Reprising their Second World War role, SA mobile canteens followed Canadian troops on NATO manoeuvres and served refreshments in the field. The Salvation Army also helped incoming military families adjust to their new lives overseas. Many experienced culture shock and marital problems; the SA assisted with drop-in centres and counselling services.
When the government reduced by half the number of Canadian troops serving with NATO forces in 1970, and relocated those remaining to Lahr and Baden-Soellingen 500 kilometres further south, the SA’s four Red Shield centres closed down.
Despite this, SA canteens continued to accompany the troops on manoeuvres. The SA had become so integral a part of the Canadian deployment to Europe that, in 1971, a new Red Shield Centre opened in Lahr to great acclaim by the troops.
During the 1990-91 deployment of Canadian forces to the Persian Gulf, the Salvation Army sent ‘sunshine bags’ of small gifts and comforts to each of the several thousand Canadians serving in the war zone. In 1992, Ottawa announced that Canadian troops in Europe would be coming home. The Salvation Army stayed with them until the end, only shutting down its overseas operations in 1994 at which time there were almost no troops left to serve.