In 2008, Ryan Flavelle, a reservist in the Canadian Army and a student at the University of Calgary, volunteered to serve in Afghanistan. For seven months, twenty-four-year-old Flavelle, a signaller attached to the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, endured the extreme heat, the long hours and the occasional absurdity of life as a Canadian soldier in this new war so far from home. Flavelle spent much of his time at a Canadian Forward Operating Base (FOB), living among his fellow soldiers and occasionally going outside the wire. For one seven-day period, Flavelle went into Taliban country, always walking in the footsteps of the man ahead of him, meeting Afghans and watching behind every mud wall for a sign of an enemy combatant. The Patrol is a gritty, boots-on-the-ground memoir of a soldier's experience in the Canadian Forces in the 21st century. It is about why we fight, why men and women choose such a dangerous and demanding job, and what their lives are like when they find themselves back in our ordinary world.
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