Calgary soldier returns from Afghan mission
dave buston for metro calgary
It was an emotional homecoming for a local soldier who returned from Afghanistan yesterday to the fanfare of family, friends and colleagues.
Capt. Kyle Clapperton of the Calgary Highlanders landed back at Calgary International Airport after a six-month tour of duty in Kabul, where he helped train Afghan National Army soldiers.
Along with lots of hugs from family and friends, Clapperton was honoured by the Calgary Police Service Ceremonial Unit, as he has been with the CPS Fitness Unit for seven years.
“It’s been a long while, but it was a good tour, but I’m glad to be home,” said Clapperton, a 13-year Canadian Forces vet, of his first mission to Afghanistan.
He described the mission as “challenging,” but said he has a strong sense of pride of the work being done by Canadians in Afghanistan.
“We’re doing an excellent job. Canadians are making a positive contribution to the country,” he said.
“It’s not something where we’re going to see massive changes to the country overnight. I think it’s going to take a long time — many, many years — that’s why we’re there and we’re committed to it and it would be a shame that we back out now.”
Clapperton’s mom, Cheryl, has been quietly expecting her son’s return for weeks.
“I’m very excited. There was anticipation for so long and I don’t know, I’m just so thankful. I thank the Lord he’s coming home,” she said, just prior to seeing her son.
Cheryl was proud of her son for committing to the mission, saying the reconstruction of the country was something Kyle believed in.
Now that he’s back on home soil, Capt. Clapperton wants to spend some time with family and friends — most importantly his wife Devan.
When asked what he wanted to do first, a sly smile and sideways glance went to his smiling partner.
“I’m not sure if I can really say.”