After six months in Afghanistan, soldiers like to drink—a lot

“Decompression” in Cyprus means booze, bar fights and the occasional fall from a balcony


When Canadian soldiers finish a tour of duty in Afghanistan, they make a brief stop on the way home: the island paradise of Cyprus for a week-long “decompression.” Translation: a seven-day booze fest that often turns violent. According to new documents released under the Access to Information Act, military members have spent a total of 150 days in Cyprus since the fall of 2006, and during that time Canadian soldiers have been involved in more than 100 incidents that required the intervention of military police. About 30 of these incidents were of a violent nature, and at least 50 were caused by “intoxicated” troops. At least four times, Canadian soldiers were attacked or threatened by local groups sometimes armed with guns. In one July 2007 case, a soldier found himself with a 9-mm pistol pointed at his face after he had tried to locate reinforcements in a bar to help one of his comrades who was fighting with street bouncers. A more recent incident (March 27, 2009) is described this way: “In the middle of the afternoon, a soldier suffered a one-story fall from the balcony of his hotel room to the ground floor. He was injured. The report stated that he was so ‘intoxicated’ that he either fell by accident or on purpose. He also lost his wallet.”


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After six months in Afghanistan, soldiers like to drink—a lot

  1. Indeedy. My son went through this. All I can say is: better in Cyprus than in Petawawa and other places!

    • Indeed Cyprus is heaven on Earth.. Beautiful warm seas, amazing sun.. and snowy mountains on winter.. No wonder why everyone is trying to conquer that island.

  2. Lots of it seems to be soldier on soldier altercations. Which seems to indicate that our soldiers need more psychological help than they are receiving. War has to do terrible things to the mental state of these guys and gals. Just more examples of how poorly we treat our armed forces.

    As for the brawling in bars and such, they shouldn't be allowed to go drinking in civilian bars. These guys are wound tight; the last thing we want is for them to take out their frustrations on civilians (Cyprus or otherwise). Provide drinking establishments on base, with plenty of MPs.

    Clearly the 'decompression' isn't controlled enough. Makes you wonder how things go for them when they get back to Canada.

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