OP SCALPEL Signal Troop War Journal

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OP SCALPEL Journal cover.jpg

The "Sig Troop Op Scalpel War Journal" is a documented diary of the formation and deployment of a Signals Troop to the Persian Gulf. The journal was written so both the serving members and fellow Signalers could relate to the Historical sequence of events that followed, during the period 7 Jan - 17 Apr 91.

Prepared By: Sgt Bode and MCpl Cormier

Edited By: WO McMaster P.J.

Approved By: Capt Crane E. R.

OP SCALPEL Bode cormier writing journal.jpg
Sgt Bode (left) and MCpl Cormier working on the Journal

Much thanks to MWO Greg Bode who graciously supplied the text and photos and to LCol Brian Costello (retd) for digitizing them.

January 1991

Jan 91 1st week of Jan, Canada was requested to provide a Field Hospital in support of the British Forces in Saudi Arabia. At this time deployment plans commenced for the formation of the 1st Canadian Field Hospital (1 Cdn Fd Hosp). The deployment of the Hospital to Saudi Arabia was given the Title of "OP SCALPEL". SSF HQ & Sigs Sqn was tasked to provide the Personnel and Communication support. 34 Personnel from the Sqn and 1 member from 2 Svc Bn Sigs were grouped together to form CF SCALPEL Sigs Troop.
Wed 09 Jan A DAG was set up in B-21 for all primary and secondary pers. Upon completion of the DAG, all Primary candidates were notified. The following is a list of all pers that made up the CF SCALPEL Sigs Troop and their assignment according to the Remar positions:
Capt Crane Sig O
WO McMaster Tp WO
Sgt Bode Rad Sgt
Sgt Lebel MCV Sgt
MCpl Cormier OC MCV
MCpl Coventry OC CRTTZ
MCpl Crowe Tp Stores
MCpl Donahue Telop MCV
MCpl Duchemin TE Tech
MCpl Foeller DC CRTTZ
MCpl Mondoux OC CRTTZ
MCpl Holmes-Makcrow DC Ops Cen
MCpl Syrres Rad Tech
Cpl Aubertin Rad Tech
Cpl Clark Lmn
Cpl Crowley DR
Cpl Davies Lmn
Cpl Keenan CRTTZ Det Mbr
Cpl Montgomery Tel Tech
Cpl Nicholson DC Lmn
Cpl Rose MCV Det Mbr
Cpl St-Martin CRTTZ Det Mbr
Sig Dawe DR
Sig Finn Sig O Rvr
Sig Forget CRTTZ Det Mbr
Sig Frenette CRTTZ Det Mbr
Sig Gregory CRTTZ Det Mbr
Sig Kwan MCV Det Mbr
Sig Martin Det Mbr Ops
Sig Richardson DR
Sig Roberts CO Rvr
Sig Sherrington Lmn
Sig Watson CRTTZ Det Mbr
Sig Whelan CRTTZ Det Mbr
10-11 JAN Sqn begins planning and preparation for the communications requirement. Lt Whelan, WO Lane and Sgt Norton represented the Signals in the Shadow Unit. (Shadow Unit consisted of numerous MOC's that were responsible to assist in the planning and preparation for the deployment of the Hospital). DCO (Capt Crane) appointed OC Sig Tp, departed Petawawa for AL Jubail, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar to conduct a Recce. Initial communications requirement consisted of 4 x CRTTZ, 1 x MCV and DR's. Sigs personnel then began to verify veh check lists.
Sat 12 Jan Sig Tp members reported to the Orderly room, 1 Cdn Fd Hosp for in clearances to the Unit. On this day we were no longer members of SSF HQ & Sig Sqn but members of 1 Cdn Fd Hosp.
13-19 Jan RCR Battle School was tasked to initiate and conduct the collective training to all members of 1 Cdn Fd Hosp. 1 Cdn Fd Hosp was made up of 530 Personnel from across Canada with a large number coming from CFB Petawawa. Sigs Troop personnel completed the first serial of the collective training which consisted of:13 Jan - GSK Trg (Geneva Convention, POW, Int Briefing and Land Environmental Training) 14-15 - First Aid Training16 Jan - Briefing was held at the Base Theatre by DCO, Maj Moneypenny confirming the deployment of the Hospital. 16-17 - C7 Weapons Training and Ranges18-19 - NBCW Training and Gas hut*** Wednesday evening 16 Jan 91 - coalition forces commenced "Operation Desert Storm", The Liberation of Kuwait. During the week, QM staff began issuing stores and clothing for the operation.
15 Jan Warning Order for OP SCALPEL issued by CFCCHQ Ref CCOC/OPS 1054 152246Z Jan 91
Sun 20 Jan Capt Crane returned from Recce in Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia. He also liaised with 90 HQ & Sigs Sqn in Bahrain and Qatar.
21-25 Jan Conducted Sigs Trg (Swbd, MCV Op, CRYPTO, CRTTZ, ant construction, KL-43, Map & Compass, EW, and MLVW Drv Trg)
22 Jan Sig O submitted IOR demand to FMCHQ for 2 PA Systems(one for the Hospital and one for Svc Coy). PA System was shipped to Petawawa on 6 Feb 91.
23 Jan DGMPO Tasking OP SCALPEL Communication: Ref DMOC 3089 231240Z Jan 91
24 Jan - CE Op Order 1/91 OP SCALPEL promulgated by CFCCHQ Ref CCOC Ops 1098 242132Z Jan 91.- OP SCALPEL COMM PLAN ISSUED BY FMCHQ : REF OPS OEN 8138 241916Z JAN 91. - Sig O submitted IOR demand for Laptop computer to CenTeg Ops Toronto: Ref Ops 033 242125Z Jan 91.
Sun 27 Jan MCpl Coventry and Foeller departed Petawawa for Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia with ASC 1 (Advance Surgical Centre) with the INMARSAT.
28 Jan - 01 Feb During this week. the Sigs Tp carried on with Comms Trg and Kit Inspection.
29 Jan FMCHQ issue IOR demand for laptop computer for 1 Cdn Fd Hosp. Ref: OCOS Q:Js 003 291193OZ Jan 91

