Friday, August 29, 2008

Potluck for Families of Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan

Upcoming potluck in Waterloo welcoming families of soldiers currently or having served or impending deployment to come out and meet with other family members in support (F.O.C.S.I.A.- Families of Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan) in Waterloo for a potluck dinner.

A warm welcome is extended!

When: Saturday, August 30th, 2008

Meet and Greet -5:30 p.m.
Potluck Picnic Dinner: 6 p.m.
Social Cash Bar open till 7 pm
Meet new members and renew friendships. Social discussions thoughout and after meal.

Contact: Kerry Townson or

From Toronto Area:
Hwy 401 West
Exit Hwy 8 west Kitchener/Waterloo (exit# 278)
Take Hwy 7 East exit twd Guelph Hwy 85 N
85 N to Waterloo
Take King Street Exit
Left onto King St (go approx .7 mi.)
Right on Weber St (Chapters on L Corner) (go approx. .8 mi)
Go overhill
Immediate Right on Dutton Drive
Destination on Right Side at end of road (Wing 404 - 510 Dutton Drive)

From London Area:
Hwy 401E
Exit at Hwy 8 W Kitchener/Waterloo (exit 278B)
Follow onto King St (pass Shell Gas Station on right, Williams, Wendy's, Costco)
Pass Sportsworld Drive
Take Hwy 8W Ramp
Take Hwy 7E Guelph/Hwy 85 N Waterloo
Follow 85N Waterloo (towards St Jacobs)
Exit at King St
Turn Left on King St N
Right on Weber St (Chapters on L Corner) (go approx. .8 mi)
Go overhill
Immediate Right on Dutton Drive
Destination on Right Side - at end of road (Wing 404 - 510 Dutton Drive)

From Waterloo : Follow Weber St. N. and go past Albert St. (traffic lights) and turn right onto Dutton Dr. before going over the hill.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Light show to honour WWI dead

Actor plans to project 68,000 victims' names on public buildings
Actor R.H. Thomson calls his latest endeavour "a white-knuckle project."
He and lighting designer Martin Conboy want to project the name of every Canadian who died in World War I in public spaces over eight nights in November.
They want to project the names – more than 68,000 of them – in Ottawa, London, England and every Canadian provincial capital.
Now all they need are firm locations in most of the provincial capitals; a bunch of specialized projectors that rent for up to $3,000 a night; local organizers to help out; and some technical wizardry, including an atomic clock, to co-ordinate the display across nine time zones and an ocean.
That, and $100,000 or so.
Yesterday, Thomson and Conboy were at Toronto City Hall, where they've been granted permission to project the names onto the façade of the east tower.
Checking out the site involved clambering through the mechanical room at the top of the west tower, where Conboy found a spot to mount his projector.
Conboy and Thomson have lined up firm locations in Ottawa, Halifax and London; they're still working on locations in as many other provincial capitals as possible.
They've already carried out a similar project on a smaller scale: In April 2007, they projected – on the National War Memorial in Ottawa – the names of all 3,598 Canadians who died taking Vimy Ridge in 1917.
Thomson said he wants to do the larger project because the living connection with the war is fast dwindling. Only a handful of veterans remain anywhere in the world.
"The First World War, to kids in school, is like the Battle of Hastings," Thomson said.
Thomson has his own personal connection. Five great-uncles from Brantford, Ont., went off to war. Two didn't come back; two others, badly injured, died in a sanatorium in Gravenhurst, Ont., in the 1920s.
Thomson wrote a one-man play, The Lost Boys, based on their letters home.
Now, 90 years after the end of that terrible war, he and Conboy want to display the names of each of the dead, including members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, the merchant marine, the Newfoundland Regiments (at that time Newfoundland had not joined Canada) and the nurses who died in the conflict.
"We're personalizing it; it becomes somebody's moment," Conboy said.
It will take eight nights to project all of the names, starting Nov. 4, with the final name appearing at sunrise, local time in each location, on Nov. 11. The names will also be projected on the Internet with an atomic clock controlling the timing of each name's projection.
The names will appear, in pairs, in prominent type for about eight seconds.
Each pair of names will then shrink in size, but remain visible for 30 seconds longer as other pairs of names appear.
Veterans Affairs Canada has provided what Thomson calls "keystone funding" for the project, but money to support the local projects is still needed. Donations can be made through the website at Canada's National Historical Society,

What are your thoughts on this?

Canada Takes Part in the 500th Open Skies Treaty Flight

Canadian Forces personnel participated in a historic flight with Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg over Bosnia-Herzegovina on 20 August 2008 aboard a Belgian aircraft, which undertook the 500th observation mission conducted under the Open Skies Treaty, which promotes openness and transparency among its signatories."The participative role that we are fulfilling during this particular mission and others like it, not only allows us to actively contribute to the mission, but also re-enforces Canada's support for the Open Skies Treaty as a multi-lateral, cooperative endeavor" said Major John Nowak, mission team leader.The treaty formally entered-into-force January 2002 and is designed to enhance trust, confidence and collective understanding by providing all participating states with the means through which to obtain information on military or other activities of interest or concern to them. Open Skies is one of the most wide-ranging international treaty mechanisms established to date designed to foster openness and transparency of military forces and their activities.Canada is an active participant in the international proliferation security regime and is a signatory to several treaties dedicated to the elimination, reduction and control of weapons of mass destruction and conventional arms. The Open Skies Treaty illustrates Canada's commitment to developing greater openness and trust amongst states and lowering the potential for conflict.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Canadian Troops Bid Their Farewell

Unfortunately, I didn't receive word/invite of the ceremony - which makes me sad- especially being a mother of a deploying soldier. I would have been there. And now, I understand that I'm not the only mother without an invite. Why? I wonder. Did they forget us? O.K.. we won't dwell on this.. it's in the past... however.. I wish Godspeed and safe deployment to all our soldiers of Roto 6 - I send each and everyone of you a hug.
My support is here for the families and friends of our soldiers deploying. There may be times when you will laugh, cry, worry.. You may not be with them, but your soldier will know you are always there in their hearts and keep them in yours.

