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Our friends shall never be forgotten
Cadets Todd Calvert and Darlene Dunphy
deceased 7 May, 2005
On the 7th of May, 2005 2741 N.S. Cadets, Todd Calvert and Darlene Dunphy,
along with a friend were driving down the highway and were on their way to a
NSSA Dance. That night it was raining and their car hydroplaned over the
median and crashed into an oncoming car. The driver survived, but sadly,
neither of the two did. From coast to coast, they will forever be missed.
Constable Jose Agostinho
deceased 4 July, 2005
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Jose, in the line of duty as a Royal Canadian Mounted Police Officer on July 4, 2005.
Leaving to mourn; his loving wife, Cheryl; daughter, Stephanie; son, James; parents, Manuel and Lourdes Agostinho; brother, Victor (Vivian); nephew, Shaun; mother-in-law, Hazel Adams; brother-in-law, Kevin (Mary); nieces, Elizabeth and Kate as well as numerous relatives and many friends.
Jose was raised in Okanagan Valley, B.C. and attended Rutland Senior Secondary High School where he met the love of his life, Cheryl. He completed officer training at Royal Roads Military College, receiving his degree in physics and physical oceanography.
Jose completed his pilot training in Moose Jaw, SK. He served in the Canadian Air Force Search and Rescue in Prince Edward Island, Ontario and Alberta. He retired from the Military in 1995 after serving 17 years.
Jose joined the R.C.M.P. in 1996 and was stationed in Cold Lake for seven years, followed by the move to the Wetaskiwin Detachment, where he served until his death.
He served as ambassador and translator for Sicofa. He played a leadership role in community services which was demonstrated by his involvement in Scouts Canada, teaching DARE in schools, and acting as Commanding Officer of the Cold Lake Air Cadets and later the Leduc Air Cadets. He had a special love of flying, which began at an early age and lasted throughout his entire life.
Jose will be greatly missed by the many people who's lives he touched, none more so than his wife and children to whom he was a cherished husband and loving father.
Cpl. Randy Payne
22 April 2006
Canadian troops suffered a devastating, deadly blow Saturday when a massive roadside bomb struck a military convoy, killing four soldiers.
It was the worst single-day death toll for Canada since April 2002, when four soldiers in Afghanistan were killed in a friendly-fire bombing. Those casualties had been Canada's first in combat operations since the Korean War. That attack was followed early Sunday morning by an apparent grenade attack on the main coalition base in Khanadar, but a military official said no casualties occurred in the blast.
In Ottawa, Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor said Saturday's deaths will not deter efforts to rebuild the war-torn country.
"We're not going to let the terrorists win and I believe Canadians understand that .... and they're behind this mission," O'Connor said.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper paid tribute to the soldiers who made "the ultimate sacrifice"
"Canada's mission in Afghanistan faces significant risks such as this daily," Harper said in a statement. "I am proud of the work that is being done there, and the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to do it."
The soldiers were identified as:
-Cpl. Matthew Dinning of Richmond Hill, Ont., a member of 2 Mechanized Brigade Group in Petawawa, Ont.;
-Bombardier Myles Mansell, a native of Victoria and a member of the Victoria's 5th Field Regiment;
-Lt. William Turner, a native of Toronto. Turner, a reservist and an employee at Canada Post's Edmonton mail sorting plant, recently served on the staff of Edmonton's Land Force Western Headquarters;
-Cpl. Randy Payne of CFB Wainwright, Alta.
They were riding in a G-Wagon that had a machine gun turret mounted on the roof when a massive explosion lifted the vehicle into the air, shattered its armoured compartment and pitched it on its side, instantly killing three of the four men inside. The fourth the driver was transported by helicopter to the massive Kandahar military base and died following surgery.
On Saturday morning Dinning's parents phoned his aunt, Lori Stoness in Aurora, Ont., to share the sombre news.
Dinning's parents could not be reached for comment, and as a mother, Stoness couldn't imagine what they must be going through.
"It seems senseless," she said about loosing a nephew this way. "It's awful, just the whole thing, is awful."
Meanwhile, Dinning's comrade-in-arms, Cpl. Bernard Parker, 25, said Dinning will be missed for his sense of humour and the pranks he often played on fellow Military Police personnel at Petawawa, Ont. "He was usually behind all the pranks," Parker said.
In Victoria, Mansell's relatives said they were shocked at his death and asked for privacy while they grieved at home Saturday. Mansell's older brother, Michael, answered the door in tears.
"I'm sorry to say that Bombardier Myles Mansell was killed while on patrol with a troop convoy late Friday night (April 21, 2006)," Michael wrote in a statement to the 5th B.C. Field Artillery Regiment. "As his brother, I am very proud of what he and fellow Canadian soldiers are doing. Myles was doing exactly what he believed in; trying to make a better world for everyone."
In Edmonton, a friend of Turner's said the soldier was extremely fit. He ran marathons and belonged to a local bike racing club.
