Bless our Fallen Soldier Sgt. John Faught. May strength come to his family and friends as they travel a difficult journey ahead. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
"He loved life and loved the Army but he loved being with his soldiers the most," Padre Dennis Newhook said at the ramp ceremony.
"Sgt. Faught was an inspiration to his platoon, and the platoon not only lost a great leader, they lost an extraordinary friend," the chaplain said.
Newhook said Faught was committed to his soldiers and to Canada's mission in Afghanistan and "died as he lived: leading and protecting his soldiers."
Faught, originally from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., had planned to serve two more years before retiring from the military
Comrades Say Goodbye - Ramp Ceremony in Afghanistan
More than 1,000 soldiers gathered at Kandahar Airfield for a sombre farewell Sunday to Sgt. John Wayne Faught, the Canadian infantryman who died after stepping on an improvised explosive device.
As a piper mournfully skirled Dark Isle and Going Home, Sgt. John Wayne Faught’s flag-draped casket was borne by fellow infantrymen Sunday to an air force transport that will return him to Canada one last time.
The sergeant from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., was the first Canadian soldier to die in Afghanistan in 2010. He was killed Saturday when a landmine exploded underneath him while he led a foot patrol near the village of Nakhoney, about 15 kilometres southwest of Kandahar City.
The 44-year-old section commander from Delta Company, 1 Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry of Edmonton was on his sixth foreign tour and his third in Afghanistan. He was the 139th Canadian and the 38th Patricia to die in Afghanistan since Canada first sent troops to Afghanistan in 2002.
"He was a leader who led from the front," said Padre Dennis Newhook of Trinity Bay, N.L. Faught’s troops have lost "an extraordinary friend who died leading and protecting them," he said.
Faught is survived by his mother, Donna Marie, in Sault Ste. Marie, a sister in Toronto and a girlfriend in Thunder Bay.
Maj. Wayne Niven said he would remember Faught, who served in his company, always chewing on a plug of tobacco and for his exceptional devotion to his young troops.
Before deploying to Afghanistan, Faught, who joined the army 23 years ago, had spent a lot of time with each of his soldiers to make sure that their personal affairs were in order.
"He was known for his methodical, disciplined approach to soldiering," Niven said. "He was on point (the first man at the front of a patrol) and would never have handed off to one of his soldiers. That’s why we’re here today."
Warrant Officer Troy McCann of Halifax, who spent 16 years with Faught when the Patricias had a battalion based in Winnipeg, described him "as a very good soldier and an excellent friend who will definitely be missed by his peers."
McCann said he was "shocked" when he heard of the death of the man he always called "Johnny Wayne," while attending a meeting at Canada’s Provincial Reconstruction Team base in Kandahar City on Saturday.
"Far too often I am hearing the names of friends who have fallen and this (one) hit me rather hard," the warrant officer said.
Referring to the buried homemade explosives that have killed Faught and dozens of other Canadians in Kandahar, McCann added: "We know the threat that is there. It is constantly in the back of your mind. But you can’t think of the what-ifs. You have to concentrate on the job."
Faught’s solemn departure from Kandahar Airfield on Sunday was attended by several thousand coalition troops. It the 74th such ramp ceremony held by the Canadians since the federal government sent combat forces to southern Afghanistan in March 2006. A Canadian battle group was also based in Kandahar in 2002.
Pallbearers slowly carried the casket to a waiting transport plane for his final trip to Canada.
He is Coming Home - Pay Your Respects on The Highway of Heroes
Our fallen soldier, Sergeant John Faught of the 1st Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, based in Edmonton, Alberta, returns home to Canada tomorrow.
Where: 8 Wing, Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ontario.
When: Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 2:00 p.m.
Approximate time in Toronto will be 4:30 pm
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.