Petawawa Makes Third Major Deployment

Soldiers Prepare to Head Out

Maj. Jason Guiney kisses his daughter Miranda at a ceremony Friday at CFB Petawawa, near Ottawa, for 2,500 soldiers who will soon leave for Afghanistan.

The soldiers heading into the next phase of Canada's continuing combat mission in Afghanistan were given a formal send-off by family, friends and dignitaries Friday.
Over 2,500 personnel and their families gathered at Dundonald Hall to receive a pep talk from senior officers and Ontario's Lt.-Gov. David Onley, who told them that Canadians of all political stripes support them as they journey to the dangerous Kandahar theatre of operations.
In a week when NATO has lost 16 soldiers, including three Canadian combat engineers in a roadside bombing on Wednesday, Lt.-Gov. Onley said that Canada and her allies cannot stand by and leave the Afghan people in the face of the Taliban, "a vicious enemy who no level of violence is too extreme."
"The people of Afghanistan have been battered by war and tyranny. They've been oppressed and terrorized," Lt.-Gov. Onley told the soldiers, sailors and airmen, all clad is desert fatigues. "Your mission is complex, demanding and very dangerous. But you are the heirs of a great military tradition."
This will be Petawawa's third major deployment to Afghanistan since 2003. Personnel from Joint Task Force Rotation 6 beginning leaving the base next week for what could be a seven to eight month mission. They will be part of four units: 3rd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment (3 RCR) Battle Group, Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team, National Support Element and the Operational Mentor and Liaison Teams, lead mainly by officers and senior non-commissioned officers from 1 RCR. The Canadian task force comes under command of NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
Noting that the troops have been training hard over the past year for the difficult mission, Col. Dean Milner, commander of 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, said every one of them will make a difference no matter what their job over there will be.
"You'll do an outstanding job to help that poor country get back on its feet," said Col. Milner.
Advance teams have already flown out of CFB Trenton heading for southwest Asia. Col. Milner said the main body of troops are scheduled to leave next week. They will be replacing the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, based out of Shilo, Manitoba. The entire contingent should be in Kandahar by late September or early October.
For 3 RCR, this will be the unit's first mission into Afghanistan since they deployed to Kabul in 2003. During that six-month assignment, the battalion provided security and assisted reconstruction efforts throughout the capital city. The bulk of their operations was conducting foot and vehicle patrols, meeting with local officials and overseeing reconstruction projects, including the construction of schools, bridges and water infrastructure.
This time around, the battalion will be engaged in a counter-insurgency with rifle companies and supporting sub-units stationed at Forward Operating Bases or FOBs throughout the Kandahar province, including the volatile Panjwayi and Zhari districts to the west of Kandahar City. For Maj. Rob McBride, commanding November Company, it's been a long time coming but his troops are anxious to get underway.
"It'll be the challenge and experience of a lifetime," said Maj. McBride, who'll be going on his fourth overseas deployment, but his first to Afghanistan.

Other soldiers, like Private Devin Quinlan, a rifleman with Mike Company, understand they are going into a combat situation and know they'll have tough days ahead.
"It's a two-way range," remarked Private Quinlan, 24. "We're going to have to dig down deep, but you just lean on your buddies."
During a vigorous training cycle that focus on specific skill sets needed in Afghanistan, the troops have learned how to conduct convoys, react to an attack from an Improvised Explosive Device or IED, and advanced first aid. They've also become familiar with Afghanistan's complex history and culture. Private Quinlan said he is aware of the strategic importance of their mission.
"You want to help these people out, but especially the kids," he added. "They are born into a country that is unstable and they should live without violence. That's what drives me.
For the families of deployed soldiers, it will mean an even longer wait. Kim Ballah, who is also a military medic, acknowledged there will be a period of adjustment once her husband, Paul, departs. However, she said her 11-month-old son, Henri, will keep her busy enough.
"There's always concerns and you're worried," said Ms. Ballah, who also has a sister deploying to Kandahar. "But day-to-day life will be hectic as it is." - Chatham Daily News

Friday, August 22, 2008

As the Deployment Nears.. So Does Sadness Today

Each posting becomes increasingly difficult as my son's date of deployment approaches quickly.
I have remained committed in support of our troops and families throughout and always. When not travelling either to the highway as a soldier returns or to a parade or CF tribute, I keep busy reading my emails. Yes, I receive many Spam emails with offers of thousands of dollars, (heck I could have more money than Trump if these emails were true), there are promises of medical enhancements (if you know what I mean), plus many many more.
After weeding through those I come to the ones I cherish, the emails from families, wives, sisters, brothers, friends of soldiers. They bring tears to my eyes everytime. There are words of support and those in need of support. I may not be as strong right now, but I'm always here to help.
Yesterday, I went for a drive with my dad. Travelling along the 401 W towards London, we came under the shadows of the large Canadian flag waving so proudly at the Huskey Service station. It takes the wind's every bit of energy to unhurl the sides of the flag. The flag moves as it's weight slows it down. I look at it with great pride. Later that evening, I received a phone call advising me of the 3 Canadian soldiers. "NO!" I cried. "NO!" As the details were revealed, I thought of our soldiers and their families brave, yet going though a tragic time right now ... and yet so selfishly, so much wanting to hold onto my son.

It was a quiet drive home, driving in disbelief. My confirmation came as I approached the familiar flag at the Huskey station as it was flying so sadly at half mast.... and I wept.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Three Canadian Soldiers Killed and Another Injured in Afghanistan

Three Canadian soldiers were killed and one soldier injured after an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle, while on patrol, on Highway 1 in Zharey District at approximately 10:30 a.m., Kandahar time, on August 20, 2008.

