Re: the editorial Military forgets flexibility (June 22). As your chief of the defence staff, I am personally responsible for the sons and daughters of Canada serving in the Canadian Forces and I am fully committed to treating wounded-in-action personnel with respect, fairness and compassion.
"Universality of Service" is an important principle that means all Forces members are sailors, soldiers and airmen and women first and must be capable of performing any duty that may be assigned to them. This allows Canada to maintain the combat-capable force it requires for our security. The Universality of Service principle is reflected in the National Defence Act and explicitly incorporated into the Canadian Human Rights Act.
We will ensure our men and women in uniform who have sacrificed so much receive the very best medical treatment and support possible. Furthermore, I have directed that no service person who has been wounded in Afghanistan be released, unless they have personally initiated the release process themselves. I can also assure you the Canadian Forces provide all wounded-in-action personnel the necessary time and support needed to recover from their wounds. We will also assist them in seeking additional opportunities to transition with confidence to the next phase of their lives.
Gen. Walt Natynczyk
I am a big supporter of the Canadian Forces and proud of the job that's being done by the grunts in the field in Afghanistan that should make all Canadians proud. But the bureaucratic officers in DND's treatment of Cpl. Ryan Elrick is nothing but shameful.
Cpl. Elrick voluntarily served two tours of duty in Afghanistan and lost both legs. We owe it to him to allow him to continue to serve Canada in a limited way. I recall an American general named Fred Franks, who lost a leg in the Vietnam War, led the famed U.S. Army VII corps in the first Gulf War and easily destroyed or captured 14 Iraqi divisions. If Franks could do his job, I'm sure Cpl. Elrick can continue to do his job as an intelligence analyst behind the desk.