Evening of Tuesday 29 Jan, at building P-22, Capt Crane briefed the Troop on the Operational Comms requirement for the deployment in Saudi Arabia.

30 Jan 2 members of 90 HQ & Sigs Sqn, Sgt Mahle and Cpl Spiers arrived in Al Jubail with 2 IMRCT Detachments.
31 Jan - MCpl Marazzo arrived in Al Jubail from 90 HQ & Sigs Sqn, Bahrain. - DCDS Tasking order development of vehicle mount INTELSAT Terminal. Project completion date Estimated 13 Feb 91. Ref: DMOC 3114 311515Z Jan 91.

Evening of Thursday 31 Jan, the members of Sigs Tp and their wives/girlfriends met at the Jubilee Lodge for a Meet and Greet. The evening consisted of the Commanding Officer SSF HQ & Sig Sqn, LCol Hanrahan speaking to the group. This was followed by a briefing from the Chief Clerk, WO Walls, the Protestant Padre, Padre Brinn, and the RSM, CWO Savoie. The function was organized by MCpl Cormier and included a cold buffet supplied by the wives. The evening was an opportunity for both Sqn members of different Troops and their wives to gather in a social atmosphere and get to know each other.

February 1991

Sun 03 Feb In order for 1 Cdn Fd Hosp to exercise their newly developed SOP's, a CPX was conducted over the next 24 hrs. Sgt Bode, A/Tp WO for the CPX, organized and deployed the Sigs Dets.

On Sun evening, MCpls Cormier, Crowe and Venne departed for FMC HQ St-Hubert to pick up Grid computers that would be used in theatre. (MCpl Venne was not part of OP SCALPEL, but was the Sqn ADP Rep). While waiting final preparations for delivery, they went to the Montreal Forum for a tour. At that time, the Montreal Canadians were conducting a practice. They had the opportunity to meet with Ryan Walter who expressed a concern for the Canadian Soldiers partcipating in the Gulf Crisis. He invited them to meet with team members in the locker room following the practise.They were then given tickets to watch the evening game against the Minnesota North stars. Following the Canadians victory by a 5-4 score, Ryan Walter presented them with three autographed hockey sticks for 1 Cdn Fd Hosp expressing the Montreal Canadians Best Wishes and a Safe return. The sticks were engraved and two of them were taken to Saudi Arabia by the Sigs Tp.

OP SCALPEL Sigtp hockeysticks alqaysumah.jpg
Posing with the hockey sticks in Al Qaysumah

During a group Photo, the RSM, CWO Doyle read the inscription on the Plaque to all members of 1 Canadian Field Hospital. The inscription read as follows:          "TO THE MEN AND WOMEN          OF 1 CANADIAN FIELD HOSPITAL          BEST WISHES AND A SAFE RETURN          FROM THE MONTREAL CANADIANS"

Mon 04 Feb CP Ex concluded, Unit SOP's were amended as required.

MCpl Lepine arrived in Al Jubail from CFCC Debert with the INMARSAT.

FMC req CFARS eqpt for OP SCALPEL. Ref: Sigs 0062 041630Z Jan 91. Response was: Req will be reevaluated when conflict ceases.

Cancellation of DCDS tasking, development of vehicle mount INTELSAT Terminal. Ref: DMOC 3128 041700Z Feb 9l.

DCDS Tasking (development of veh mount INTELSAT term - not to be deployed with 1 Cdn Fd Hosp). Ref: DGCEO 007 041800Z Feb 9l.

