"We Will Find A Way": Understanding the Legacy of Canadian Special Operations Forces
JOINT SPECIAL OPERATIONS UNIV MACDILL AFB FL
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In October 2001, the Canadian Minister of National Defense MND was repeatedly criticized by the media for the perceived failure of not doing enough to assist their American brethren in Afghanistan in the aftermath of the tragic terrorist attack on the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, in the early morning hours of 11 September 2001. During one such situation, the MND finally revealed that Canada was indeed helping. In fact, he made mention that Canadian commandos were supporting the American effort in theater. The revelation came as a shock to most Canadians. Few actually knew that Canada possessed commandos, or more accurately special operations forces SOF. But, the knowledge that such special troops were in action was enough to quiet the outcry. Nonetheless, the larger issue still remained who were these shadow warriors Their existence was a well-guarded secret. Neither Canadians, nor anyone else for that matter, knew much about Joint Task Force Two JTF 2, much less any of the other SOF-like organizations that had existed in the countrys history that made up the Canadian SOF CANSOF legacy. Significantly, Canadas SOF traditions can be traced back to the Ranger tradition of colonial North America where raiding, or direct action, as well as special reconnaissance allowed the embryonic Canadian nation to punch above its weight and achieve strategic impact through tactical action. The national SOF legacy continued in the Second World War with a number of specialized units and into the Cold War period in the form of the Canadian Airborne Regiment.
- Military Forces and Organizations