Afghanistan tour of duty was satisfying experience for city soldier

Diane Crocker
Published on May 14, 2014

For Major Clayton Ereaut, serving in Afghanistan was a very satisfying experience.

The commanding officer of the Second Battalion, Royal Newfoundland Regiment’s A Company served as part of the provincial reconstruction team from February to August in 2007.

On Friday he stood with some 20 members of his company at Remembrance Square in Corner Brook for a National Day of Honour ceremony.

See related: Day of Honour photos

Standing next to the young men and women who volunteer to serve their country today were close to 30 men and women, members of area Royal Canadian Legions, who did the same in the past.

It was in March, after the final contingent of Canadian Armed Forces members returned from Afghanistan, that Prime Minister Steven Harper declared May 9 National Day of Honour in recognition of the military mission.

The ceremony in Corner Brook featured addresses by Premier Tom Marshall, Liberal MP Gerry Byrne and Deputy Mayor Bernd Staeben and was emceed by Branch 13 Legion member Dave Wells. About 40 other people attended the event.

Ereaut and Master Corp. Matthew Janes placed a wreath at the Cenotaph during the ceremony.

“It’s separate from Remembrance Day and it signifies the end of the hostilities from the Afghan war,” said Ereaut after the event. “And it’s really gratifying to see that it’s being done across the country.”

For Ereaut going to Afghanistan was something he really wanted to do. “I felt that I had the attributes to help the Afghan people.”

To say he’s seen the good and bad of war would be an understatement.

The good came from the work he was involved with while at Camp Nathan Smith near Kandahar.

 “We were what we call a force enabler,” said Ereaut. “We dealt with the public, the general population and we went around to the villages to assess the village needs.”

After that the team worked on projects with the villagers — everything from restoring mosques to building roads and wells.

“We helped them to help themselves,” he said.

In six months the team completed more than 300 projects.

The bad he’s seen came from the situations he and others who served in Afghanistan faced.

“You could never let your guard down,” said Ereaut.

It also came from the people he’s lost.

“You know you’ve got a job to do, and you just think about them, but at the same time you know you’ve to move on and do the job.”