February 09, 2010

Observations on Williams case

A couple mundane observations about this one, which I'm really only posting about to acknowledge it:

*The fact that there are "fewer than 100" air force colonels, in an air force of maybe 18,000, could at first give pause: in Kandahar in 2008-09, there were maybe 3 full colonels in a contingent of 3,000. It could make one wonder what some of the rest of them are doing. That said, as one of the 14 wing commanders (13 in Canada, 1 in Kandahar; what the Brits would call a "group captain"), each comprising a few squadrons, Col. Williams was in a job appropriate for the rank. Since the earliest days of the First World War, a commander of multiple squadrons has been considered equivalent to an ground force commander of multiple battalions (full colonel), or the commander of a naval capital ship (captain): all "four-ringers," as Canadian military types say. And air forces, because the piloting role is traditionally an officer's function, has historically tended to have a higher proportion of officers to the other services.

*The Col.'s two medals, to save anyone looking them up, are the South-west Asia Service Medal, given for service in the Afghan fight outside of Afghanistan proper (which his command of the air force's Camp Mirage waystation would have granted him), and the Canadian Forces Decoration, for 12 years service (the Globe biography says he was on his 23rd). I still do appreciate the Canadian military practice of keeping the medals to a minimum. An American counterpart would likely be on his third row by this point in his career.

*Tweed's a lovely little village, the definition of picturesque. It's a shame this all had to happen there.

Umm, that's it on these means, other than to hope for the families' sake, that justice is swift.

Posted by BruceR at 07:18 AM