Defence Team News Interview with LCol Mike Godard, Commander, Task Force Poland

Video / August 03, 2022


GG: CAF members were recently deployed to Poland on a humanitarian mission as part of Task Force Poland, in order to support and provide care for incoming Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian invasion. Today, we're joined by Lieutenant Colonel Mike Godard, Commander, Task Force Poland to learn more about the CAF's role in the deployment. Thanks for joining us, Sir.

MG: Good day.

GG: Can you tell us about your role in the CAF's humanitarian mission to Poland, and how many CAF members are deployed?

MG: Yah, so, we're here primarily to support the Polish Territorial Defence Force in the refugee centres. We're also participating in some allied Task Force Headquarters. Currently, we're about 120 personnel, seven of whom are Ukrainian speaking CAF members.

GG: And what are some of the challenges faced by the Task Force, and our allies while supporting refugees during an evolving crisis?

MG: One of the main challenges is the language barrier. We're pretty well able to overcome that with the CAF members who speak Ukrainian. As well, we have some other CAF members with Polish and Russian-speaking capabilities.

GG: And what sorts of tasks did you handle during the mission?

MG: So we had a team of diverse personnel here. We had some general duty personnel, as you see behind me, providing low-level as well as general duty, general labour, around the centres. We also had Padres providing spiritual support to the refugees. Health Services team was providing some primary care. And of course, linguists, the Ukrainian-speaking members providing some translation services for our members as well as the OGDs: Other Government Departments.

GG: And what would you say was the most rewarding aspect of your deployment?

MG: Well, the most rewarding aspect of the deployment was seeing the CAF members step up, showing care and compassion and concern for the Ukrainian refugees and really making a difference in their lives while they were staying at the reception centres.

GG: Is there anything you'd like to add?

MG: Yah, overall, I was really impressed with the CAF members' ability to adapt to a changing situation. You know, we came here on very short notice for a mission that wasn't entirely defined. We had to adapt along the way, and our CAF members showed a high degree of flexibility.

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