Bless them all... our fallen soldiers are:
Sergeant Shawn Eades,

Corporal Dustin Roy Robert Joseph Wasden, and

Sapper Stephan John Stock.
"He is a man [and now woman] of all work of the army and the public: astronomer, geologist, surveyor, draftsman, artist, architect, traveler, explorer, antiquary, mechanic, diver, soldier and sailor; ready to do anything or go anywhere; in short, he is a sapper."
~Capt T.W.J. Connolly, Royal Engineer Historian (1815-1885)
The fallen soldiers are combat engineers with 12 Field Squadron, 1 Combat Engineer Regiment from Edmonton, Alberta, and attached to the 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Battle Group.

Per protocol, the injured soldier is not named by the CF.
The four soldiers were evacuated to Kandahar Air Field's Role 3 Multi-National Medical Facility. Sadly, three soldiers were confirmed dead by medical authorities. The injured soldier is in serious but stable condition.

Heart and Prayers go out to the families and friends here and in Afghanistan of our fallen soldiers during their difficult journey ahead. My heart cries with you. ~m.m.

Ramp Ceremony - Kandahar - Thousands of Military Personnel Line Up to Honour their Fellow Comrades

Canadian soldiers bid a final farewell to three comrades killed in battle in Afghanistan Friday.
Thousands of military personnel lined the tarmac at Kandahar Airfield for a solemn ramp ceremony.
This time it was the flag-draped caskets of combat engineers Sapper Stephan Stock, Cpl. Dustin Wasden and Sgt. Shawn Eades that were carried onto a transport plane to begin the long journey home.
Combat engineers have always been known to take on the most dangerous jobs, to rise above any challenge, and to glory in the most difficult tasks, Battle Group Chaplain Captain Darren Persaud told military personnel gathered on the runway.
"Sgt. Shawn Eades, Cpl. Dustin Wasden, and Sapper Stephan Stock exemplify these values, and were willing to sacrifice their lives to clear the road ahead for the people of Afghanistan," said Capt. Persaud.
The three slain soldiers, all with 12 Field Squadron, 1 Combat Engineer Regiment based out of Edmonton, were on patrol in Zhari district at about 10:30 a.m. local time Wednesday when a roadside bomb exploded near their armoured vehicle.
Sgt. Eades, who leaves behind his wife Lisa, and daughters Breanna and Niya, was well loved by the engineer Corps and the entire Battle group, said the chaplain.
"His dedication to his soldiers and his mission was second to none. This was his third tour in Afghanistan, and his reputation for succeeding at any task, no matter how difficult, was well known."

Cpl. Dustin Wasden, who leaves his wife Shannon and daughter Michaela, always seemed destined to be an engineer, said Capt. Persaud.
"The Engineer Corps held a special place in his heart. He loved to fix things and help anyone complete their task. His work made him happy, and his enthusiasm was infectious to all those around him."
Sapper Stephan Stock, whose body is returning home to his parents, Leona and David, was a pillar of strength for his friends and family, the chaplain said.
"His commitment to what was right and just inspired all those that had the privilege of knowing him. He let his friends and family know his desire to serve in this mission, may that be a comfort to all who mourn him."
Capt. Bret Parlee of 1 Combat Engineer Regiment knew all three men and said they were outstanding young soldiers and very motivated individuals.
"Cpl. Wasden is a Saskatchewan boy like myself, grew up on a farm. We always shared stories of the Sasktachewan Roughriders and farm work. He liked to tell stories, entertain his fellow soldiers," Parlee said.
The deaths will only strengthen the mission's resolve, Parlee added.
"Everyone that is here understands what our job is, the risk associated with it, and we prepare ourselves mentally for these eventualities and it makes you stronger."
Thompson said the Taliban has not been successful in weakening the military's determination.
"Our soldiers believe in this mission. They know what this is all about," he said.
Combat engineers clear paths and roadways of mines so infantry and support convoys and Afghan civilians alike can safely move through the area.
Many of the highly trained engineers have faced multiple roadside bomb attacks and booby traps.
Eades and his unit were part of a recently completed operation in Maywand district, further west from the site of Wednesday's attack. Its aim was to disrupt militants who use the district as a transit point on the way from Pakistan and as a resupply hub.

REPATRIATION TO CANADA - Our Soldiers Return Home

Our fallen soldiers, Sergeant Shawn Allen Eades, 33, Corporal Dustin Roy Robert Joseph Wasden, 25, and Sapper Stephan J. Stock, 25, all combat engineers with 12 Field Squadron, 1 Combat Engineer Regiment from Edmonton, Alberta are scheduled to return home to Canada tomorrow.

Where: 8 Wing, Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ontario.
When: Saturday, August 23, 6:00 p.m.

Present to pay their respects will be Her Excellency The Governor General of Canada, The Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Minister of National Defence, The Honourable Peter MacKay, Chief of Defence Staff, General Walt Natynczyk and other dignitaries.

Their Journey Home - Repatriation at CFB Trenton
Sergeant Shawn Eades, Sapper Stephan Stock and Corporal Dustin Wasden arrived by plane on the tarmac at Canadian Forces Base Trenton at 6 p.m. Saturday, where their families waited to escort their caskets to Toronto along the stretch of Highway 401 renamed the Highway of Heroes.
John Williams, mayor of Quinte West, estimated there were around 500 people lining the streets of Trenton. They were joined by media, who were not permitted on the tarmac for the ceremony at the request of the family.

