By Colonel Mark Gasparotto, MSM, CD (Ret'd)
After a long and winding road, the documentary film based on 23 Field Squadron's book Clearing the Way: Combat Engineers in Kandahar was premiered at the Forest City Film Festival (London, Ontario) in October 2017. Attended by MGen Omer Lavoie who commanded the Battle Group to which 23 Field Squadron was attached; Colonel Basinger, Director Engineers, five Silver Cross families, many members of the Squadron traveling from across Canada along with their families, the film, produced by Paul and Brendon Culliton, won the Audience Choice Award. Introducing Clearing the Way, to a sold-out crowd, was LGen Peter Devlin (Ret'd).
I was tremendously honoured to attend the premier as it was an evening that represented all the efforts to get 23 Field Squadron's story to the screen - a worthy fight in its own right and one taken up by my good friend Paul Culliton and his son Brendon. It was an evening where many members of the Squadron reunited in remembrance and, as importantly, to fully live in present. It was an evening shared with our families and friends who, for some, may now have a better understanding of what their loved ones experienced in the crucible that was Kandahar. It was an evening that I will always cherish. Kandahar was the defining moment of my service and I remain forever proud of the team that the Canadian Military Engineers and Canadian Armed Forces built together to face that test.
A short Youtube video recording of LGen Devlin's introduction to the film at the festival in which he gives tribute to the families of five Silver Star families attending the debut. It can be viewed by clicking here.
For Facebook, there is a Group page Clearing the Way where you can watch the trailer for this excellent film.