Corrections officer called to duty in Afghanistan | DrumhellerMail
Last updateTue, 18 Jun 2024 12pm

Corrections officer called to duty in Afghanistan


    The spirit of Remembrance Day is to look back on the sacrifices that ordinary people have made for the cause of freedom for our country. Often you do not have to look back very far.

 Reservist Sergeant Ernie Corbin returned last October from Afghanistan. He served in the Military Police with the 14 MP Platoon. While in Afghanistan he served with the Counter Intelligence Unit.
    Corbin has worked as a corrections officer at the Drumheller Institution for about 10 years. He took up this career after serving for about seven years in the regular forces Military Police. During his military career, he served within Canada in moments of crisis including the Quebec Ice Storm in 1998.
    As a reservist, he was in Afghanistan for seven months and was at the front of the line in fragile conflict ridden areas, stationed at the forward operating bases at the front line. His responsibility was primarily looking for internal threats within the compound. This included screening Afghan citizens who worked on the bases, which screening interviews, as well as biometrics to scan eyes, fingerprints, photos and voice recognition to identify the coming and going populations.
    “They could lie about their names, but they can’t lie about fingerprints” he said.
    Working at the forward operating bases he was right at the edge of the action. The living conditions were stark living in tents or sea containers, and regular communication was limited. The sound of bombs, rockets and gunfire were not uncommon.
    “You never knew where hey were coming from or where they were going to hit because it wasn’t an exact science for them,” he recalls.
    One instant threatened Corbin while he was serving. While travelling in a convoy from one forward operating base to another, they were ambushed. The convoy came in contact with an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) and Taliban fighters ambushed the vehicles.
    As a reservist, he volunteered to make the journey. He said it was not a hard decision to serve his country.
    “There’s a sense of duty. There were some of my friends over there, and you feel you want to go,” he said.
    “My grandfather served in the war and my great grandfather served in World War 1, and when it comes down to it they were pretty much told to go in those days. It is for freedom. Everyone thinks freedom is guaranteed, and it is not. Everyone around the world is fighting for some kind of freedom. Afghans are no different.”
    He said in his seven months he could see the efforts of the Canadian Forces were making a difference. This included building infrastructure and respect.
    “For Afghans, one of the biggest things for them is respect, that is one of their philosophies on life. As soon as you disrespect them you are no good to them for hundreds of years,” he said.
    Corbin is a legion member in his father’s hometown and makes sure to attend Remembrance Day Ceremonies.  

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