"He was a nice guy. He was always helpful, he was always keen and enthusiastic about everything," said Dave Ellis, the manager at Pedalhead Road Works, the bike store Turner rode for.
Ellis said the team was shocked to hear about his death.
"I was just surprised. When he told us he was going over there, it kind of ran through my mind a little bit, but you never really consider that this could happen."
Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier said everything was done to try to mitigate the risks to the soldiers in the convoy. Eliminating them completely in that environment would be impossible, he added, noting any armoured vehicle can be defeated with enough explosives.
Two of the people in the G-Wagon were part of a convoy that traveled from Kandahar to the Canadian contingent's Gombad Platoon House on Thursday to provide security during a visit to the base by Brig. Gen. David Fraser, commander of Task Force Afghanistan. Gombad is 75 kilometres north of Kandahar on a north-south road known as "IED Alley" because of the large number of improvised explosive devices bombs which have exploded along the route in recent months.
The deadly blast was not the only attack on Canadian troops over the weekend. Early Sunday morning, sirens wailed in the main coalition base in Kandahar after a large blast shook the camp. A military spokesman said in a press briefing that no casualties occured in the attack, which was possibly caused by a rocket propelled grenade.
Gombad Platoon House, established Feb. 9, is located in a large mud-walled compound rented from a local landowner. Some soldiers have dubbed it "The Alamo" because of its appearance. Their feeling that local insurgents have targeted it adds to its notoriety.
Fraser flew into Gombad on Friday and helicoptered back to Kandahar the same day. Elements of his security detail left Gombad for Kandahar Saturday morning. That convoy consisted of two armoured G-Wagons, an eight-wheeled Bison armoured personnel carrier and an eight-wheeled LAV III armoured fighting vehicle.
Instead of returning south, the way the force protection detail had come, the convoy went north, intending to turn east toward the main highway which joins Kandahar and Oruzgan Province. It would have followed that highway south past the Canadians' Forward Operating Base Martello and on to Kandahar.
When the bomb hit, military radios came alive. At Forward Operation Base Martello, 20 km to the east, Sgt. Maj. Pete Leger sat in the back of his parked LAV III listening, as details flooded in. Turner had been part of his unit A Company, 1 Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, known to the soldiers as the Red Devils.
The radio said there'd been an IED incident and four casualties were being flown to Kandahar.
Leger was initially optimistic.
G-Wagon is a great vehicle," Leger told a reporter who was sitting beside him but couldn't hear what was coming through his headphones. "It saved their lives."
The news soon turned grim. Three men, including Turner had died at the scene, the radio said. The driver was barely clinging to life. Leger called his soldiers together to break the news.
"There's been an IED explosion near Gombad," he told them. "There have been four casualties three of them KIA (killed in action). The crater in the road was four feet wide and two feet deep."
"It was a big motherf-----. It was a big bomb."
As Sergeant Major of A Company, Leger serves as his unit's senior non-commissioned officer and is responsible for carrying out the commands of his office as well as taking care of the welfare and discipline of his men. It's a position some military observers wryly say is a combination of mother hen and God.
Leger, a native of Cornwall Ont., is a distant cousin of Sgt. Marc Leger, one of the four Canadian soldiers killed by an American bomb in 2002.
As his soldiers absorbed the news, Leger turned the announcement into a learning experience.
"The point I want to bring home is that we have a tendency to be complacent," he said. This job is one per cent excitement and 99 per cent boredom. Welcome back to reality."
"This will affect everyone in the company but they will internalize it and deal with it later," Leger said. "In Bosnia we lost people to ... and it affected people but usually for the better. But anyone who says it won't affectthem is a liar."
Fraser learned his contingent had suffered new casualties within minutes of the blast. He was sitting in his Kandahar office.
"I knew when they walked in it was bad news and you just get that knot in your stomach," he said. "The first thing that goes through your mind is I hope everyone's OK."
On Monday, caskets containing the remains of the four soldiers will be loaded onto a military transport during a ramp ceremony at Kandahar Air Field where hundreds of soldiers will stand at attention to honour their comrades. "As soon as possible after that we will get them back to Canada and get them home to their families," said Col. Tom Putt, Deputy Commanding Officer of Canada's Task Force Afghanistan.
The remains of the four men are expected to be in Canada by Tuesday evening.
Sixteen Canadians have died in Afghanistan since the Canadian military deployed there in early 2002.
Canadian troops first arrived in Afghanistan in February 2002, supporting the United States and Great Britain's ouster of the Taliban regime.
Canada's first military deaths there took place in April, 2002, after an American fighter pilot mistakenly dropped a bomb on Canadian troops engaging in live-fire exercises, killing four soldiers and wounding several others.
Last winter, a Canadian battle group of about 2,200 soldiers headed to Afghanistan to take over military operations in Kandahar from the United States. Before the deployment, Gen. Rick Hillier had toured Canada, stressing the dangers of the mission.
This was to be no mere "peacekeeping" mission. The Kandahar region is among the wildest and most dangerous areas in Afghanistan.
Canadian troops were going to face combat in Afghanistan, Hillier said, and casualties were not only possible, but probable.