From Highway 2, which runs through the base, the two young daughters of Hamilton-born Sergeant Shawn Eades could be seen in pink dresses at the front of his family members as they made their way to the tarmac to meet the caskets.
Eades’ wife Lisa Schamehorn, his brother David Eades, mother Beverly McGraw, Schamehorn’s parents, an aunt and uncle and a half-sister were present.
Governor General Michaelle Jean, Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Chief of Defence Staff General Walter Natynczyk were also on hand.
At least 60 motorcycles from the Canadian Army Veteran Motorcycle Unit, made up mostly of former military men, lined the south side of the highway – one of their larger turnouts according to First CAV President Roger Levert.
Williams, who has been to nearly 50 repatriation ceremonies during his two years in office said he had not yet seen such a turnout and noted that while it’s tragic no matter how few or how many killed, three is a considerable number to lose at once.
The hearst carrying Eades’ casket was the first of the three to leave the base in the cavalcade, as he was the highest ranking of the three officers.
People came to Trenton and to the many overpasses and along the 401E (Highway of Heroes) to show their support for the families.

People came from everywhere and stood proudly holding Canadian flags, there to honour our fallen soldiers and we wept with the families as the courtage passed under the Cobourg overpass.

As the sun slowly hid behind the horizon, the traffic slowed to nothing. There was a stillness where horns once sounded. People pulled their vehicles onto the shoulders on both sides of the 401. Soon we could see, the line of lights... our fallen soldiers had come home.

Bless our soldiers, our heroes.

Funeral Service for Sergeant Shawn Eades
Where: Beechwood Cemetery, 280 Beechwood Ave, Ottawa, ON
When: Thursday, Aug. 28 at 10:15 a.m.
The funeral service will begin at 10:30 a.m.

Following the service, Sgt. Eades' interment will take place on the National Military Cemetery grounds at Beechwood Cemetery.
Sgt. Eades' funeral and interment are open to Sgt. Eades' family, military personnel, friends of the family, and the media. A reception will take place following the interment. (the reception is closed to themedia.)

Bless the families and friends of Sgt Eades, Sapper Stock and Cpl Wasden. Our thoughts and prayers are with you - and we are here for you.

CFB SUFFIELD – The funeral of Sapper Stephan Stock, who was killed on operations in
Afghanistan, will be held on Saturday, August 30th at 1 p.m., at the Patterson Armoury located at 20 Cuyler Road SE, Medicine Hat.
Sapper Stock was a member of the Edmonton-based 1 Combat Engineer Regiment, serving withthe Second Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Battle Group in Afghanistan.
The public are welcome to pay their respects to Sapper Stock and his family by lining the funeral procession route. The funeral procession will travel on South Railway Street from Pattison Funeral Home up Scholten Hill to Carry Drive and onto Cuyler Road. The funeral procession should leave Pattison Funeral Home at approximately 12:45 p.m. Limited outdoor seating will be available to the general public.

Condolences (If you post them in the comment section, I'll copy them here for you):

From the Family of Sergeant Shawn Eades:
My husband Shawn was a proud and dedicated soldier. He was a strongleader who was highly respected by those around him. He died doing what he loved – being asoldier. Shawn was on his third mission in Afghanistan. He believed in what he was doing andhe knew he was making a difference for the people there.Shawn has worn a uniform almost his whole life. He joined Cadets at 12, then he served in theReserve Force and he joined the Regular Force when he turned 18. As dedicated as Shawn wasto his job, he was even more dedicated to his family. He always had strong family values and itwas difficult for him to be away, but he always knew that his family would receive great carefrom his extended family and from the military’s services.Our daughters Breanna, 7 and Niya, 4 were the pride of Shawn’s life. We love him and we will miss him.
Lisa Schamehorn

“We would like to send our condolences to the other families and friends of Stephan’s
colleagues. Our hearts go out to you. We thank all fellow Canadians, our closest friends,
the Canadian Military the Military Family Resource Centre for all their support, wishes
and prayers during this difficult time.
Stephan was loved by so many people, his circle of friends stretch from coast to coast and
his family both here and in Ireland. He was loved deeply by his family and shared a
special bond with his younger brother, Bryan whom is truly honoured to say that Stephan
was his brother.
Stephan believed in Canada’s mission. He died proud and brave doing what he felt was
right. He enjoyed the challenge and the personal endeavours that the military provided
him along with the camaraderie of his fellow engineers.
He wanted his friends to have no fear for him because he had no fear of the mission in
Afghanistan. We truly believe that if he came home safe that he would request to return
for another tour.”
David, Leona and Bryan Stock

“Dustin (Dusty, Wazzy and Goose - ref big red moustache) Wasden was a dedicated soldier's
soldier who was also a caring family man, a loving husband and a wonderful father.
He loved being a soldier in the Canadian Forces, but he loved being an Engineer even more. He was very proud to be an Engineer and proud of the people he served with, and strongly believed in his contribution to the mission in Afghanistan. His passion for his work was endless.
Dustin could not wait to wear and show-off that tanned desert uniform. Like a child awaiting
Christmas, he even initiated a countdown as he got closer to going overseas to serve his country.
Once in theatre, he had not yet completed his first tour that he was already looking forward to his next one. In fact, he was thrilled about going back.
Very proud of his Saskatchewanese roots, Dustin's trademark was certainly his ability to tell
stories; that always made his comrades laugh. Famous for being the "talker" of the group, his
incredible knowledge of music and lyrics never ceased to amaze. Dustin was a great person to
know, he had many friends and was respected by everyone.
He was a generous spirit and this was born out by his love of Shoe Day where soldiers distributed shoes and other gifts to children in Afghanistan. He insisted many times: "Are we not here for the kids? Is that not why we are here?" Dustin was there for the kids and hoped one day his work would make a difference.
There are no words to express how much Dustin will be missed by the family, his friends and the people who loved him and had the privilege to have known him in this life. Dustin's beautiful spirit and enduring memory will forever remain in our hearts.”
The Family of Dustin Wasden

