on outside. I have access to information and I know what's going on. I have to put my faith in his training. I'm lucky, because there's a lot of people here that keep telling me he's one of the best, so don't worry."
She stops for a moment.
"I just shrug it off, but inside, my heart stops. My heart stops. And then when I see him arrive, it's like Christmas. You know, he's arrived and he's in one piece. It's the best feeling ever."
But it's not as if she can run up and embrace her husband on his return from the field. The Canadian military has a strict "no fraternization" policy that forbids soldiers -- even married couples -- from any displays of affection.
Which makes for a pretty tame Valentine's Day. Their options for a romantic dinner on the base are a noisy pizza joint or TGIFriday's. And forget about a bottle of wine -- Kandahar Airfield is an alcohol-free zone.
Such is married life at KAF. Yaxley and Emond don't even sleep in the same tent. He sleeps in one corner of the base. She sleeps in something known colloquially as a Big-Ass Tent, which is exactly what it sounds like.
They eat all their meals together. After work, he picks her up and they watch television or a movie. Sometimes they call home. The night ends when he drops her off at her tent.
On Saturdays, they shop at a market on the base where local vendors hawk Afghan rugs, knock-off watches and glass jewelry, and bootleg DVDs.
Some nights they play ball hockey. They both play defence, but on different teams that haven't faced off against each other yet.
They have four kids. Their eldest son, Alex, is over here, too. For a while, he served under his father in the battle group. Now he's with B Company out in Kandahar's restive Panjwaii district.
But soon the dunes and dust of Afghanistan will be far behind Emond and Yaxley. They've got a beach vacation in Thailand coming up, and after that just a few more months overseas. Then it's back to their home outside Quebec City.
Until then, surrounded by violence and mayhem, they find comfort in each other.
"I find it makes it a lot easier having him here," Yaxley says, "because all the stresses of the day, when I see him, they just go away."

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