He was right.
Since arriving in the country earlier this year, the Canadian contingent has faced fierce firefights with Taliban insurgents, regional warlords, and even drug cartels hoping to continue exploiting the illegal poppy/heroin trade.
The Canadians have had to be constantly vigilant both for suicide bombers and for IEDs. The troops also have face challenges in co-ordinating their operations with the local Afghan government soldiers and police forces.
A recent botched operation by Afghan police against the Taliban, in which six policemen were killed, prompted Canadian military commanders to review they way they fight alongside the Afghan army and police.
One of Canada's main tasks in Afghanistan is to help build up and support Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police forces in Kandahar province, so they can one day enforce security here without the help of western armies.
Back in Canada, polls have shown a majority of Canadians support Canada's role in Afghanistan, but many respondents were also opposed to Canada's aggressive posture, preferring a peacekeeping approach.
In the small town of Wainwright, 208 km southeast of Edmonton, townsfolk gathered to console Payne's widow Jody, and their two young children, a boy and girl.
Cpl Payne served at VACSTC in 2005 as part of the MP detail.
© Edmonton Journal 2006
Cpl Randy Joseph Payne
Killed in Afghanistan April 22 2006
Corporal Randy Payne of CFB/ASU Wainwright Military Police (MP) Platoon in Wainwright, Alberta, was killed in action in Afghanistan on 22 April 2006. Randy was serving as a member of the Close Protection Team that was assigned to protect the Regional Command South Commander, Brigadier General David Fraser.
Randy and 3 other soldiers were killed when a roadside bomb struck the G-Wagon they had been driving back to Kandahar Airfield from a remote Forward Operating Base near the Gumbad platoon house, 75 kilometres north of Kandahar city. The 3 other soldiers were killed instantly, but Randy was airlifted back to the airfield where he underwent emergency surgery but later succumbed to his massive injuries.
Randy Joseph Payne was born in Lahr, Germany on 29 May 1973 to David and Nancee Payne. During his time in Germany, Randy had started to play and excel in ice hockey. He was also involved with the boy scouts. The family spent many summers driving around various parts of Europe with their tent trailer exploring. Randy lived in Baden-Soellingen until 1981 while his father was stationed with 3 Mechanized Commando / Royal Canadian Regiment before being posted to the Signals Regiment in Kingston Ontario in the summer of 1981.
The family lived on base in Kingston for a couple of years before moving out into the countryside east of Gananoque Ontario. While living in the Gananoque area, Randy attended William Hiscocks Public School and his high school years were spent at Gananoque Secondary School. Randy continued playing ice hockey and when he was old enough to play, was a key member of the Gananoque Islanders Junior B team, even captaining them for a couple of years. Randy was also selected (by then Ottawa Senators coach Rick Bowness) to captain a team of elite under-18 year olds at a large tournament held down in Boston.
After graduating from high school in Gananoque, Randy took a law and security course at Algonquin College in Ottawa, hoping to become a police officer. He didn't get hired right away, so he took a job at the Nortel plant in Brockville, Ont., where he worked his way up to become a quality assurance manager.
In the summer of 1995, while attending the annual Festival of the Islands in Gananoque, Randy met his future wife Jody. They started dating shortly after and on 2nd of August 1997 Randy & Jody became husband and wife. The family welcome their first child into the world on 18 December 1998 with their son Tristan. There daughter Jasmine was born 31 January 2001.
After stints with Nortel in Ottawa and Montreal, Randy heard there were openings with the military police. He relished the chance to finally work his dream job and being the member of a proud military family, he joined the CF on 15 May 2003 from Kingston, Ontario and graduated from his MP QL3 course shortly thereafter.
He was then posted to Wainwright, Alberta in March 2004, where he worked diligently as a patrolman until the summer of 2005 when he was selected to assist at the busy Vernon Cadet Camp. A daunting task.
In September 2005, Cpl Payne decided to submit his application for the Close Protection Team that was being put together for duties overseas in Afghanistan. Cpl Payne was an excellent candidate for this training as he was one of the top performers of the Wainwright MP Platoon. The CP Team accepted his application and he began his training in earnest in October 2005. Between training sessions and a busy personal schedule, he succeeded in becoming a full-fledged member of the Elite Team and was deployed to Afghanistan as close protection for General Fraser the area Commander at the end of January 2006.
At the time of his departure from the Platoon in Wainwright for the CP Team, it was apparent to all that his level of ability had far surpassed the confines of his posting as a patrolman.
Randy leaves behind a wife, Jody, two children (a daughter Jasmine, aged 5 and a son Tristan, aged 7), his parents (Dave and Nancee Payne, Peterborough On) and an older brother (Christopher, Ottawa On).
Maj Gabe Panes
deceased 14 May, 2006
It is with the greatest sadness I inform you that Major Gabriel R.C. Panes passed away peacefully on Wednesday, May 24th at 11:00 pm at the Foothills Hospital, Calgary.
Gabe Panes 1980 and 2001
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