Monday, March 03, 2008

Trooper Michael Yuki Hayakaze

NEWS OF A FALLEN SOLDIER -Monday, March 2nd, 2008
3:45 pm Kandahar, Afghanistan
It is with sadness today that we announce the name of a fallen soldier. Our thoughts and prayers are sent to Trooper Hayakaze's friends and family, both here and overseas as they travel a difficult journey ahead. God Bless you Trooper Hayakaze .
Trooper Michael Yuki Hayakaze was killed on 2 March, 2008 when the vehicle he was traveling in hit an Improvised Explosive Device. The incident occurred around 3:45 p.m. Kandahar time, approximately 45 West of Kandahar city in the Mushan region, located in the District of Panjawayi. The explosion hit a convoy driving supplies to an Afghan army outpost. Trooper Hayakaze, was 25 years old and a member of Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians), based out of Edmonton, Alberta. Trooper Hayakaze was immediately evacuated from the scene by helicopter, but later succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead upon his arrival at the Multinational Medical Unit at Kandahar Airfield. His vehicle was part of a routine patrol during the time of the incident. We have lost a fine Canadian today, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of this brave soldier. En Francais Le Cavalier Michael Yuki Hayakaze a trouvé la mort le 2 mars 2008 quand le véhicule à bord duquel il prenait place a heurté un dispositif explosif de circonstance. L’incident est survenu vers 15 h 45, heure de Kandahar, à environ 45 km à l’ouest de Kandahar, dans la région de Mushan. Le Cavalier Hayakaze était âgé de 25 ans et faisait partie du Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians), un régiment basé à Edmonton (Alberta). With only a few days left in his rotation Dave Valens feared the worst as three uniformed soldiers stepped out of a dark sedan at 9 a.m. Sunday and approached Mrs. Hayakaze's front door. He was right. His neighbour's son Mike, the boy who'd attended nearby Bellevue Elementary and Eastglen Composite, had just become Canada's latest Afghan battlefield fatality. "I knew what it was right away when I saw the three soldiers get out of that car," Valens said. "I was devastated. I knew Mike was in the army. His mother had been so proud of him." Trooper Michael Hayakaze, 25, of Edmonton Garrison's Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) Regiment had been scheduled to return to Canada in just a few days after six months in the turbulent central Asian country. Early Sunday, an improvised explosive device (IED) went off beneath his armoured vehicle. He'd been on a routine resupply mission in the unruly Zhari district, 45 kilometres west of the City of Kandahar, an area that has become notorious for ambushes and booby-trap bombs. The IED ruptured the hull of the armoured vehicle. Hayakaze was quickly flown back to an airfield hospital in a military helicopter but he was declared dead on arrival. Sunday evening, Hayakaze's brother Dave sat with his mother as she grieved in her little stucco house on 66th Street near 114th Avenue. Hayakaze is the 79th Canadian soldier and the 21st Edmonton-based soldier to die in Afghanistan. more Reflections Betsy Pisik, a Washington Times reporter, yesterday recalled spending eight hours in a tank with Trooper Hayakaze and his fellow soldiers, just a couple of days before Christmas. "He was convinced of the mission," she said in an interview. She said "Kaze" was amused to learn his abbreviated name would've sounded like qasi to the local inhabitants - a term for an Islamic judge versed in sharia law. Ms. Pisik said Trooper Hayakaze didn't seem to mind the privations of living at a hardship outpost, and that he could find humour in Afghanistan - he was amused, for example, by the fact the citizens grew eight-foot-tall marijuana plants and carted them around unrepentantly. But she also said he was a sharp-eyed soldier who was deadly serious whenever he popped his head outside a tank's hatch, to scour the countryside for possible threats. "He would see stuff with his naked eye long before I ever did," she said.
From inside an army outpost carved into a craggy mountainside this winter, Trooper Michael Hayakaze reflected on the smiles of Afghan children. He said that whenever he saw them, it made him feel optimistic. "When the kids come running up to the road and they smile, it's the best," the 25-year-old soldier told the Washington Times reporter in December. "When we first showed up, you know, they used to run and hide, or they would throw stones at our tanks," he explained. "And you know they get that from their parents. So if they're not afraid of us, that means it's getting better."Last July, Hayakaze told the Toronto Star's Petti Fong in Edmonton he expected to be in Afghanistan the following month and felt frustrated by debates about whether Canada should pull out of the combat mission before 2009. "When we hear of these tragedies, it's always depressing and always makes me go quiet and think about why we're really there," he said. "What happens to all those men and women who've died if we just leave?" Statement from Minister of Defence: The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, issued the following statement today on the death of a Canadian soldier in Afghanistan: "It is with great sadness I learned today of the death of Trooper Michael Yuki Hayakaze. This brave Canadian died while traveling in a convoy through the Mushan region in Kandahar province. The thoughts and prayers of all Canadians go out to his family, friends and comrades at this very difficult time. The re-supply patrol was traveling in the Mushan region of the District of Panjawayi, 45 kilometers west of Kandahar City, when it was struck by an Improvised Explosive Device. This cowardly attack will not deter us from carrying out this important and much needed mission with our NATO partners. Canada's participation in this United Nations-mandated NATO mission is a true reflection of Canadian values: helping those in need and defending the interests of those who can't yet defend themselves. We will never forget Trooper Hayakaze whose self-sacrifice served to make life better for so many others."
A Legacy - Send your Condolences