As we continue to mourn and deplore the recent loss of generous and courageous Canadians, members of the military and civilians, who had gone to Afghanistan to give the very best of themselves, we find ourselves once again cruelly faced with the tragic deaths of Sergeant Shawn Eades, Corporal Dustin Wasden and Sapper Stephan Stock, who had also been serving in Afghanistan. All threes soldiers were combat engineers with 12 Field Squadron, 1 Combat Engineer Regiment based out of Edmonton, Albert and attached to the Second Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Battle Group.
Their vehicle exploded when it struck yet another of those deadly improvised explosive devices. A fourth solider in the same convoy was also seriously wounded.
These constant attacks and devastating violence have no other purpose than to sabotage the tireless efforts and aid that our soldiers and humanitarian workers are bringing to the Afghan people.
The situation is serious. The mission, complex and dangerous. But every effort must be made to ensure that life triumphs over the forces of destruction that are undermining the present and future of this proud people who, even in the most difficult moments, continue to hope for better days and to believe in the importance of international solidarity to build the peace and re-establish the stability that are so vital to human development in the region.
Sergeant Eades, Corporal Wasden and Sapper Stock made the ultimate sacrifice in an effort to make that dream a reality and to combat terror. Their actions deserve our utmost respect and recognition.
It is our hope that the families, friends and comrades of Sergeant Eades, Corporal Wasden and Sapper Stock know that we share their pain, that they are not alone, and that I, my husband Jean-Daniel Lafond and our entire country stand with them during this painful and sorrowful time.
Michaelle Jean

Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada

"We have all been deeply saddened to hear of the deaths of Sergeant Shawn Eades, Corporal Dustin Wasden and Sapper Stephan Stock, who died while serving Canada in Afghanistan. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their loved ones at this time of loss.
I would also like to wish a prompt and full recovery to another Canadian soldier injured in the same incident.
These soldiers were on patrol in Zharey District when the vehicle they were traveling in struck an improvised explosive device.
Canada and our NATO allies are making a profound difference in the lives of the Afghan people. The efforts of these three soldiers, and all Canadian Forces members deployed in Afghanistan, help bring security to a country devastated by decades of turmoil. Despite this tragic event, we remain undeterred in our mission to help Afghans rebuild their country.
We will remember Sergeant Eades, Corporal Wasden and Sapper Stock as truly dedicated Canadian soldiers who served their country with professionalism and courage. "

The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay,
Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

"Today, all of Canada mourns the deaths of three brave soldiers killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan. These soldiers made an important contribution to international efforts in Afghanistan aimed at creating the conditions necessary for reconstruction and development efforts to flourish in a country ravaged by decades of war and despotism."
Prime Minister
Stephen Harper

Condolence Messages/Cards Can also be sent to:
Family of (insert name)
C/O. Capt S. Harris
Adjutant 1 Combat Engineer Regiment
PO Box 10500 Station Forces
Edmonton, AB T5J 4J5

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Repatriation Back Home Together

REPATRIATION TO CANADA - They travel their final journey back to Canada Together
The bodies of our two Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan are to return home Wednesday, August 13th, 2008.
The military plane carrying Master Cpl. Josh Roberts (2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (2 PPCLI), based out of Shilo, Manitoba) and Master Cpl. Erin Doyle (3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (2 PPCLI), based out of Edmonton, Alberta) will arrive at CFB Trenton, Ontario this afternoon.
The plane will be met by family and dignitaries including Governor General Michaelle Jean, Minister of Defence Peter MacKay and Chief of Defence General Walter Natynczyk and other dignitaries.
Where: 8 Wing Trenton, Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ontario.

When: Wednesday, August 13, 2:00 p.m.

Bring a Canadian flag and join others along the overpasses on Wednesday in honouring our fallen soldiers and in support of their families as they travel along the 401 between Trenton and Toronto along our Highway of Heroes.

Monday, August 11, 2008

God Bless Master Corporal Erin Doyle - Monday, August 11th, 2008

It is with sadness to announce the news of another fallen soldier today.

Aug. 11, 2008 - A Canadian soldier was killed today and another was injured in the Panjwayi District at about 5:30 am Kandahar time. The soldiers were protecting their combat outpost at the time of the incident when insurgents attacked them with rocket propelled grenades and small arms fire.The fallen soldier is Master Corporal Erin Doyle of the 3rd Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, based in Edmonton, Alberta, and attached to the 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Battle Group.Both casualties were evacuated by helicopter to the Multinational Medical Unit at Kandahar Airfield. The injured soldier is in good condition and stable. This is difficult and emotional for the families, friends and colleagues of MCpl Doyle killed in today's incident.
My prayers are with his family and friends both here and overseas during this difficult time. He will always be remembered.

Statement by the Minister of National 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 sorrow that I learned of the death of Master Corporal Erin Doyle, who was killed late yesterday in Afghanistan. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this very emotional time.I would also like to wish a quick recovery to a second Canadian soldier injured in the same incident.The two soldiers were bravely protecting their combat outpost in the Panjwayi District of Afghanistan, when they came under attack by insurgents with rocket propelled grenades and small arms fire.The vital contribution of the Canadian Forces to the United Nations-mandated, NATO-led mission are making a difference in Afghanistan. Master Corporal Doyle gave his life in support of our efforts to bring security to a country that has seen decades of war. His sacrifice will not be forgotten and this event will not deter us from continuing to help Afghans rebuild their country.Master Corporal Doyle was a true professional and dedicated Canadian soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan. He will be remembered with respect and gratitude."

REPATRIATION TO CANADA - They travel their final journey back to Canada
Our fallen soldiers, Master Corporal Joshua Brian Roberts, 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (2 PPCLI), based out of Shilo, Manitoba and Master Corporal Erin Doyle, 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (2 PPCLI), based out of Edmonton, Alberta are scheduled to return home to Canada tomorrow.

