Author Topic: OP JOELOUIS (sic): Getting the Snack Cakes to the Troops!  (Read 4575 times)

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Shared with the usual disclaimer....

Forces' e-mails track 'Jos. Louis diplomacy'
Minister's Request

Graeme Hamilton, National Post, 26 Jun 08
Article link

MONTREAL -- History books may not remember the contribution of Warrant Officer Marc Desgagne to the Canadian military mission in Afghanistan, but without him, an urgent operation last fall would have ended in failure.

It was the afternoon of Oct. 3, when "Operation Jos. Louis" was launched.

Maxime Bernier, then foreign affairs minister, was leaving the next day for Afghanistan from CFB Trenton. He wanted to distribute some Jos. Louis snack cakes -- created in his Beauce riding -- to troops from the Quebec-based Van Doos.

E-mail correspondence published yesterday by the Montreal newspaper Le Devoir shows how the last-minute search for Jos. Louis consumed Canadian Forces personnel.

"As per our [discussion] we require qty 2000 Joe Louis on the flight going out tomorrow," Major Brock Heilman of Canadian Operational Support Command wrote in an e-mail at 2: 49 p. m, under the subject heading, "Op JOELOUIS." A few minutes later, continuing to misspell the snack name, he added jokingly:

are branch planning Op FLAKEY as we speak … just in case," referring to another Vachon pastry.

Captain James Hickey warned that failure was not an option: The flight was leaving the next day at 3:45 p. m., "and those Joe Louis cakes must be on it."

But hunting down snack foods was never part of basic training. At 4:39 p. m., Lieutenant-Colonel Rob Dundon announced the effort had hit a wall. "No joy here," he reported back in an e-mail flagged high importance. "We pulled out all the stops and checked with all distributors and retailers from Kingston to Toronto. We can only muster 46 boxes [of six] caramel cakes. The bottom line is that the request simply came too late." The matter, he said, was closed for the night.

Warrant Officer Desgagne of 8 Wing food services in Trenton was home from work when he heard about the problem from a former colleague at Canadian Operational

Op JOELOUIS is in motion … we Support Command in Ottawa. Over 2½ hours, he drove 160 kilometres, clearing the shelves of Jos. Louis at nine grocery stores in Trenton, Brighton and Belleville.

At 10: 04 p. m., he e-mailed the news that he had amassed 2,185 of the round chocolate cakes in various-sized boxes. The total bill was $972, and he claimed $79.20 for mileage. He delivered the cargo to the plane the next morning, giving special instructions to make sure the cakes were refrigerated during the layover at Camp Mirage in the United Arab Emirates. Within days, Mr. Bernier was being photographed distributing the cakes to soldiers in Kandahar.

Warrant Officer Desgagne earned praise. His efforts meant that "not only was the Minister satisfied, more importantly the troops at [Kandahar Air Field] got an unexpected treat from home," an Oct. 8 e-mail noted. Not everyone was pleased though. Lieutenant-Colonel Carrie Fortier of 8 Wing was angry that the cakes had been procured without following the proper chain of command.

"If the back-door requests keep coming, my folks will continue to do their damnedest to make it work -- missing leave and burning out by doing so, and you and I will not be able to exercise our leadership prerogative to ensure our folks are looked after," she wrote to the squadron commander in an Oct. 9 e-mail.

In retrospect, Mr. Bernier may have wished Warrant Officer Desgagne had not shown such perseverance. His "Jos. Louis diplomacy" ended up being ridiculed back in his home province.

"We thank our soldiers for their work and their sacrifice by giving them cakes," Liberal MP Denis Coderre told La Presse at the time. "That's nice." When Mr. Bernier resigned last month, the Jos. Louis episode was cited as evidence that he had been a lightweight on the world stage.

ghamilton@nationalpost.com


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Offline 54/102 CEF

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Re: OP JOELOUIS (sic): Getting the Snack Cakes to the Troops!
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2008, 19:08:37 »
Sounds like Carrie Fortier needs a trip to an FOB :)
You can visit me when I retire to the Island of Sayonara - but if the tide goes out - you go too - OK?