05-08 Feb Sig Tp pers continued to prepare equip/packing triwalls.
Tue 05 Feb MCpls Cormier, Crowe and Venne returned from FMC HQ With Grid computers.

A general briefing was held at the Base Theatre which included representatives from the Int, NBC and Medical staff.

At the RCR Drill Hall, Bldg O9, a special speech was addressed to all members of 1 Cdn Fd Hosp by MGen Barr (Ret'd), Col Comdt of the Medical Services Branch. He also read a personal message from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, conveying her high regards to 1 Cdn Fd Hosp and best wishes for a safe return.

INMARSAT Number 0725 arrived in Al Jubail from Canada.

Wed 06 Feb Briefing for all members of 1 Cdn Fd Hosp at the Centennial Club. BGen Crabbe, Comd SSF introduced the Associate Minister of National Defence, The Honourable Mary Colllns. She addressed all members of 1 Cdn Fd Hosp, expressing that Canadian's are proud and supportive for the deployment of it's Troops in the Gulf. She was also accompanied by the Honourable Paul Dick, Minister of Supply and Services.
Thu 07 Feb Briefing at Base Theatre for all members and their spouses. Topics included Family Service Centre, Pay, CE and Base Padres.

INMARSAT Number 0723 arrived in Al Jubail from Canada.

Sat 09 Feb MCpl Foeller departed Al Jubail for Al Qaysumah with the INMARSAT to provide Comms for ASC 1. He left on a Finnish C130 Hercules, "Contour Flying" all the way due to Heavy air traffic congestion.
10-16 Feb Sigs Troop went on embarkation leave.
Wed 13 Feb Capt Crane, Sgt Lebel, Sigs Finn and Roberts departed Canada for Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia.
On 14-15 Feb MCpls Cormier, Crowe and Venne conducted Grid computer Trg to members of 1 Cdn Fd Hosp.

IMRCT Detachment deployed to Al Jubail Airport.

14 Feb COMSEC waiver given for "MOATS". Ref: DCOMSEC 22004 142010Z Feb 91. Sig O informed Bahrain, unable to use moats due to the fact that there is no telephone in the forward area.
15 Feb INTELSAT cct activated. Ref: TMO 21 141530Z Feb 91, DATA SYS 059 011956Z Feb 91., DATA SVS 070 141231Z Feb 91.
Sun 17 Feb Sigs Troop returned from embarkation leave.

Capt Crane departed Al Jubail for Bahrain for liaison with 90 HQ & Sigs Sqn.

Sig Finn departed Al Jubail for Al Qaysumah by road move.

Mon 18 Feb Capt Crane returned from Bahrain.

Sig Roberts departed Al Jubail for Al Qaysumah with ASC 2.

British Military imposed limitation of 100 watt peak power on HF Comms. This affected only the CRTTZ, not the IMRCT.

Query for SKY TV (Satellite) indicated not avail.

Tue 19 Feb Capt Crane departed Al Jubail for Al Qaysumah recce.
OP SCALPEL Sigo capt crane.jpg
Sig O Captain Crane

Sig Finn and Roberts are employed with MCpl Foeller, working the INMARSAT.

Wed 20 Feb Capt Crane returned to Al Jubail on completion of recce in Al Qaysumah.

Sig Troop picture taken at Troop Room Bldg M9, CFB Petawawa prior to departure.

MCpl Donahue, Cpl St-Martin and Sig Kwan departed Canada for Al Jubail with the CRYPTO gear.

Thu 21 Feb Last minute preparations were being completed in Canada, which included the verification of personal kit.
Fri 22 Feb Muster parade held at Bldg O9 drill hall for chalk comd's briefing.

MCpl Donahue, Cpl St Martin and Sig Kwan arrived in Al Jubail with the CRYPTO gear.

Sat 23 Feb Remainder of Sigs departed Petawawa with the main body.

0300 - Wpns draw. 0400 - Muster Parade at Dundonald Hall, completed DAP. 0530 - Boarded buses and departed for CFB Trenton. 0930 - Arrived in Trenton, had breakfast and reported to AMU. 1500 - CF Boeing 707 Flight departs, destination "Al Jubail Saudi Arabia".

OP SCALPEL Departure 23feb trenton.jpg
Boarding the plane
*** Early evening, Eastern Standard Time it was announced that the that the Ground War had started.***
Sun 24 Feb 0500 - arrived in Lahr, West Germany.

Departure delayed 24 hours due to aircraft mechanical problems.

In Saudi Arabia, a VHF Comm Link was established between Al Jubail airport and the Canadian camp, Camp Halla to provide Mov Con information on the arrival of chalks. Det members included:

Airport Detachment Camp Halla Detachment
MCpl Lepine MCpl Marazzo
Cpl St-Martin Cpl Spiers
Mon 25 Feb 0200 - Reported back to AMU.

