CAF Story | Tank Commander Shifts Gears to Family Man
Video / October 28, 2016
I just finished my tank commander qualification, and we went out to our live range. I got to stand up in the turret, and look left and look right, and say “line abreast”, and then “go”.
And all four of our tanks launched down this hill; there were rooster tails of mud; we were engaging targets of opportunity that were coming up. It was just maximum aggression, full out awesomeness, and it was the first time I ever got to stand up and do that.
I was a tank commander from 2007 right up until about 2013. Whether serving overseas; rolling a troop of tanks through a small Afghani town to help prevent a little girl from getting acid thrown in her face when she’s on her way to school; serving on exercises, on deployments; helping people tell their story. These are all things that I’ve experienced, and I think that I would have never come close to being who I am today if I hadn’t of joined up.
My name is Captain Graham Kallos. Should I stop smiling? My role while I was overseas was primarily in the command post of one of the forward operating bases. Later on in the tour I was given the opportunity to head out with the tanks and to command some tanks while I was out on operations. It’s pretty incredible. I mean at the time we were using the Leopard 2A6M. It was an incredible rush to be able to get out there in such a beautiful machine. But really the equipment doesn’t really mean anything if you don’t have extraordinary soldiers that you’re working with. The team that I was working with was incredible; had a mix of regular force and reservists and luckily everybody came home unscathed. It’s not like the movies. I’m a pretty big guy, I’m about six foot two, 230 pounds on a good day and it’s pretty tight quarters in there. I think I get the better seat because I can poke my head out, but the gunner literally sits between my legs, and he was a big fellow out of Saskatchewan. So the feeling while you’re rolling is…it’s a bit odd, it’s almost like being on water a little bit with the suspensions. It’s pretty exhilarating. It can be really hot. It’s a very tight knit crew especially at the troop level. And when you’ve got a troop of very large battle tanks rolling up, the shock and awe and the aggression that we can put down on the battlefield is incredible.
After my phase training in Edmonton I wound up meeting the woman of my life; the one who would become my wife. But the neat thing is that now that I’ve got a family, and now that I’m a bit older and have had more experiences in the military, what was really neat was that I was able to shift gears and start a second career within the overall organization, which is incredible. I mean, I put my hand up to become a public affairs officer and they put me through school again. They trained me. If I hadn’t of joined the military, I would have never been put into the position where I would have met my wife. And it’s such a high point of my career for me to have met her and to have her join me on this journey.
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