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RAMP CEREMONY - Kandahar Airforce Base, Afghanistan
Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

Comrades of Trooper Michael Yuki Hayakaze who was killed Sunday, March 2, 2008 by a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan escort his coffin up the tarmac at the Kandahar Air Field on Tuesday, March 4, 2008. Photo Credit: Stephanie Levitz
At least 3,000 soldiers and civilians from Canada, the United States, Australia, Britain, France and other gathered on the tarmac at Kandahar Airfield to pay their final respects to 25-year-old Michael Yuki Hayakaze. At the sunrise ramp ceremony Tuesday morning, his coffin was carried by fellow soldiers from the Lord Strathcona regiment of Edmonton. "Amazing Grace" played as the flag-draped coffin was put in the back of a Hercules plane to be flown home to Canada. His commanding officer back in Edmonton, Lt.-Col. Pascal Demers, met with media on Monday, and told them Hayakaze's family has requested a military funeral. "The word I did get from Trooper Hayakaze's father, Ted, was just that he expressed a wish to honour and respect his son's service to society, and of course we'll respect that,'' said Demers, commanding officer of the Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians). Earlier reports said Hayakaze had been in Afghanistan since July or August, but on Monday the military said he had been deployed in October to replace another soldier who had been injured by a similar roadside bomb. "Michael Hayakaze at the time of his death was giving moms and kids in the small town Kandahar a chance at a decent life and I for one love him for it," Col. Jon Vance said. Hayakaze graduated from Eastglen High School in 2001. Teachers said he never failed to leave a lasting impression. "He was a polite student, a thoughtful student and the kind of student that would be an absolute pleasure to teach," social studies teacher Trudy Oatway said. Hayakaze joined the army in July 2006, and travelled to Fort Bliss, Texas and Germany for his specialized driver training. He was only days away from returning to Canada at the end of his mission. Flags flew at half-mast on at the Edmonton garrison in his memory

Tears Fall
Standing silently in the rising sun, a chaplain wept Tuesday as the body of the Canadian soldier left the Kandahar Air Field. Like the chaplain himself, Trooper Michael Yuki Hayakaze was only days away from leaving this dusty country when he was killed by a roadside bomb Sunday. Clutching each others shoulders as they bore his coffin up the tarmac, the pallbearers - his comrades in the field - also wept, tears cutting paths down the dust on their cheeks. To orders shouted in the various languages of coalition forces in southern Afghanistan, over 2,500 soldiers from several different countries lined the tarmac to salute Hayakaze on his final journey. Some had just arrived in theatre, their uniforms still free of the dirt that clings to so much in Kandahar. It was a sombre welcome to the battefield. But Padre Maj. Pierre Bergeron told them they should keep memories of Hayakaze with them as they prepared to take up the fight. "Our prayer this morning is that we continue to serve with resolve, determination and courage as we remember those who have gone before us," he said. "Courage is not the absence of fear but the determination to do what is right in spite of our fear. Yes, we will remember him."

