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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Unhappy 6 More On The Butcher's Bill

    Doomed Canadian soldiers were one task away from welcome respite

    Jonathan Fowlie and Meagan Fitzpatrick, CanWest News Service

    Published: Tuesday, April 10, 2007

    Canadians in Afghanistan — stories, photos, video

    Risks are part of the job, say Victoria reservists


    KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Caked with several layers of dust and fatigued from almost five weeks in the field, the soldiers of Hotel Company took to their vehicles on the afternoon of Easter Sunday knowing a warm shower and a fresh meal were only one task away.

    Six Canadian soldiers were killed in roadside bombing in Afghanistan.
    Department of National Defence

    The troops of Hotel Company, 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, had been patrolling the Maywand District of northwest Kandahar province since March 6 and Sunday’s task — to escort a convoy of troops and supplies through the desert into Helmand province, as they had done the two previous days before — was to be their last before returning to base for some much-needed rest.

    Not only that, but there had been no attacks on police checkpoints during the weeks they were patrolling the Maywand area and their company commander had formed strong and fruitful relationships with local leaders and elders.

    Morale would have had to be sky-high.

    Then at about 1:30 p.m. a LAV III carrying 10 Canadian soldiers hit an improvised explosive device (IED) that ripped through the back of the armoured carrier, killing six soldiers.

    Military leaders said Monday that the bomb was laid at a choke point among a collection of deep irrigation wells — at the only place vehicles would have to drive in order to avoid a major diversion.

    Lt.-Col. Rob Walker, commanding officer of the 2 RCR battle group, added the charge was much more powerful than most average IEDs.

    “Suffice it to say it was a large charge,” he said in a conversation with reporters Monday.

    “It was a big bomb.”

    Walker said he first thought the bomb may have set off a second explosion inside the vehicle involving the standard load of ammunition normally kept inside any LAV.

    He said people who have made the initial assessment at the scene could not tell if this was the case, however, and explained the vehicle is being towed back to Kandahar Airfield for further investigation.

    “They are going to bring the vehicle back here just to determine if there was a secondary explosion or not, or were the deaths caused because of the large explosive charge used in the IED,” he said.

    Six men, who were all sitting in the back passenger compartment of the vehicle, all died instantly. They ranged in age from 20 to 37. Two of them had young families. A third was married.

    Monday night, military officials announced that Cpl. Brent Poland, 37, was the sixth man to have died in the explosion. Poland, who was not initially identified Sunday, was part of 2 RCR and came from Sarnia, Ont.

    The other five who died were Sgt. Donald Lucas, Cpl. Aaron E. Williams, Pte. Kevin Vincent Kennedy and Pte. David Robert Greenslade, all of the 2 RCR based in Gagetown, N.B., and Cpl. Christopher Paul Stannix, a reservist from the Princess Louise Fusiliers, from Dartmouth, N.S.

    A ramp ceremony is currently being arranged for all six men, along with arrangements to return their bodies to Canada.

    A seventh man — Cpl. Shaun Fevens, 24, who had training in advanced first aid — was also in the back compartment of the vehicle, though he was thrown clear in the blast. Fevens suffered major injuries to his legs and arm and had to undergo hours of surgery on Sunday. Walker said Monday he had spoken to Fevens in hospital and that he is “going to fare pretty well.”

    The three final men in the vehicle — the gunner, driver and crew commander — all had jobs that put them closer to the front of the LAV and they escaped the blast virtually unscathed. They were all taken to hospital at the Kandahar Airfield after the blast and were released.

    Walker said the LAV was part of a three-vehicle convoy and that it hit the device not long after leaving camp.

    “Our hearts ache for them and their families and our thoughts and prayers are with them,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a written statement from France. “These events coming on the 90th commemoration of the battle of Vimy Ridge once more remind us of the sacrifices that our men and women in uniform have made and continue to make to defend our country and their fellow human beings.

    ”I also extend my wishes for speedy recovery to those injured in the attack, and pray for the safety of their comrades as they press on to complete their mission.”