0400 - Flight departed Lahr, West Germany.

3 hr stop over in Akrotiri, Cyprus.

1700 - Arrived in Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia.

Sigs personnel met by Capt Crane. (Temp +25 degrees C)

2000 - Boarded buses and departed for British In Clearance Centre. On completion, departed for Camp Halla. While on route a "SCUD" alert was sounded, requiring personnel to go into TOPP High. Arrived at Camp Halla, received briefing, allocated quarters and ate a late meal.

OP SCALPEL Opscen camp halla.jpg
Operations Centre - Camp Halla

Note: At 0600 hrs, Sgt Mahle and MCpl Coventry departed Camp Halla for Al Qaysumah with step up IMRCT detachment.

Tue 26 Feb At approx 0130 hrs another "SCUD". alert sounded. All pers in Camp Halla adopted NBC State TOPP High. The all clear was given a short time later.

Over the past several days prior to the arrival of the main body, MCpl Donahue and Sig Kwan were preparing Sigs vehs, collecting and organizing stores for the deployment North.

Det Comds signed for individual detachments. Remainder of the day was spent preparing for the road move to Al Qaysumah. The following personnel remained in camp Halla to provide INMARSAT facilities and VHF link to the Airport:

MCpl Marazzo MCpl Lepine
  Cpl St-Martin
  Cpl Forget
  Cpl Richardson

OP SCALPEL Symes montgomery pre aljubail.jpg
MCpl Symes and Cpl Montgomery preparing their detachment for the road move North
Wed 27 Feb 0700 - The following personnel from Sigs Troop deployed North to Al Qaysumah:
Capt Crane WO McMaster Sgt Bode
Sgt Lebel MCpl Cormier MCpl Crowe
MCpl Donahue MCpl Duchemin MCpl Holmes-Makcrow
MCpl Mondoux MCpl Symes Cpl Aubertin
Cpl Clark Cpl Crowley Cpl Davies
Cpl Keenan Cpl Montgomery Cpl Nicholson
Cpl Rees Cpl Rose Sig Dawe
Sig Frenette Sig Gregory Sig Kwan
Sig Martin Sig Sherrington Sig Watson
Sig Whelan    

OP SCALPEL Sig tp prenorth.jpg
Sig Tp prior to heading North

Also included was the British SCRA (Single Channel Radio Access) Detachment. The SCRA allowed access into the British PTARMIGAN System. The Detachment was manned by L/Cpl Darke, LIS Smith and Tpr Graham.

The weather on departure was sunny and warm.

1430 - Packets began arriving in Al Qaysumah. The CDN Fd Hosp was co-located with the British 32 Field Hospital, situated in the Desert approx 70 Kms from the Iraqi Border. The Hospitals were established within a large Berm (a large wall of dirt, approx 12 ft in height surrounding the Hospital). Although the weather was warm and sunny, the terrain was very muddy due to recent rain storms.

OP SCALPEL Rcr ds inside berm.jpg
RCR Defence and Security Platoon inside the berm

OP SCALPEL Iltis bode.jpg
Sgt Bode somewhere in the desert

Upon arrival, we were greeted by Sgt Mahle, MCpl Foeller, MCpl Coventry, Sig Finn and Roberts. As the IMRCT was already operational, both the Ops Centre and MCV/DA were set up.

OP SCALPEL Msgcen da alqaysumah.jpg
Message Centre and DA - Al Qaysumah

The Comms complex was situated within the Hospital berm and our bivouac was approx 2.5 Km away in a berm co-located with Svc Coy. This required the Sigs to shuttle to meals and shift changes by MLVW troop carrier. A Canadian field kitchen was available to provide our meals. As our stay was not intended to be long, the Sigs still managed to set up a comfortable bivouac using 2 four sect ion modular tentage. A shower point was erected with modular poles and 2 solar heating bags. Included in our area was the Tech Shop and the Troop Stores. Our power source was provided by a 10 Kw Diesel Generator, which was mounted on a MLVW CRTTZ veh.

OP SCALPEL Shower facility.jpg
Shower facility

OP SCALPEL Commscomplex imrct alqaysumah.jpg
Al Qaysumah Comms Complex

OP SCALPEL Crttz mlvw 40k.jpg
Thu 28 Feb *** A temporary cease fire was announced today ***

Remainder of the day was concentrated on the completion of setting up the complex and laying of land lines.

