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In Taliban crosshairs


Army.ca Legend
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While this is dated for today, the author mentions Nichola Goddard, so it might belong in Thoughts and Prayers

In Taliban crosshairs
'All at once, a storm of machine-gun and rocket fire rained down on the exposed LAV, bullets ricocheting off the angled front armour or singing over the Canadians' heads. "Here we go, boys!" Sergeant Mike Denine shouted'
Chris Wattie, National Post  Published: Tuesday, September 30, 2008
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Ian Hope had led his Niner Tac ahead of the main Canadian force back to the ruins atop the hill at Gundy Ghar. With him were a troop of gunners from the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery and two of their new M777 howitzers, high-calibre artillery pieces capable of hurling a high-explosive shell more than 30 kilometres and dropping it within a few metres of its target. After greeting a small band of Afghan police, led by a Captain Massoud, Hope stationed his LAVs around the edges of the hilltop in position to cover the assault on the villages just visible in the growing light. From the top of Gundy Ghar, Niner Tac could bring the rapid-fire cannon of its LAVs down on anyone moving in or out of the huddle of small, interconnected compounds, while the artillery's 155-mm howitzers could drop their deadly rounds wherever the attacking companies called for them.

Nichola Goddard, the Forward Observation Officer (FOO) attached to Charlie Company, roamed more or less independently, looking for the best spot from which to direct the artillery's volleys of fire. Using the sophisticated computers and targeting systems in the back of her armoured vehicle, Goddard could call down a fire mission within minutes, directing the barrage with pinpoint accuracy on to a specific building or even a smaller target and showering it with hundreds of kilograms of high explosives and steel shell fragments. Goddard was one of only a handful of women in the overwhelmingly male battle group but was a popular officer, as much for her skill at calling in fire from the faraway guns as her toothy grin and apparently boundless enthusiasm for her dangerous work. Nich, as she was known to her fellow officers, and her FOO crew were often in the most exposed positions on the battlefield, constantly positioning and repositioning their LAV to get the best view of possible targets and "walk" artillery rounds on to enemy positions as quickly as possible.

While Hope watched the distant vehicles crawl toward their objective in the still-dim pre-dawn light, Massoud walked up to the side of his LAV and looked out over the green fields and sand-coloured buildings far below. His eyes strained to penetrate the darkness beneath his customary special forces baseball cap. "You'll be fighting within 30 minutes -- guaranteed," he said quietly, looking up at the Canadian colonel. "You'll see."

Massoud's cellphone buzzed. After a brief conversation in Pashtu, the bearded Afghan police captain turned to Hope. "They've moved," he said simply. One of his informants had told him that while a large group of Taliban had indeed spent the night in a schoolhouse in Nalgham, they had left before dawn and were now hiding in a mosque in the village of Bayanzi, several kilometres to the east of where the Canadian battle group was now headed. Hope picked up his radio handset.
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"Ian Hope, Nich Goddard, Sgt Denine".  It is a " older story" but very interesting article on the specifics of an encounter.  I look forward to reding the rest of it. 
Its from the book Contact Charlie

Just read it


Thought it was from a Book excerpt, will have to add that to my reading list.
Thanks for pointing out the Title.
I just bought it at Chapters. It is detailed and well written, the author is apparently also a reservist in Toronto. I'm only a chapter into it but would recommend it.
Its a great book I could not put it down read it in a day or so  :cdn:
I love those type of books, short, long, paperback or hardcover, Anything that engrosses me to the point I don't go to bed on time or read while eating.  Will have to check the post to see if they have the latest excerpt until I can order the book.
I am still trying to get a copy, but if it is anything like "THIRTEEN DAYS" I know I will not put it down!! Ubique
Just bought this book as well. It is indeed very hard to put down, if I had more free time I'd probably already be done.
Yeah. I meant 'Fifteen Days' by Christie Blatchford. My bad.. three year old running around looking for his 'puppy'... got distracted for a second. Ubique