    “My husband Jean-Daniel Lafond and I were filled with great sadness when we received news of the terrible tragedy that claimed the lives of six Canadian soldiers,” Gov.-Gen. Michaelle Jean said in a written statement.

    “Exactly one month ago in Kandahar, I witnessed their immeasurable devotion, their sense of duty, their courage, and their steadfast determination to never back down from completing the dangerous mission with which they were tasked.

    ”To the families and loved ones of the victims of this unexpected tragedy, know that this entire nation mourns your loss, and that our thoughts are always with you during this difficult time.“

    He said the crew had been trying to get through the arid, rocky desert to a rendezvous point where they were to meet the large convoy they were charged with escorting into Helmand.

    To get there, he said, they had to find their way across a series of hand-dug interconnecting wells that can be dangerous for large heavy vehicles.

    The crew found a four-metre wide area of land where they could get across the system, he explained, adding it appeared to be one of the only places a vehicle of LAV size could cross the precarious field.

    Seeing that opportunity, the crew turned onto the bridge and began its journey forward, detonating the explosive.

    Within a few more moments, those who had not been killed were jumping into action.

    In the front of the LAV, crew members who could make it out ran around to check on those in the back.

    They found only one man alive.

    Fevens had serious trauma to his legs and arm, Walker said, adding the injured man quickly but calmly began guiding one of the LAV’s gunners on how to stop the bleeding.

    ”I’m so proud of him,“ said Walker, explaining the instructions Fevens gave to the gunner likely saved his life.

    ”He had to stop the bleeding and stabilize certain body parts,“ he added, explaining he walked the gunner through the process until the team’s medic could get to the scene.

    Members of Hotel Company did not want to speak with the media on Monday, though their regiment’s sergeant major said the group is clearly a ”band of brothers“ who will seek solace and comfort through each other.

    ”There are guys who have spent decades in this battle group,“ said Chief Warrant Officer Mark Baisley, adding the company has been training together for a year.

    ”The one thing I find that works is they talk,“ he added, explaining they will likely all be able to move on and get back to the job at hand.

    ”We understand the risks we are going into but they bounce back well,“ he said.

    ”Initially it was shock, disbelief. It’s one thing we don’t hope for, but they are bouncing back,“ he added. ”They’re tough.“

    While the soldiers in Afghanistan try to move past the incident, families of the victims are struggling as well.

    The shock was settling in at CFB Gagetown, N.B., where five of the soldiers were based and the community is pulling together to support each other, said one of its members.

    “It’s difficult now because it impacts not only this base but the entire community,” Lt. Brian Owens told the CBC. “Our resolve is there to carry on. Our No. 1 mission is to support the families and that’s why members are getting up this morning, coming into work, leaving their families at home and getting together and making the next stage of this ordeal easier for the families and to carry on to make sure this is done right.”

    CFB Gagetown has a close relationship with the nearby town, Oromocto, and on Monday the town’s mayor said everyone there is reeling from the news.

    “Although the sun is shining today, it’s sure a dark day in Oromocto,” said Fay Tidd in an interview with CanWest News Service.

    In the town of about 9,000 people, nearly every family includes someone who is retired military or currently serving at the nearby base. The close-knit community is mourning alongside the families of the soldiers killed, said Tidd, even while anxiety is heightened for the safety of others still in the field.

    Tidd said many people are seeking comfort by gathering at Gagetown’s Military Family Resource Centre today, which she calls “the glue that holds military families together.”

    The loss of the six soldiers is all the more poignant because it came while families were gathered for Easter celebrations and many Canadians were looking back 90 years to Vimy, she said.

    “Everyone was glued to televisions remembering sacrifices their great-grandfathers and grandfathers had made, and then all of a sudden the news had come on that six Canadian soldiers were again victims of what is a different type of war but nonetheless is a military manoeuvre and duty,” Tidd said.

    Another close-knit community, in a different Atlantic province, is also pulling together in the wake of the tragic news.

