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Luck, or lack of it, matters to many Canadian soldiers on battlefield

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Luck, or lack of it, matters to many Canadian soldiers on battlefield
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FORWARD OPERATING BASE WILSON, Afghanistan - At first blush it was a chilling sight: two rows of handmade crosses covered with the gear of Canadian soldiers.

A helmet and flak jacket adorned one of the crosses, while various kinds of military kit, including ammunition and clothing, were on the others. It was reminiscent of the final resting markers granted to many troops during the Second World War.

But here at Forward Operating Base Wilson, about 60 kilometres west of Kandahar City, it is only the sign of military ingenuity.

The crudely constructed crosses were put up to keep helmets, flak jackets and rounds of ammunition out of the thick, heavy dust that blows through this base on a regular basis. They also keep some unwanted visitors out of clothing - including the gargantuan camel spider, mice and even possibly snakes.

Ingenious or not, it's a little chilling for many of the soldiers stationed at the camp.

"I think that's pretty unlucky because it looks like a graveyard," said Pte. Francis Archambault, 23, of Valcartier, Que.

"That's purely a superstition but you see pictures where sometimes the rifle is pointed down and the helmet is on top. This is too much like that."

Instead of hanging up his gear, he is satisfied with keeping his belongings in a wooden box.

"If my gear is hanging on a cross it had better have my name engraved on it," he chuckled with a touch of gallows humour.

Archambault's discomfort with the crosses was shared by his friend Cpl. Christophe Clement.

"I guess I'm superstitious too. I just arrived here one night and there they were. Some of the guys are comfortable with doing it but it is hard to see it as anything else other than gravestones.," said Clement.

"I think keeping things in a box works just fine for me."

Superstition and religion have always been part of life in the foxhole.
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Heh.... Interesting

Ingenious & macabre way of dealing with the spiders, scorpions & dust
Am surprised the media hasn't bashed us again for our "mock" cemetaries...

Guess they'll save this for a slow news day

What?

Oh... This WAS a slow news day :)
 
I used the "cross" thing to hang my kit on, in accommodations.  There was only one in my room so it didn't look like a graveyard.  Besides, I would have had no room for another box to store kit in there!!  It certainly was convenient as you could just grab it on your way out the door.

Slow news day indeed.  Love the "gargantuan" camel spiders comment..... ::)
 
I also use a wooden "cross" to hang my kit on, but it is lower and shorter than the ones they refer to in the article, theirs have the cross actually poking out clearly, while the shorter wooden kinds just look like floating vests and kit, more or less. 
 
Let's face it, to the average joe who hangs his helmet, tac & ballistic vests, it's a "coat tree"
to the news reporter who doesn't have anything to do & asks silly questions, it's a "cross" or grave marker.

Slow news day indeed!
 
PMedMoe said:
I used the "cross" thing to hang my kit on, in accommodations.  There was only one in my room so it didn't look like a graveyard.  Besides, I would have had no room for another box to store kit in there!!  It certainly was convenient as you could just grab it on your way out the door.

Slow news day indeed.  Love the "gargantuan" camel spiders comment..... ::)

Reading my mind again Moe?        ;)

They've been in use since the early days in Kabul....and the spiders, come on.            ::)

Regards
 
I used one of these things. Had my kevlar lid, ECBA, and holster on mine, never dawned on me about the 'cross' until now. We even had Germaine cross (iron cross) versions too.

We all had them. All wooden.

I'll see if I have a pic which will fit on here, all when I get home, ha!

Cheers,

Wes
 
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