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Re: OP JOELOUIS (sic): Getting the Snack Cakes to the Troops!
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2008, 21:43:09 »
I'm just pleased to see a Sr. NCO being recognized for pulling fat outta the fire - often fat thrown in by politicians' demands.
“The risk of insult is the price of clarity.” -- Roy H. Williams

The words I share here are my own, not those of anyone else or anybody I may be affiliated with.

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Offline CBH99

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Re: OP JOELOUIS (sic): Getting the Snack Cakes to the Troops!
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2008, 03:37:06 »
Definately a great story!!     Not to ruin it by any means, but....isn't Camp Mirage still SUPPOSED to be in a secret location??     :P
Fortune Favours the Bold...and the Smart.

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Offline Teddy Ruxpin

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Re: OP JOELOUIS (sic): Getting the Snack Cakes to the Troops!
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2008, 09:07:07 »
Sounds like Carrie Fortier needs a trip to an FOB :)

No, she's right.  It appears, by this story, that we have CF personnel scrambling around at the last minute to sort out an idiotic requirement for a brainless politician's photo op.  Wonder what got bumped from the chalk to fit the cakes on board? 

It's not a great story - it's embarrassing and reflective of the total lack of consideration for reality and other people that some political leaders (of all stripes) display all too often.
A man may fight for many things. His country, his friends, his principles, the glistening tear on the cheek of a golden child. But personally, I'd mud-wrestle my own mother for a ton of cash, an amusing clock and a sack of French porn.

Dulce bellum inexpertis.

Offline 54/102 CEF

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Re: OP JOELOUIS (sic): Getting the Snack Cakes to the Troops!
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2008, 09:31:53 »
The story is full of spin

DND load fluff on plane

for Conservative minister

condemned by Liberal Minister

Supposedly what Coderre says in Ridicule in the home province??

I doubt it - My corner of La Belle Province has lots of support the troops ribons on the morning commute
You can visit me when I retire to the Island of Sayonara - but if the tide goes out - you go too - OK?

Offline Timex

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Re: OP JOELOUIS (sic): Getting the Snack Cakes to the Troops!
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2008, 11:19:58 »
Too bad the boys who got to scarf them down had no Idea that the the WO picked up the ball and ran with it. It reminded me a bit of the course WO we had when I was an inmate at the Battle School. One of the coldest nights I can remember this guy, who was normally an SOB, dragged a haybox full of soup up to the trench line. I can still hear him whisper from behind "Soup?" Turned out be be one of the best lessons I ever learned about taking care of the troops.

OK, back to slagging the politicians!

Offline North Star

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Re: OP JOELOUIS (sic): Getting the Snack Cakes to the Troops!
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2008, 11:43:00 »
I agree with most of the posts above - this was a pathetic political attack story based, unfortunately, on something that the CF should never had taken on as its responsbility.

If the Foreign Affairs minister wanted a photo-op to appeal to people in his riding, it's the responsibility of his "exempt" political staff to do the legwork, not the CF logistics chain. We often go too far out of our way for politicians when they have their own paid staff (at taxpayers' expense, no less) to do that for them.

I support the Conservatives, but this Minister demonstrated a lack of judgement at numerous levels.
â Å“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood..."

Offline Fishbone Jones

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Re: OP JOELOUIS (sic): Getting the Snack Cakes to the Troops!
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2008, 11:56:25 »

I support the Conservatives, but this Minister demonstrated a lack of judgement at numerous levels.

I also, Maxime Bernier, given all his gaffes, was a mistake by Harper from the get go.
Corruption in politics doesn't scare me.
What scares me is how comfortable people are doing nothing about it.

Offline Towards_the_gap

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Re: OP JOELOUIS (sic): Getting the Snack Cakes to the Troops!
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2008, 12:33:08 »
For what it's worth, I don't think Joe Louis' are that nice anyways.