March & April 1991

Fri 01 Mar 1 Cdn Fd Hosp Msg Centre and Ops Centre are fully operational. Due to the cease fire in effect, the remainder of the personnel in Al Jubail would not be deploying North and several packets returned to Camp Halla. The following Sigs personnel departed for Al Jubail:

WO McMaster Sgt Mahle MCpl Foeller
Cpl Aubertin Cpl Keenan Cpl Rees
Cpl Rose Sig Dawe Sig Gregory
Sig Whelan    

Upon their return to Camp Halla, the following Comms were established: IMRCT and the SB-22 was set up with 12 locals.

VHF Link Al Jubail/Camp Halla closed down, Det members now working with IMRCT / INMARSAT.

The remainder of the Sigs personnel stayed behind. The manning was as follows:

Sig O A/Tp WO Msg Cen Sgt
Capt Crane Sgt Bode Sgt Lebel
MCpl Cormier MCpl Holmes-Makcrow MCpl Coventry
MCpl Donahue Cpl Crowley Cpl Spiers
Sig Kwan Sig Martin  
Sig Watson    
Line Techs Drivers
Cpl Nicholson MCpl Symes Sig Roberts
Cpl Clark MCpl Duchemin Sig Finn
Cpl Davies Cpl Montgomery Sig Sherrington
Svc Coy Rad Det Stores SCRA(Brits)
MCpl Mondoux MCpl Crowe L/Cpl Darke
Sig Frenette   L/S Smith
    Tpr Graham

The CO, LCol Kotlarz and RSM Doyle visited the Sigs Tp bivouac lines located in the Svc Coy berm. Capt Crane gave them a tour of our lines and showed them some of the eqpt we had, such as the Matel and PRC 126 Radios, which were not used due to the redeployment plan in effect. Both the C0 and the RSM were very impressed with the Sigs setup and commented particularly on the fine communication support that was provided to the Hospital.

Sig O req Call sign and freq for CFARS. Ref: Ops 181 011100Z Mar 91.

Ops Friction ComSec mat repat planning (all ComSec Eqpt to go to Bahrain). Ref: DCOMSEC 7281 010715Z Mar 91.

Received appointment for C and E Branch advisor. Ref: SO2 CP and 0 543 231500Z Mar 91.

Sat 02 Mar Day break in Al Qaysumah did not appear until approx 1000 hrs, due to heavy concentration of smoke coming from the burning Kuwait oil fields.

At 1500 hrs, 1 Cdn Fd Hosp personnel took over 32 Field Hospital so the British could attend their smoker. Capt Crane held the reins as the Camp Duty Officer. The Sigs, under the direction of Sgt Bode, which included MCpl Symes, MCpl Duchemin and Cpl Montgomery operated their Swbd and PA System until 1000 hrs the following day.

With the Canadians having control of 32 Field Hospital, this was an excellent opportunity for the Sigs to tour the facilities. During this time, the Hospital received numerous casualties both friendly and EPWS (Enemy Prisoners of War).

OP SCALPEL Epw medical aid.jpg
Medical aid being given to an EPW

Within a few kilometres of 32 Field Hospital was 22 Field Hospital and a Prisoner of War Camp. The POW Camp was large enough to hold up to 12,000 Prisoners. During our short stay, it held upwards of 4,000. Every day, helicopters could be seen off loading Iraqi POW's in front of the Camp.

OP SCALPEL Brit pows1.jpg

OP SCALPEL Brit pows2.jpg

Sun 03 Mar 1300 - All 1 Cdn Fd Hosp pers in Al Qaysumah gathered around a Large Red Cross sign on the berm for a group photo. MCpl Crowe and other Sigs were tasked to make a large sign for the photo which read:      "1 CDN FD HOSP"      SAUDI ARABIA      FORWARD

1400 - Sig O, Capt Crane departed Al Qaysumah for Al Jubai to discuss redeployment plans with the DCO, Maj Moneypenny

Tp WO, WO McMaster and MCpl Lepine departed Camp Halla for Kuwait City to conduct recce of Canadian Embassy.

1900 - Sgt Bode held "O" group at the Msg Centre. The Major point to pass on, was the 2 alternatives concerning our deployment.

     1st alternative - begin redeployment phase to Canada.

     2nd alternative - deployment to Kuwait City.

     * At this time no firm decision was available.

Sgt Bode, Sgt Lebel and all MCpls prepared Post Operation Points.

The Commanding Officer, LCol Kotlarz informed all personnel that the CDS, MND, and the CF CWO would be visiting 1 Cdn Fd Hosp in Al Jubail on the 08 Mar 91.

04 Mar Orders were issued to all 1 Cdn Fd Hosp personnel at Al Qaysumah to redeploy to Camp Halla.

1200 - All non essential land lines were removed and the MCV was packed up. Only the IMRCT/INMARSAT and the CP complex were left operational until 0700 hrs the next day. Remainder of the day was spent tearing down modular tentage and packing vehs.

1700 - Last supper was at the British kitchen.

