Role Reversal: Mom Soldiers In Afghanistan, Dad Cares For Kids

robyn.jpgRobyn Bresnahan reports on a mother of four, who made history in 2003 by becoming the first female deputy commanding officer of a combat arms unit in the Canadian military.

Lt Col Jennie Carignan is based in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan - one of the most dangerous parts of the country - and commands a regiment of engineers and landmine experts.

Col Carignan says the men under her command treat her like any other soldier - but it wasn't always that way.

"I had some tension at the start of my career as a young lieutenant," she told the BBC's World Update programme.

"But a lot of young lieutenants get that sort of resistance when they come in. Basically, you have to earn your stripes."

Having 23 years in the military under her belt, with missions in the Golan Heights and in Bosnia-Hercegovina, helps her command respect.

"I have grown up with everybody. It's not like I just parachuted in, the brand new girl in town."

As for the commanders of the Afghan National Army, she says she has been surprised at how well she has been received.

"The uniform helps a lot," she says.

"They treat me like they treat any of my male colleagues. In one instance, the Afghan district leader pointed towards me and said they should be doing the same thing."

Whether on the battlefront or home front, life can be equally challenging.

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Thanks to
Mark Barker
AWR member & fan