Women in the Canadian Military

9 Afghanistan The war in Afghanistan was Canada’s longest, and its first significant combat engagement since the Korean War. After the September 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States, Canada joined an international coalition to fight the al-Qaeda terrorist network and the Taliban regime that sheltered it in Afghanistan. More than 40,000 Canadian Armed Forces members served in the campaign. The war killed 158 Canadian soldiers, including Captain Nichola Goddard, the first female member of the Canadian Armed Forces to be killed in combat. Although the Taliban were removed from power and the al-Qaeda network was disrupted, Canada and its allies failed to destroy either group, or to secure and stabilize Afghanistan. CONTENT WARNING Please note that the following video deals with loss, violence, and conflict, which can be sensitive topics for students. Educators are encouraged to watch the video before assigning. 1. Watch Captain Sarah Keller’s video testimony and take notes about Captain Keller’s military experience. While watching the video, take notes on the following: • How did Captain Keller’s family react to her joining the military? How do you think your family would react if you joined the military? How might their reactions differ? • What inspired Captain Keller to join the military, and what expectations do you think she had for her role? • What challenges did Captain Keller and her team face in Afghanistan? How may her expectations have compared with the reality of her experience as she served? • What has Captain Keller done in the military since leaving Afghanistan? What kinds of skills do you think were required of her in her more recent deployments, and how do you think they compare to the skills she used in Afghanistan? • What does Remembrance mean to Captain Keller and how does this relate to her reasons for serving and her experiences? • Did Captain Keller’s testimony impact how you understand conflict and Remembrance? Why or why not? 2. Imagine that you are the journalist who conducted this video interview. Write a short newspaper article expanding on your response to one of the above questions. Make sure to give a brief overview of Captain Keller’s service, and address why her experience is significant. EXTENSION ACTIVITY Choose one of the veteran profiles featured earlier in this kit and write a comparative essay. In what ways are Captain Sarah Keller’s experiences similar to and different from the experiences of Canadian service women who served in earlier conflicts? ADDITIONAL RESOURCES 9/11 and Canada Canada and the War in Afghanistan ACTIVITY #11 WOMEN IN COMBAT ROLES Soldiers during a Remembrance Day ceremony, 2010 (DND/CAF/Combat Camera/Cpl Roxanne Shewchuk). Captain Nichola Goddard (DND/CAF). Major Susan French speaks with Captain Janaya Hansen at the ABP Headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan, 2012 (DND/CAF/ Combat Camera/ MCpl Marc-Andre Gaudreault). Corporal Melissa Paquet of the Royal Canadian Dragoons takes stock of canon rounds for an armoured vehicle, Kabul, Afghanistan, 2005 (DND/CAF/ Combat Camera/ Cpl Dan Shouinard). Captain Sarah Keller (Historica Canada).