Canadian Troops-Dying for Freedom
It is another somber day in Kandahar as Canadian troops honor two more fallen soldiers. The number of Canadian KIA’s has now risen to 124 since the mission began in 2001. Cpl. Martin Joannette and Cpl. Pat Audet were killed Monday when their Griffon helicopter crashed during takeoff.
A British soldier was also killed and three other Canadian soldiers were injured in the crash. The Griffin helicopter has been a very welcome addition the the Canadian forces fighting in Afghanistan. Most of the deaths have been caused by IED’s, and transporting the troops in the air via the Griffin has greatly attributed to less casualties and reduced the risk for our troops.
The Taliban have claimed they shot down the chopper but Canadian Military officials are disputing this, saying the soldiers did not perish as a result of enemy fire. Whatever the cause, these brave men died while serving their Country and believed in what they were doing. Defense Minister Peter Makay issued a statement that Canada’s commitment to NATO and Afghanistan is just as strong as ever, and offered his condolences to their families.
Officials at CFB Valcartier say Audet, from Montreal, joined the Canadian Forces in 1988 and served in the Middle East in 2002 before deploying to Kandahar in April. Cpl Joannette, from St-Calixte, Que., joined the military in December 2001 and served three tours in Afghanistan. Our soldiers are fighting for Afghan families, freedom, democracy, and the respect for human rights. This is the first time Canada has deployed an air wing in combat since the Korean war.
Concerns about the Griffons engines have been raised before, that it might not have the power to deal with the severe heat and sandy conditions. And since enemy action has been ruled out that only leaves mechanical failure, or human error. The investigation into the crash is ongoing and the results will be known soon.
The sacrifice of our soldiers should not be forgotten amidst the media hype surrounding celebrity deaths. And what they endure on a daily basis is more than most people realize. The heat, equipment weight, and obstacles they face every day is coupled with the danger of road side bombs, and an enemy who’s face is hard to identify at best. This could be in many ways, the toughest conflict our troops have ever had to face. But every day they do their duty, and every day I am proud of them, and proud to be a Canadian.