    Kennedy, 20, was from the small town of St. Lawrence, N.L.

    Dona Molloy, whose son Bill is also in the military and currently serving Afghanistan, remembers Kennedy as a young boy and said he was always an upbeat child.

    “Every family of a soldier over there is affected. It doesn’t matter if their son or daughter was involved, it still affects them, because you always know in the back of your mind — although you don’t sit down and think about it, you try not to — it’s always in the back of your mind that the possibility is there,” said Molloy.

    Another Newfoundland community lost one of its own in Sunday’s deadly blast. Lucas, 31, was raised in St. John’s. The father of two was remembered Monday as an “excellent leader” and loving family man. He was stationed at CFB Gagetown and lived in the nearby town of Burton.

    ”He was an excellent leader and very proud of the soldiers under his command. He believed in the mission and that he had a role to play to help those in need in Afghanistan,“ his family said in a statement. Lucas’s two children are named Matthew and MacKenzie.

    ”In his spare time, Don enjoyed everything to do with the outdoors, from hunting to boating, to sitting around the campfire with Matthew, and looked forward to his days boating on the river,“ the family said.

    In Nova Scotia, Stannix’s family was trying to cope with the news. The 24-year-old was a reservist from the Princess Louise Fusiliers, based in Halifax. In addition to his grieving family, the 24-year-old leaves behind a fiancee in Dartmouth, NS. Stannix enlisted in the Canadian Forces in 2000 and his deployment to Afghanistan in February was his first overseas mission.

    His family also released a statement that said how much he loved his family, Canada, and the Canadian Forces.

    “He believed in the mission in Afghanistan and believed he and his fellow soldiers were making a difference,” his family said. “Chris will be missed for so many reasons.”
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

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  2. #2
    Forum Member RspctFrmCalgary's Avatar
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    I just heard on Coach's Corner 1/2 hour ago that there were two more deaths today, and three injured.

    I think Don was crying by the time he finished reading the names and showing the pictures of the six. Sure sounded like he was all choked up.
    Last edited by RspctFrmCalgary; 04-11-2007 at 09:15 PM. Reason: Typo
    September 11th - Never Forget

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    I saw the same coaches corner Respect! Your Right I think he was crying by the end too. Don Cherry Is a class act. I wish most Canadians were half as patriotic as him.


    Cheers Firedog21
    I.A.F.F. Proud

  4. #4
    Forum Member RspctFrmCalgary's Avatar
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    I agree about Don Cherry being a class act! I've always respected him. I don't think a lot of people realize what a big heart he has and how much he does for young Canadians. He never fails to honour and remember those tragically lost, but especially members of our armed forces.
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Sheri
    IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
    Honorary Flatlander

    RAY WAS HERE FIRST

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    Forum Member ndvfdff33's Avatar
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    Thats 8 in less than a week.I Don't know how many more it's going too take before they realize they should pull them troops out. Although I think we should be there quite frankly we're fighting a loosing battle right now.

    Seems too me they know who they're going for now if they're targeting the Battlegroup Commander.

    Don Cherry is definately a class act. He supports so many groups in Canada, especially the troops. He should be on the Govt. payroll.
    Last edited by ndvfdff33; 04-11-2007 at 09:34 PM.
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

    Ryan

  6. #6
    Forum Member VinnieB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ndvfdff33 View Post
    Thats 8 in less than a week.I Don't know how many more it's going too take before they realize they should pull them troops out. Although I think we should be there quite frankly we're fighting a loosing battle right now.

