roles—from prosecutor to legally mentoring senior officers—but Afghanistan was a great posting and it felt very rewarding to be involved. Q: What was it like on the ground in Afghanistan?
Kabul traffic is intense with cars, motorcycles and people sharing the streets with no apparent order. Each day I walked to the Ministry of Defence, passing the children trying to sell small items to those of us leaving the camp. I knew I couldn’t help everyone, but I decided to help one child. I picked a quiet polite boy named Shams and bought 250 scarves from him. I also bought him a laptop and gave him school supplies and encouraged him to go to school. Shams and I are still Facebook friends and I still support his education.
Q: You’re now deployed with NORAD in Colorado.
What’s your role?
Sherry following the Rule of Law Conference attended by legal officers, politicians and judges from around Afghanistan.
Q: When did you start practicing military law?
After eight months of French language training, I was posted to Ottawa in an administrative law role. By now, I was a commissioned officer and member of the Office of the Judge Advocate General. But I still had a lot to learn. Military law—operational law—is not something you see anywhere else, so it was unique from the start. The National Defence Act encompasses most of Canada’s military law but you also deal with international law and the laws of armed conflict.
Q: It sounds complicated.
It is but that’s a big part of the appeal for me. There’s always something to learn in military law—and new courses for me to take—so I feel I’ve been continuing my education ever since I started. Some might find the
continuous training overwhelming but it really keeps me motivated. Q: Where was your
first overseas posting? I deployed to Bosnia in 2005 as legal advisor to the Canadian Task Force Commander and the NATO Commander. I later spent a year in Afghanistan with the Combined Security Transition Command, working for a US colonel and assisting with a project that was bringing modern legal ideas to the Afghan army. I’ve served many
I’m engaged on Operation Noble Eagle, which basically means I’m advising American and Canadian commanders on their responsibilities under international law. I also help train generals on the law relating to NORAD’s mission to defend North America against air and maritime threats. Working with a group of other lawyers—teamwork is key in this posting—much of our time is spent on training exercises where I sit next to generals in combat scenarios. If it looks like they’re missing something, I step in and advise.
Sherry participating in one of many Volunteer Community Relations missions to assist Afghan civilians. This photo was taken on a visit to a women’s prison where she handed out clothing and hygiene items and toys for all the children.