General- During our stay with 32 Field Hospital, near Al Qaysumah, the weather was relatively very good, with mostly sunshine and a few periods of rain. Average day temp was 20 degrees Celsius and at night it would drop down to about 10 degrees.

WO McMaster and MCpl Lepine returned to Camp Halla from recce in Kuwait City.

Tue 05 Mar 0700 - Closed down and packed up the IMRCT/INMARSAT and CP complex.

0900 - 1st packet departed. Sgt Bode is Packet Comd with all Sig Tp vehs.

1600 - Arrived in Camp Halla, Al Jubail.

1830 - MCV was attached to the comms complex. All locals were transferred into the SB-3614 Swbd.

Cpl Rees and Sig Forget began the set up of the CFARS (Cdn Forces Affiliated Radio System) under the direction of MCpl Holmes-Makcrow.

Wed 06 Mar The Comm Cen and CP shifts were organized to operate the Swbd, IMRCT and INMARSAT. The shifts were as follows:

Shift A Shift B Shift C
MCpl Coventry MCpl Foeller MCpl Mondoux
Cpl Rose Cpl St-Martin Cpl Crowley
Sig Frenette Sig Dawe Sig Gregory
Sig Whelan Sig Kwan Sig Richardson

Sig Martin and Sig Watson completed OJT under the supervision of MCpl Donahue and were then rotated into the shift schedule.

The Techs, MCpl Duchemin, MCpl Symes, Cpl Aubertin and Cpl Montgomery spent the day preparing and putting together the PA system.

The linemen, Cpl Nicholson, Cpl Clark, Cpl Davies and Sig Sherrington were responsible to lay line and mount speakers around the perimeter of the camp.

The PA system that was brought over was designed to cover an area of approx 2 kms square. Therefore only a portion of the system was set up in Camp Halla.

As the camp routine settled in, time was allotted for R & R runs into Camp Four (British Camp) and to the Port of Al Jubail.

OP SCALPEL Laundry detail.jpg
Someone has to do it!

In the evening the CFARS became operational. Capt Crane, Cpl Rees and Sig Forget were the operators. 90 Cdn Sigs ME Ops 189 050745Z Mar 91 and Ops 191 061020Z Mar 91 refers.

Thu 07 Mar Sigs Troop spent the day on veh maintenance, cleaning stores/vehs and repacking in preparation for deployment.
OP SCALPEL Sig tp lines camp halla.jpg
Sig Tp lines - Camp Halla

Sig Martin's artistic skills were utilized in designing a crest for a Sig Troop T-shirt.

Fri 08 Mar 0900 - The CDS, Gen De Chastelain, the MND, The Honourable Bill McKnight, the CF CWO, CWO Marr and the Canadian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia arrived in Camp Halla.

0930 - The CDS and MND addressed the troops in the Mens Dining Hall. The CDS stated that the Minister of External Affairs, The Honourable Joe Clark, was to meet with the Ambassador of Kuwait on Sunday to determine whether or not personnel from 1 Cdn Fd Hosp would deploy to Kuwait City. At that time the MND said that it was less than a 25% chance for deployment.

OP SCALPEL Cds address.jpg

The CDS, MND, and the CF CWO, spent approx the next 45 minutes meeting and talking to members of the Field Hospital.

1100 - The CDS and entourage departed Camp Halla for Bahrain.

1300 - 1 Cdn Fd Hosp personnel gathered for another group photo. It was followed by a HQ Coy photo and a Sig Troop photo taken by Sgt Bode.

1430 - The remainder of the day was designated as a sports day.

1700 - The sports day terminated with a steak BBQ.

1900 - The evening Consisted of a "Hootenanny" (Singsong) and a "NEAR BEER" party.

Sat 09 Mar To date, no firm answer was given as to our next phase, but all indications point towards a redeployment to Canada.

0900 - MCpl Marazzo, MCpl Lepine and Cpl Spiers departed Camp Halla to return to 90 HQ & Sigs Sqn in Bahrain.

Recreation runs were now authorized into the City of Al Jubail. Sig Troop members took advantage and went on a souvenir shopping spree.

Effective today, 1 Cdn Fd Hosp was placed on 9 hours notice to Move.

Sun 10 Mar Sunday routine in effect.
Mon 11 Mar 0900 - The DCO, Maj Moneypenny addressed all pers reference the "RUMOURS" that were around the Camp and reaching Petawawa concerning the redeployment of 1 Cdn Fd Hosp. There was still no confirmation on any commitment or redeployment of the hospital and that he would inform us as soon as the information was available. He also stated that the Director of Ceremony in Ottawa was presently working on the design for a Campaign Medal with Emblem that would be presented to all members of 1 Cdn Fd Hosp.

