RCMP Sgt. Bob Fogarty's already high regards for the Canadian Forces were only strengthened during a 10-month mission in Afghanistan.
In fact, it was that sentiment that compelled Fogarty to embark on the advisory mission, which saw a focus of working with senior members of the Afghan National Police (ANP).
© Submitted photo
Commanding Officer of P.E.I. RCMP, Chief Superintendent Craig Gibson welcomes Sgt. Bob Fogarty home from his 10-month peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan, when Fogarty arrived at the Charlottetown Airport.
"The Canadian military has made a huge impact so I was quite interested and excited to go over and hear from the local Afghans and ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) partners on just how big of a contributor we were," said a humble Fogarty just a day after returning to his home province of Prince Edward Island.
"We were just a bunch of policeman over there working in a safe environment. It's nothing compared to what our military did over there. It was actually one of the things that drew to me to Afghanistan, respect for the Canadian Forces. We had a huge impact on the south in Kandahar."
Fogarty received a warm welcome when he returned home early Saturday morning.
Friends, family and other RCMP employees gathered at the Charlottetown Airport for the midnight arrival to surprise an unsuspecting Fogarty.
"It felt great," said Fogarty. "I was surprised. I had no idea there was going to be any amount of reception."
Chief Superintendent Craig Gibson, who is commanding officer of the L Division on P.E.I., joined the crowd to welcome Fogarty on his safe return.
"It's great to have Sgt. Fogarty back on Island soil, safe and sound and into the welcoming arms of his family, friends and co-workers," said Gibson. " We are all genuinely proud of him and the great work he has done."
Fogarty served in the Herat region of Afghanistan near the Pakistan border while living and working out of an Italian military base.
He was awarded a medal from the Canadian ambassador and when European countries pulled out of Afghanistan, Fogarty took on a leadership role in the area.
Returning home to his wife and three children, aged 14, 12, and 10, is a welcome change for Fogarty, who kept in touch with family through emails and Skype while on the mission.
Albert Fogarty, Bob's father, said while the family was confident in his son's abilities there is also some relief now that he has returned from the mission.
"When he told us he was going to volunteer we certainly were concerned for his safety. But we were also confident in his ability to do the job and do it well," Fogarty said from Florida. "We are proud that he wanted to serve his country and also help an international country as well."
Fogarty is originally from the Souris area of P.E.I. and joined the RCMP in 1991.
Fogarty was working out of the Kings District office when he accepted the mission to Afghanistan.
With the end of the mission in Afghanistan, RCMP commissioner Bob Paulson issued a statement saying the Canadian police have had a hand in supporting many aspects of the Afghan National Police's (ANP) development over the past 11 years.
He also thanked individuals like Fogarty and their families.
"From mentoring individuals on fundamental policing skills to helping them develop crucial administrative skills, infrastructure and much more. Our senior police officers have also held key strategic positions that have helped shape and drive ANP progress," said Paulson.
Fogarty also gave credit to the ANP.
"They're excellent people. I was very impressed with their capabilities and how they're working towards making their country a better and safer place," he said, while also noting the 158 Canadian soldiers who lost their lives during the Afghanistan mission. "And many more were wounded, so Canada had a very huge contribution in that light and they're well respected and well thought of over there."