Where: 8 Wing Trenton, Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ontario.
When: Wednesday, August 13, 2:00 p.m.

Present to pay their respects will be the Governor General, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Minister of National Defence, The Honourable Peter MacKay, Chief of Defence, General W.J. Natynczyk and other dignitaries.

Join hundreds of others along the overpasses on Wednesday in honouring our fallen soldiers and their families as they travel along the 401 between Trenton and Toronto along our Highway of Heroes.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

God Bless MCpl Joshua Roberts August 9, 2008

Readers: Please continue reading, as newest entries, as I receive them, will be at the end of this posting. As well, if you wish to offer the family and friends condolences, please enter them onto the comment section and I'll then post them into the condolence area of this posting. Sincerest Thanks. ~ m.m.

From" Postcard from Kandahar " Blog: When I left the forward operating camp in the Panjwayi District today and returned to Kandahar Airfield, a communication lockdown was in place. All internet service had been suspended. Generally when this happens, it means there’s been a death or serious injury in the Canadian Forces. Today, when I returned to the Kandahar base unconfirmed rumours were spreading quickly. The military puts the communication embargos in effect so officials can notify next of kin to be sure family does not find out the grave news of a loved one’s injuries or death from the media. It is with saddness that we announce today a Canadian soldier died of his injuries following an engagement involving coalition forces, insurgents and security personnel from a civilian convoy in the Zharey District around 9 a.m. (Kandahar time) August 9th. As per Canadian Forces, an investigation is being conducted to determine the details surrounding this incident and further information will be made public as it becomes available.

Master Corporal Joshua Brian Roberts
Our fallen soldier is Master Corporal Joshua Brian Roberts of the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, based in Shilo, Manitoba.First aid was administered to MCpl Roberts immediately following the incident. He was evacuated by helicopter to Kandahar Air Field's Role 3 Multi-National Medical Facility, but sadly was pronounced dead upon arrival.

Bless the families and friends both here and in the overseas during this time of sorrow.

Godspeed MCpl Roberts as you travel your final journey home.

Joshua and His Family
Master Cpl. Josh Roberts was literally counting down the days until his fiancee gave birth to his first-born son.
"Josh Roberts has 55 days till fatherhood...oh my," reads a July 31 posting by Roberts on his personal website on Facebook. Master Cpl. Josh Roberts had already picked out a name for his unborn son - Meyer - and was hoping to be home in time for the birth when his battlefield rotation in Afghanistan ended in a matter of weeks.
Roberts, originally from Saskatoon but based in Shilo, Manitoba since 2006, leaves behind his fiancee, 25-year-old Lise Malenfant of Prince Albert, who is nearly 8 months pregnant. He also leaves his father Brian Roberts, Heather, mother and step-father, Beth and Gene Figley, of Dalmeny, SK. and cousins Crystal and Colin Roberts of Calgary, AB.
The family has asked not to be contacted by media, but will be releasing a statement.
Roberts began his career in the professional military service in more than a decade ago, beginning as an infantry soldier with the Primary Reserves. He served first with the Calgary Highlanders, then moved to Saskatoon, where he served with the North Saskatchewan Regiment.
He then joined the Regular Force in August of 2006 where he was part of the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry in Shilo. Just two weeks ago Roberts was promoted to a master corporal position. "It was a promotion that has been delayed because of his transfer from the reserve force to the regular force. “He had been extremely patient and always kept a sense of humour about it,” said Lt. Col. Corboud.
The Afghanistan mission was Roberts' second overseas. He had previously been sent as part of the peacekeeping reserves to Bosnia in 2002 to 2003.
Brian Lacoursiere, public affairs officer with the 38th Canadian brigade group in Saskatchewan, met Roberts through the North Saskatchewan Regiment in 2000. He says without hesitation he was an exceptional man.
"He was a real soldier, very good at it, just a skilled and qualified soldier. I had a lot of respect for him, and this is a real tragedy," Lacoursiere said.
A native of Saskatchewan and a member of the 2nd Battalion, Prince Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry based in Shilo, Man., Robert leaves behind his fiancee, Lise, and their unborn son, Meyer. The family asked not to be contacted by media but released a written statement Sunday saying "this is a time of tremendous shock and grief.""Josh was a soldier. He had always wanted to be a soldier, and he loved what he did. He felt strongly in what he was doing, and the family is hopeful Canadians will understand and appreciate the sacrifice Josh has made for all Canadians, and the sacrifice of all families of military personnel serving in Afghanistan.""He was the kind guy that we would describe as the soldier's soldier," said the battle group commander, Lt.-Col. Dave Corbould. "And I know that's a coined phrase but in fact he was one of those real guys, always carrying his share, and more, and always looking out for his buddies and comrades."Making Roberts' death particularly difficult for Canadians is the confused nature of the fire fight that claimed his life in the violent Zhari district on Saturday morning. Military officials are refusing to release details except to say the engagement involved coalition forces, insurgents and a private security firm that was escorting a civilian convoy.Brig.-Gen. Denis Thompson would not comment on reports that Canadian soldiers were involved in a skirmish with insurgents when the civilian convoy happened to drive by and, mistaking the fire fight for an ambush, opened fire on the Canadians. Roberts was reportedly in his armoured vehicle with his head out of the hatch when he was hit."An investigation is being conducted to determine the details surrounding this incident," said Thompson of the probe being launched by the military's independent National Investigation Service.Armed security firms are a common sight in war-torn Afghanistan and in fact the Canadian military hires private security to help guard some of its bases.The firms are also targets of insurgents. On July 16, a convoy of civilian fuel tankers escorted by one of the largest firms, Compass Security, was attacked, and five of the trucks set on fire.