1000 - Sgts Bode, Lebel and Mahle departed Camp Halla for Bahrain to return DA CRYPTO to 90 HQ & Sigs Sqn

OP SCALPEL Bahrain pier 90sigsqn bode lambert.jpg
WO Lambert and Sgt Bode on the pier where 90 HQ and Sig Sqn was located.

OP SCALPEL Bahrain souk.jpg
Bahrain Souk (Bazaar)

Tue 12 Mar The British SCRA Detachment closed down and returned to their Unit.

1630 - Sgts Bode, Lebel and Mahle returned from Bahrain. Clearance Certificate received on closure of DA CRYPTO Account.

Wed 13 Mar Sig Tp organized a ball game to help pass the time.

1930 - Capt Crane gave warning order to Troop. 1 Cpl and 5 ILTIS were placed on 48 hrs standby for deployment to Kuwait on "OP Magnolia", (an EOD tasking). The remainder of the evening was spent organizing stores and ILTIS with radio installations. Cpl St Martin was selected as the Sigs rep to deploy.

Thu 14 Mar 0800 - Tp continues to prepare the ILTIS and stores for deployment. MCpl Crowe is i/c for loading stores and the techs conduct radio installation checks for the vehs.

1130 - WO McMaster passes on the following points to the Troop: Received verbal orders only: 1 Cdn Fd Hosp pers will repat to Canada on a Boeing 747 with the first flight departing Al Jubail on the evening of 18 Mar. Sig Tp pers will be on the first flight as part of HQ Coy, with the exception of the pers remaining behind as part of the Svc Coy Rear Party. The tear down of the commcen will begin tomorrow morning to include all telephone lines and the switchboard. The INMARSAT is to be placed in the Ops CP, and the IMRCT will close down at 1600 hrs. The PA System will be the last priority.

1330 - Several members of the Troop departed for downtown to spend the day and evening at the Holiday Inn. The afternoon was available for shopping/laying on the beach/swimming or bowling. The evening consisted of a meal with HQ Coy pers.

BZ received from J6 HQ CANFORME/CO 90 HQ & Sigs Sqn CO'S 040 140745Z Mar 91 refers.

Comms plan for redeployment of 1 Cdn Fd Hosp sent to J6 HQ CANFORME. Our Sigs 066 140900Z Mar 91 refers.

1 Cdn Fd Hosp Sig Tp sends thanks to 90 HQ & Sigs Sqn for assistance during operation. Our Sigs 067 141640Z Mar 91 refers.

Fri 15 Mar 0730 - Tear down of Camp Halla communication facilities begins. The INMARSAT terminal is moved into the Ops Cen bldg. All telephone locals are removed and the MCV with Swbd is packed up.

1000 - Sgt Mahle departed for Bahrain with the mail run to complete our clearance with 90 HQ & Sig Sqn.

1600 - The IMRCT Detachment closed down.

Only two INMARSAT terminals and the PA system remained as operational communications for Camp Halla.

MCpl Crowe completed both the issue of comms eqpt for Cpl St Martin's deployment to Kuwait City and the triwalls for redeployment to Canada.

1800 - WO McMaster passed on the following points to the Troop:

Redeployment flights are now confirmed, and the first flight is scheduled to land in Ottawa on 19 Mar at 1300 hrs.

1 Cdn Fd Hosp is expected to be welcomed home by numerous dignitaries and a mass media.

Cmdr Summers is scheduled to visit 1 Cdn Fd Hosp in Al Jubail on 17 Mar. Timings TBA.

Sat 16 Mar 0800 - Cpl St Martin departed Al Jubail with the Engineers for Kuwait City on " Op Magnolia ". The tasking is scheduled for a minimum period of 30 days.

Capt Crane, Sgt Lebel and MCpl Coventry departed Al Jubail for Bahrain to return IMRCT CRYPTO and to finalize POR points.

0815 - Sig Tp pers sign for their desert boots at the QM, then draw weapons for cleaning.

The remainder of the morning is used to complete any last shopping.

1230 - Remainder of PA system is packed up.

MCpl Duchemin spent the afternoon giving Troop members their last "PERSIAN" haircut.

The Post Office sells the "Commemorative Envelope" for Operation Scalpel.

Sun 17 Mar 1130 - Capt Crane and Sgt Lebel returned from Bahrain.

1330 - Commodore Summers, Commander CANFORME, arrived at Camp Halla. He addressed all members of 1 Cdn Fd Hosp and passed on his appreciation and thanks for a job well done. He told us to "prepare for a very large Homecoming that the likes have not been seen in about 40 years."

1400 - Commodore Summers departed Camp Halla to return to Bahrain.

1430 - Final out clearances are completed at the Pay Office

1800 - Sgt Mahle and MCpl Coventry returned to Camp Halla from Bahrain.

1830 - MCpl Cormier organized the troop to take Sigs vehicles downtown for a wash prior to turning them over to the rear party.