REPATRIATION CEREMONY - Delay due to WeatherTrenton
Wednesday, March 5th, 2008
Please note: The blizzard conditions enveloping Ontario Wednesday have led to a one-day delay in the repatriation ceremony for Canada's most recently fallen soldier, military officials have announced. The Repatriation Ceremony of Trooper Michael Yuki Hayakaze, 25, of the Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians), based at Canadian Forces Base Edmonton, Alberta, is delayed until Thursday.
Where: 8 Wing Trenton, Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ontario.
When: Thursday March 6, 2008 at 2:00 p.m.
Present to pay their respects will be Her Excellency, the Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, The Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, the Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and other dignitaries.
Pay your respects to Trooper Hayakaze and his family
Join fellow Canadians on the 401 overpasses between Trenton and Toronto (Along our Highway of Heroes). Hold a Canadian flag, wear red, or just be present. Honour our fallen soldier.

Thursday, March 6th, 2008 - 2:00PM
The body of Trooper Michael Yuki Hayakaze killed in Afghanistan, returned home yesterday aboard a military aircraft as dignitaries and local citizens gathered at Canadian Forces Base Trenton to pay their respects.
The military plane carrying the flag-draped casket of Trooper Michael Yuki Hayakaze landed at CFB Trenton Thursday afternoon.
Hayakaze's brother, along with his mother Machiko Inoue and father Ted Hayakaze, joined Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean and Defence Minister Peter MacKay to begin the sombre repatriation ceremony.
Maj. Isabelle Robitaille said Thursday that it was a touching ceremony, as 100 people - including many from the general public - came to pay their respects to the fallen soldier.
"The general public stood outside the fenced area. It was a large crowd considering it's a weekday," she said. "Unfortunately after so many of these ceremonies, they are still there to support the soldiers. The mood was very touching."

Military retirees Jim Campbell of Trenton and Geoff Brogden of nearby Consecon each spent about 35 years in the service. Campbell, a communications operator, said he'd attended about 15 repatriations from Afghanistan. It was a first for Brogden, who had been a flight engineer.
When asked why they wanted to watch the repatriation in person, each answered with one word: "Respect."
The 1st Canadian Army Veterans motorcycle club, a regular presence at repatriations, watched from along the fence surrounding the base.
"It never gets any easier," member Tim McCully said, adding his thoughts are not only for the fallen, but their families. "The families that are home waiting and wondering -- that's the hardest duty."
Highway of Heroes Tributes and Honours

Hayakaze's hearse, followed by family members, travelled to Toronto with a police escort along the Highway of Heroes, a stretch of Ontario's Highway 401 renamed to honour Canada's fallen soldiers as people lined the highway and overpasses to honour our fallen soldier, our hero.
In what has become a traditional display across this part of the province, mourners flocked to Hwy. 401 overpass bridges on Thursday to honour the passing of fallen soldier Trooper Michael Yuki Hayakaze.
“It’s never good to be back out here for the loss of a solider,” said Seargeant-at-Arms Dave Galbraith, of the Cobourg Legion, who was present at Cobourg’s Ontario Street bridge. “But it’s good to show support. The troops need to know that people are backing them.”
Anna Marie Cullen and her husband Karl, of Peterborough, came to Cobourg to celebrate the birth of their new grandson on Thursday, and honoured his birth by saluting Trooper Hayakaze.
“One life goes and another comes,” said Ms. Cullen.
Also on hand was Officer Bob Carson of the Toronto Emergency Medical Services Honour Guard. “I’m really patriotic that way,” he said, of his presence at the bridge. “It’s nice to see the turnout. It makes me very proud.”
God Bless Our Angel -Our Hero


Kathleen said...

I am always hit close to home when I least expect it. Twice in the last few months one of our fallen has been known to someone at church. Trooper Hayakaze was one of them. He sounds like a wonderful young man.

Anonymous said...

Mike was a great guy and was always smiling...a face you could never forget. Words cant describe how much he is missed....

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your loss and even more sorry for his loss not to be able to comfort you as a son would. I wish the world could have such a smile as he once had.

DS - Calgary