Statement by the Minister of National 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 Canadian soldier Master Corporal Joshua Roberts:
"On behalf of the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces, I would like to extend my most heartfelt sympathies to the family and friends of Master Corporal Joshua Brian Roberts, who died today while serving in Afghanistan. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this time of grief.
MCpl Roberts suffered injuries following an engagement with insurgents in the Zharey District. First aid was administered. MCpl Roberts was then evacuated by helicopter to our medical facility at Kandahar Air Field. Sadly, this brave soldier was pronounced dead upon arrival. Canada is saddened by this loss.This UN-sanctioned, NATO-led mission is a challenging one, but the Government of Canada and its allies are committed to helping the people of Afghanistan after decades of war.We are working with Afghanistan to help build a democratic and self-sufficient society. The sacrifice of MCpl Roberts towards this end will not be forgotten.
The circumstances surrounding the death of MCpl Roberts are currently under investigation.Master Corporal Joshua Brian Roberts served with the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, based in Shilo, Manitoba.

Ramp Ceremony Sunday August 10th, 2008 -Kandahar, Afghanistan
Hundreds of NATO soldiers of different nationalities saluted along with Canadian soldiers as they lined the tarmac at Kandahar Airfield on Sunday to mourn the loss of another comrade before his body was transported back to Canada.

Roberts is coming home on board a C-130 Hercules aircraft . Details of how Roberts was killed remain clouded in the chaos of battle, and are the subject of a military investigation, but the pain of his death was clearly visible on the faces of his comrades who carried his flag-draped casket during a sunset ramp ceremony at Kandahar Airfield on Sunday.
In a ceremony that has become sadly familiar to Canadians, hundreds of troops from countries involved in the NATO-led coalition snapped to attention as a piper played a lament and a chaplain read a tribute.

A flag draped coffin containing the remains of Master Cpl. Josh Roberts of Saskatoon is carried by fellow soldiers Pte. Richard Stratton (left front) and Pte. Jeremy Bruce (right front) to a Hercules aircraft at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan Sunday. Photo credit: CP

“Those who had the honour of knowing Master Cpl. Roberts describe him as the embodiment of a brother, in the truest sense of the word,” said Capt. Darren Persaud, the battle group chaplain, in a prayer offered during the ramp service.
“Truth, honour and loyalty were not mere words to Josh, but the unspoken creed by which he lived his life. Josh would be there for his friends at any time, to lend a hand or to give them honest advice. Sometimes it was not the advice they wanted to hear, but it was always the advice they needed.”

At about 5:45 p.m., Kandahar Airfield came to a standstill as hundreds of soldiers from many lands marched to pay respect during a ramp ceremony Sunday night.
Two perfect flanks were formed on either side of a waiting Hercules aircraft that will transport Roberts home to Canada.
The ceremony was moving and surprisingly short for a military service. To the sound of a lone piper, the Canadian flag-draped coffin was walked by his fellow soldiers one last time here in Afghanistan and loaded into the awaiting transport aircraft.
In 25 minutes, the service was over and the soldiers whisked back to their duties at KAF. PCFK


Our fallen soldiers, Master Corporal Joshua Brian Roberts, 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (2 PPCLI), based out of Shilo, Manitoba and Master Corporal Erin Doyle, 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (2 PPCLI), based out of Edmonton, Alberta returned home to Canada.

Where: 8 Wing Trenton, Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ontario.
When: Wednesday, August 13, 2:00 p.m.

Present to pay their respects were the Governor General, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Minister of National Defence, The Honourable Peter MacKay, Chief of Defence, General W.J. Natynczyk and other dignitaries.

Photo taken at the Couburg overpass.~m.m.

Many Canadians gathered on overpasses of the 401 (Highway of Heroes) on Wednesday to honouring our fallen soldier and hero and in a show of support to the family and friends as he travelled his journey home.


CONDOLENCES to the family of MCpl Joshua Roberts:

To the family, relatives, friends and of course M/Cpl Roberts army family; my wife Margie and myself send our deepest sympathy to all of you. We lost our son M/Cpl Jeffrey Scott Walsh in Afghanistan also on the 09 August 2006. Thank you M/Cpl Roberts for your Service to our Country Canada. Rest in Peace.

Ben and Margie Walsh Regina, Sask

To Ben and Margie Walsh: Thank you so much for your message, I too am so sorry for your loss. Words can not express how Iam feeling at this time. We have never met and yet we are going through the same situation. Once again thank you for all the kind messages. We miss Josh deeply. Tears are flowing...RIP my son

Love Dad (Brian Roberts) & Heather

Thank you so much for posting all this.I am M/Cpl Josh Roberts cousin and am ever so greatful for all the people who have been there for our soldiers! It is such a tragedy for this to happen and I too send my sympathy to all the other families out there!! May they ALL Rest in PEACE!!Much LOVE and RESPECT to ALL!!!

Crystal Roberts Calgary, Alberta

Master Corporal Josh Roberts will never be forgotten, all the good times we all shared, celebrate the life we all had with Josh and lets all be proud that he served our country. Josh was like my big brother always looked up to him, how brave he was. You did good bro, real good. your boy is gonna be sooo proud of you!

Love your bro(cousin) -Colin Roberts

Today, our nation mourns the loss of another proud member of our Canadian Forces. Master Corporal Joshua Brian Roberts, a member of the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, based in Shilo, Manitoba, lost his life in a tragic incident.
Throughout the course of our military history, thousands have answered the call of duty to defend freedom in different parts of the world, contributing to the restoration of peace and justice, in honour of humanity's democratic values. Like generations of soldiers who came before, Master Corporal Roberts was dedicated to these ideals. He courageously sacrificed so much to build the foundations of peace and stability in Afghanistan, where conflict and dictatorship have reigned for decades. His contributions were exceptional; his loyalty to his comrades in the 2nd Battalion PPCLI never faltered.
On behalf of all Canadians, I join with my husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond, in offering our deepest condolences to the families, loved ones and friends of Master Corporal Roberts. Our thoughts are with them during this difficult time.