MCpl Mondoux picked up and handed out the OP SCALPEL Sig Tp T shirts.

Mon 18 Mar 0800 - Final out clearances are started.

Sig Tp pers pick up weapons at QM. MCpl Donahue was responsible to pack them in weapon bags for the redeployment home.

The Post Office and Orderly Room are the final places that are cleared.

The remainder of the morning is used for final kit packing.

1430 - Ruck sacks, kit bags, and barrack boxes are loaded onto transport vehicles.

1530 - Capt Crane addressed the Sigs Tp regarding the return to Canada and the overall Job performance by the Troop during OP SCALPEL.

1630 - The DCO, Maj Moneypenny, informed the first group of pers to return to Canada of the expected large homecoming welcome.

Sig Kwan wins $300 from the canteen draw

2200 - Bus shuttle begins to take pers to the airport in Al Jubail.

The following pers remain behind as part of the Rear Party:

Cpl Rees I/C CFARS
Sig Kwan  
Sig Martin  

Cpl St Martin remains in Kuwait City as part of Op Magnolia.

Mon 19 Mar 0245 - Boarded Nationair Flight 197 - Final destination - Ottawa.

0330 - Departed Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia.

0645 - Arrived in Athens Greece. Temperature 12 degrees C. All pers deplaned, and shopped in the terminal.

0945 - Departed Athens. Flight time to Ottawa is 9 hours 45 minutes.

1130 - (Eastern Standard Time) the crew of Nationair handed out travel handbags to all members on board, as a souvenir for flying home from the Gulf on their airline.

1305 - Nationair Flight 197 arrived at CFB Uplands, Ottawa. Weather was clear and sunny, temperature 6 degrees c.

The AMU had large crowds of well wishers and family members waving and cheering our arrival. On the tarmac were 9 CF-18s and a tanker refueller which landed just prior to our flight. The Royal Canadian Artillery Band was playing and a large reception line of handshakes awaited all members as they deplaned. Among the VIP Dignitaries were, The Prime Minister, The Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, his wife, Mila Mulroney, The Governor General, The Right Honourable Ray Hnatyshyn, The CDS, Gen De Chastelain, The MND, The Honourable Bill McKnight, The Associate Minister of Defence, Mary Collins, Commander FMC, LGen Foster and many others.

OP SCALPEL Arrival ottawa.jpg
OP SCALPEL Arrival ottawa2.jpg

After meeting with veterans, and a speech by the Governor General, members boarded buses for the final leg of the return journey to CFB Petawawa.

1730 - Arrived at the Centennial Club, CFB Petawawa, where another warm welcome was given by the Comd SSF, BGen Crabbe, MGen Stewart, Comd LFCA and MP for Renfrew County, Mr. Len Hopkins.

CO SSF HQ & Sigs Sqn, LCol Hanrahan, and the CCOP, MWO Vienot were also on hand to welcome home the Signalers.

1815 - Picked up kit at Bldg B21, turned in weapons to C5 and then returned home to family members.

The final out clearance of 1 Cdn Fd Hosp would take place on Tue 20 Mar at 1300 hrs.

All members of 1 Cdn Fd Hosp cleared the Unit on 20 Mar and were sent on disembarkation leave. On 03 Apr, Sig Troop pers reported back into the Sqn.

Sun 07 Apr Rear Party members returned to CFB Petawawa after receiving a VIP homecoming welcome at CFB Uplands.
Mon 17 Apr Cpl St Martin returned to CFB Petawawa with other members of the Rear Party.


The deployment of the Sigs Troop on "OP SCALPEL" proved to be both a challenge and a memorable experience for all those who were involved. Although the War lasted only several days after our arrival, the fact that Signalers were deployed into a Theatre of War, was an event that will long be remembered.

OP SCALPEL Sig tp photo.jpg
Sig Tp Photo (including British SCRA Detachment)

Kneeling: Sig Finn, MCpl Foeller, Cpl St Martin, MCpl Lepine, Sgt Bode, Sgt Lebel, Capt Crane, Sgt Mahjle, WO McMaster, MCpl Holmes-Makcrow, MCpl Mondoux, Sig Sherrington, MCpl Duchemin, Cpl Aubertin

1st Row: MCpl Symes, MCpl Cormier, MCpl Donahue, Sig Richardson, Sig Frenette, Sig Roberts, Sig Kwan, Sig Dawe, Sig Gregory, MCpl Marazzo, Cpl Keenan, Tpr Graham, MCpl Crowe, MCpl Coventry, Sig Martin, Cpl Rose, LCpl Smith, Sig Forget

2nd Row: Cpl Crowely, Cpl Clark, Cpl Rees, Cpl Davis, Cpl Nicholson, Cpl Montgomery, LCpl Darke, Sig Watson, Cpl Spiers, Sig Whelan