09 March 2007

A soldier, once and always

Corporal Kevin Megeney's remains are on the way home from Afghanistan.

The investigation is continuing into his death and into another death in August that resulted from a gunshot wound. In the August case, the military investigation has reportedly ruled out foul play, suicide or enemy action. Odds are good this latest one will head to the same conclusion.

But here's a pet peeve from the media coverage, where Corporal Megeney is referred to repeatedly as a "reservist". maybe more than once your humble e-scribbler has let that word slip from his own lips or typed them onto a page somewhere.

No more.

There's something about that word that just doesn't sit right.

The fact that Corporal Megeney volunteered on a part-time basis to serve in the army doesn't make him any different from the person who opted to volunteer for full-time service.

There's a tendency - and it may still come from the military as well - to consider the reserve component of the Canadian Forces as a haven for lesser beings compared to their Regular Force counterparts.

Their liability was supposedly different. They could opt not to show up. Blah. Blah. Blah. You hear them all. Maybe things have changed in the past six years but for a long time there was an attitude toward Reserve Force soldiers. They were reserve, as in hold-back, or even slack.

It's time to adjust that attitude.

Kevin Megeney did his job.

He worked hard at it.

He showed skill and ability.

When the chance came, he volunteered to go to Afghanistan where others didn't.

Now he's dead.

Grieve him.

But Corporal Megeney was never a reservist.

He was a soldier.

Whenever we speak of someone like Kevin Megeney, let's just call them by the simple name they deserve.