Michaelle Jean

I only knew Josh for a very short time but for the time I knew him it was very enjoyable. RIP peace Josh and THANK YOU for your courage and service and my heart goes out to your family and friends.

Darcy Beck (Calgary)

Crossroads Pentecostal Assembly Supports Our Troops - Thank You!

On Sunday, July 6th, Crossroads Pentecostal Church of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan held a Canada Day Celebration in support of our Troops, and to launch project P.T.L. Project P.T.L. stands for Praise The Lord, and Plug The Leaks. Their church building is nearly 30 years old, and they are needing to replace the roof, due to some major leaking that is occurring. This will cost them $100,000.


Not only did they want to launch this special project, they also wanted to honor our Troops that are serving overseas. They held a special celebration service and decided to give 10% of their offerings in Tim Hortons gift certificates for our Canadian Troops.

In attendance for this event were Mr. Randy Hoback – candidate for Federal MP in the Prince Albert District, the parents of soldiers who have, and are, serving, along with two RCMP Officers and their wives. There was a letter read from Prince Albert Mayor, Mr. Jim Scarrow, along with a letter from Mr. Darryl Hickie, Provincial MP.


Also for this event, their local Sears store donated red shirts for our ushers and greeters to wear that had "Support Our Troops" embroidered on them. Their local Tim Hortons supplied free coffee served after the service. (A special THANK YOU to owner Mr Ed Zaparaniuk for his generous donation!) Along with coffee, the parents of the Soldiers served cake. A true honour for the rest of the congregation and participants.

There were 138 in attendance for this event. There was a slide show presentation of pictures of Canadian Soldiers. Special thanks to Mrs. Brenda Sebo for sharing photos of her sons taken by them while serving overseas.

They are now in the process of purchasing $3,200.00 worth of Tim Hortons gift certificates to be sent overseas for our Canadian Troops to enjoy something from their favorite coffee shop!! A "taste of home".

Thank you as well Paula Pederson, the Crossroads Pentecostal Assembly, Ed Zaparaniuk of Tim Hortons, Sears and of course.. the parents of our Soldiers!

A great big HUA! The soldiers will truly appreciate all your efforts! I know we do!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

2 CER Received Gift Certificates

Fifty students from A.Y. Jackson Secondary School in Kanata travelled to CFB Petawawa, December 4, to visit with deploying soldiers from 2 Combat Engineer Regiment (2 CER), and to present them with 150 Tim Hortons gift certificates to take to Afghanistan in the summer of 2008.
The students of the Grade 11 Marketing class and the Grade 10 Business class worked hard to create flyers and a commercial to advertise this fundraiser. The total amount raised from the sale of merchandise and coffee and donuts for troop’s was $2092.00 by A.Y. Jackson’s staff and students. From the coffee and donuts fundraiser alone, the school raised $266, which was topped up by Tim Horton’s to $300 for 150 soldiers.
They sold “Support our Troops” merchandise through the Canadian Forces Personnel Support Agency (CFPSA) in their school and community, and a few students also produced a four-minute video to help sell the products and raise awareness of the hardships soldiers and their families face during a deployment.
“The students have worked very hard on this project and wanted to present the soldiers with a little piece of home,” said business teacher, Cathy Belanger. “They were very excited to visit the base, but more importantly, to meet the soldiers who represent their country.”
Through their sales under the Support our Troops Program, the students were able to raise over $2 066 in profits and presented a cheque to CANEX, who will redistribute 100 percent of the monies to bases across Canada.
Their video helped them to also raise enough money to present the deploying soldiers of 2 CER with the Tim Hortons gift certificates.
The CFPSA (Canadian Forces Personnel Support Agency) and CANEX in Petawawa were thrilled to have A.Y.’s support. Lisa Nudelman of the CANEX organization was so impressed by the students’ commercial that she sent it on to Don Cherry and General Hillier.
The students and faculty members were also surprised when the Tim Horton’s Foundation bus offered a free ride to and from their destination.
Lieutenant-Colonel Bill Moore, CFB Petawawa base commander, was in attendance at the presentation ceremony. “I am very impressed by the initiative from these students. Our base embraces all opportunities that develop relationships with the surrounding communities. This was an incredible chance for these high school students to interact with soldiers, not much older than themselves, who are training for deployment to Afghanistan.”
Upon the students arrival, they were greeted with a tour of the unit; learned about the engineering equipment used in Afghanistan and shared lunch with the deploying soldiers.

A BIG HUA to the Staff and Students at A.Y. Jackson Secondary School in Kanata .. for giving our troops (preparing to deploy shortly) a taste of home while overseas. Thank you!

Not only were the students impressed with the trip, but they also have the chance to write letters to the troops in Kandahar to remind them that people are thinking of them and to stay strong.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Thank You and Catch Up

I'm hoping you're enjoying your summer. Soon Roto 5 will be coming home and preparations for Roto 6's deployment are underway. I have so much to catch you up on.

First off, I'd like to give a shout out and a BIG HUA to the soldiers serving overseas that are reading my blog right now in KAF! You are a true inspirational group of people.. brave, unselfish - so giving of yourselves. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and Godspeed.

I'd also like to say a BIG "THANK YOU" to all the daughters-in-law and sons-in-law (spouses and common laws and friends of soldiers currently serving overseas and those awaiting to deploy) for keeping in touch with the soldiers' parents after receiving phone calls and relaying information to them ..and keeping them "in the loop" with dates of return, deployment, training, etc... you just don't know how much this means to them....It means soo sooo much to them, more than you'd ever know. It truly brings and keeps the family circle together, as at times they may feel a disconnect.. you are the bridge of communication to their own child. (a vital and important part of their lives!) Am I right moms and dads?