Minister won’t ever forget his time in the Afghanistan war zone


Canadian Army chaplain Jim Short wasn’t supposed to ride along with the troops during their village firefights with the Taliban. Officially, he was a non-combatant. But the young men on patrol during the country’s Afghan war said they needed him.

“I’m not a young guy (56). When I accompanied our soldiers in the field, the 22-year-olds helped me keep up in the 100-degree heat,” he says.

Short, minister at Ladner United in Delta, was one of a handful of part-time military padres to volunteer for a nine-month tour in the combat zone.

He describes his service in 2008 in two words: “hugely intense.”

“We were there to deal with injuries and death,” says Short.

“Soldiers have a lot of questions and sad things happen. War’s consuming. It’s organized chaos. It smells like dust and diesel. It’s very noisy. It’s pain and stress and screams and people doing amazing jobs in challenging situations.

Short makes the wry observation that they don’t open army hospital trauma rooms to fix broken arms. “They open it up because four or five guys have been severely injured in a blast. There’s blood and horribly damaged bodies.”

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