Sinai Spotlight: Cpl Larade, MFO Force Engineering Remote Site Construction Project Lead

Man speaking while a helicopter flies behind him in the desert.
October 2018 – Corporal Colton Larade explains how all supplies used by troops working at Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) Remote Site are brought to the island by MFO Blackhawk helicopters. (Photo Credit: Captain Nicola LaMarre, Operation CALUMET Public Affairs Officer)

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By Captain Nicola LaMarre, Operation CALUMET Public Affairs Officer

Approaching the remote site, you can’t help but be struck by the rock, sand and lack of anything green on the island. For the past seven months, Corporal Colton Larade has worked tirelessly to improve the living and working conditions for personnel of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) who live at the remote observation post.

Deployed on Operation CALUMET since the end of March 2018, Corporal Larade was recently awarded the MFO Chief of Staff’s Certificate of Appreciation for excellence in his work. A Canadian Armed Forces Construction Technician, Corporal Larade’s maturity and abilities were recognized quickly by leadership and he was put in charge of all construction projects on one of the remote sites. Hitting the ground running, he went to work assessing what needed to be done and what priority the work should be given.

“The work of Corporal Larade was colossal and he accomplished this brilliantly,” said Colonel Stephan Masson, Commander, Task Force El Gorah (Operation CALUMET). “The project empowered the MFO to fulfill its mandate at this highly strategic location. The contribution of the Canadian Armed Forces, with specialized capabilities such as the construction technician, has a direct impact on the success of the MFO mission.”

Leading a crew of Egyptian labourers, Colton was responsible for assessing what supplies were required, coordinating airlift of the supplies and equipment to the island and supervising the crew during construction. Using only basic tools for the projects, Corporal Larade’s team set to work making life a little better for the troops.

Dusty and hot, working 12-hour days, Colton set to work making a defensive bunker stable and usable with only his team and a Toro Dingo, which is a small piece of equipment used to transport materials and concrete. To create a stable and usable platform, the team had to backfill the area and create a retaining wall to bring the floor level high enough to be able to use the gun ports.

The make-shift outdoor gym on the remote site had uneven ground and loose concrete and rock. This made keeping physically fit challenging. With no other option for working out, the project became a priority for Colton who understands the importance of staying fit while deployed.

“I decided that the people working at this remote site deserved a better gym and having it would increase morale and esprit de corps,” explained Corporal Larade. “I got the approval to build it. I had to work extra hours and manage my time properly to get it done.”

The concrete pad for the gym was far the most challenging job Colton did at the remote site. The crew of five needed to carry roughly 100 pounds of gravel, 120 pounds of sand, and 100 pounds of cement uphill on loose rocks and uneven ground, in 40-degree heat. They poured half of the pad, let it dry, and then transferred all of the materials and the concrete mixer up to the pad to pour the other half. This project was completed in four days.

Another challenging job was the sewage damage repair. 40-degree heat – imagine the smell! During one of the re-supply missions, the rotor wash from the Blackhawk blew a pallet down the hill and damaged the sewage tank. The tank had to drain below the damaged area and then a concrete block was poured around the damaged area to seal it. This was especially difficult considering the shape of the tank and the materials on hand.

Other projects completed by Corporal Larade and his crew were a fuel station extension, which included a block wall surrounding it to protect the soil against fuel spills, the burial of conduit for water and electrical wiring to keep the essential services protected from foot traffic and site works, a safe and stable environment for the electrical generator farm, and a concrete ramp to link the helicopter fuel drop off pad to the fuel station so that personnel could roll the fuel barrels uphill safely.

This work, and more, was planned by Corporal Larade and constructed along with his hard-working crew during his deployment on Operation CALUMET.

Operation CALUMET is Canada’s contribution to the MFO. The Canadian Armed Forces have contributed to the MFO continuously since 1985. The augmentation of Canada’s contribution to the MFO in 2015 demonstrates its continued working commitment with its allies in support of peace and security efforts in the Middle East.

Image gallery

  • Gym equipment is moved onto a concrete floor.
  • A concrete floor is constructed outside.
  • Man speaking while a helicopter flies behind him in the desert.
  •  Image of a Multinational Force and Observers patch and a Force Engineers patch on a person’s arm.
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