    Soooo...Canada should not be in Afganistan? Did I undestand you correctly? Please explain the "loosing the battle now" comment in Afganistan. Because I am confussed by your thought process. But let me try to understand what you said.....pull out of Afganistan because "we're fighting a loosing battle now".....sooo....later...when....w e are winning....Return? How are you supposed to win if you leave? Imagine that though process the day the Canadians landed at Dieppe....so sorry England and world, the 2d Canadian Infantry Division was decimated....we're leaving this war. How about the 28 Canadians who died on Cyprus in 29 years? Aren't you the onew who said he hoped to never have to "fight along those tools" meaning US Marines? To tell you the truth, you sure don't show that same Canadian courage, dedication, and honor I have witnessed, your teddy bear, thrown in the towel ways are very unbecomming ANY Canadian Troop I have served alongside. I feel sorry for whatever unit you are in, I sure hope its not and Infantry one as a Grunt.
    Last edited by VinnieB; 04-11-2007 at 10:37 PM.
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    Right on VinnieB great post !
    Most Canadians do not share ndvfdff33 point of view. Our Troops are doing a great deed in Afganistan. Just like they proudly did in WW1,WW2, Korea and in countless peace keeping missions. We have suffered causlities in the past, we will surely suffer more in the future. It's no reason to give up and quit. Quitting is not part of our heritage and it holds no part in our future.

    Bless Our Troops

    Cheers Firedog21
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  8. #8
    Forum Member RspctFrmCalgary's Avatar
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    Well said, Vinnie and Firedog.

    It was very .... thought provoking, to say the least, when I heard the news of the 6 deaths even as we were commemorating the 90th anniversary and historical importance of Vimy Ridge.
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Sheri
    IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
    Honorary Flatlander

    RAY WAS HERE FIRST

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    Forum Member ndvfdff33's Avatar
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    The loosing battle comment was directed at the fact that no matter how much we take out the taliban they come back stronger and stronger after laying low for periods. Then we loose in numbers like we have been lately. I do agree with our presence there, but I do know a lot of people who don't agree with it at the same time, i.e. quite a number of politicians who will ultimately make the choice in the end.I will say I am very willing and actually hope too go over there too help eliminate these terrorists.
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

    Ryan

  10. #10
    Forum Member VinnieB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ndvfdff33 View Post
    The loosing battle comment was directed at the fact that no matter how much we take out the taliban they come back stronger and stronger after laying low for periods. Then we loose in numbers like we have been lately. I do agree with our presence there, but I do know a lot of people who don't agree with it at the same time, i.e. quite a number of politicians who will ultimately make the choice in the end.I will say I am very willing and actually hope too go over there too help eliminate these terrorists.
    I have been there and they enemy does not come back stronger and stronger. He gets beaten back into the stone age, then regroups, rearms, and conducts an Offensive that they deam is compliant with thier objectives...which always fails. Coming "back stronger" would be if they started to attack with a Tank battalion supported by coordinated artillery and airstrikes....which will not happen. The "recent surge" the media uses is a term that strikes doubt in the operation hear at home. Military folks call that an Offensive, the enemy is making a push...plain and simple. And like every time in the past...they will be killed. Just because we loose some troops doesn't mean we're loosing. More than likely it means we are moving in on thier area of operations and they are getting desperate.
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    Forum Member ndvfdff33's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VinnieB View Post
    I have been there and they enemy does not come back stronger and stronger. He gets beaten back into the stone age, then regroups, rearms, and conducts an Offensive that they deam is compliant with thier objectives...which always fails. Coming "back stronger" would be if they started to attack with a Tank battalion supported by coordinated artillery and airstrikes....which will not happen. The "recent surge" the media uses is a term that strikes doubt in the operation hear at home. Military folks call that an Offensive, the enemy is making a push...plain and simple. And like every time in the past...they will be killed. Just because we loose some troops doesn't mean we're loosing. More than likely it means we are moving in on thier area of operations and they are getting desperate.
    Ok That much I will agree upon. Suprising wha.

    I'm just gonna start shutting up now on these topics because I come out lookin more and more like an ********* and idiot,which I'm sure none will argue, and just don't think before I post, which has definately been proven at of late. I'm putting a bad outlook on our Military,which hopefully won't completely tarnish your views on it.
    Last edited by ndvfdff33; 04-12-2007 at 06:10 PM.
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

    Ryan

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