First impressions from Afghanistan

BGen Whitecross’ first blog post from Afghanistan:

Q How did you feel when you found out you were going to Afghanistan – what were some of the personal challenges?

A I was surprised as it was not something I had expected at the time, however, I was thrilled that I would be chosen by the Canadian Forces senior leadership to participate in this mission. Of course, knowing that your going to be gone for a year is always a challenge personally and professionally – this was something we discussed as a family. Luckily I have a tremendous support network at home and a family that understands the importance of this mission and my participation in it.

Q What is your job while you are in Afghanistan?

A I am part of the Multi-national ISAF HQ in Kabul and hold the position of Deputy to DCOS Comms (Deputy Chief of Staff, Communications)

Q Can you describe where you will be living?

A I am living in Kabul, at ISAF HQ. I live in an accommodation container, eat in the central kitchen facility run by NATO and have an office to work from. We have all the necessities of home, even a place to work-out when time allows it!

Q Can you describe your first impressions when you arrived in Afghanistan?

A I came through Kandahar and the first thing that struck me was the immense heat and humidity. Having since arrived at Kabul, where it is still hot, but no where near as hot or humid as Kandahar, I continue to be impressed and amazed that our soldiers work in such a climate as Kandahar. Work-wise, I am surrounded by determined and motivated people from all over the world here to do what has to be done – I marvel at the great work relationships and focus by all members of the staffs. Unfortunately I also feel the sense of loss when a member nation looses a military member, it is felt by all.

Q What has been greatest challenge for you so far?

A Like any new post, it’s learning new terminology, finding my way and learning what I need to know to do my job.

Q Have you met any Afghan women?

A Only a few and not on a personal level.

Q How do the Afghan men react to you?

A For those limited few I have met, no different than other men I meet.

Comments: 5 Comments

5 Responses to “First impressions from Afghanistan”

  1. Ian says:

    I am a very big fan of yours and have followed your career since it started. Okay even before we married. I am amazed how you can be positive through all you have seen from the places around the world that are less than fair to the people that live in them. Through it all you are compassionate, kind and faithful that things will get better. The honesty and integrety that you show is a testiment to the people you serve with and for. Be safe. Your Loving Husband.

  2. harrietglynn says:

    How wonderful to hear from someone actually in Afghanistan. I hope to hear more about your personal experiences there.

  3. BGen Whitecross, we had the pleasure of meeting while I worked as the EA to Col (now BGen) Russell in Op Podium.
    Your hard work is admirable and it is obviously what has propelled you so far in the military structure.
    It’s funny as when I read that you were one of the highest ranking females in the military, I never thought of it that way. To me, you were simply another soldier who had worked hard to achieve their rank. So perhaps we are entering that stage where women at the top, and in combat roles, are no longer thought of as anomalies.
    I wish you the best on your tour and the best to your family, as Ian and I have emailed a few times and I know he misses you terribly. But your dedication to your family is obvious and at the end of the day, that will help you get through a very long year away from them.
    Best of luck

  4. Kim says:

    BGen Whitecross, I am reading your blog while sitting here at work. You have solidified my drive to be there, in Afghanistan, hopefully sooner than later. I have wanted to go for years but always seem to get looked over or have to stay home for my family. I would like to get there before you come home just to see a woman in action/authority, to see the difference we can make. I am always asked why I would want to be over there and my reply is always the same, I want to make a difference, for the women and daughters of an unfair world. Our daughters are so lucky to live in Canada, I want women all over the world to be just as blessed. Thank you for your inspiration and God Bless you and yours. – Kim

  5. Brianne says:

    BGen Whitecross,
    I am amazed at how positively you are able to answer all these questions! I hope that you know how much of a difference your making.
    Je t’aime, et tu me manque