Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Four Canadian Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan on March 20

Last Friday, the same day I was flying with Tusker 313, came the unwelcome news that four Canadian soldiers were killed in theatre in two separate IED strikes. The story is related in full in Friday's Globe and Mail. Killed in the first blast were Master Corporal Scott Francis Vernelli, 28, Corporal Tyler Crooks, 24, and an Afghan interpreter. Vernelli and Crooks were members of the Royal Canadian Regiment, and were part of a foot patrol. Five others were injured in the blast. All the Canadian casualties were part of the RCR's November Company. Killed in the second blast, also near Kandahar City, were Trooper Jack Bouthillier, 20, and Trooper Corey Joseph Hayes, 22, both members of the Royal Canadian Dragoons.

Clockwise from top left: Corporal Tyler Crooks, Trooper Jack Bouthillier, Master Corporal Scott Francis Vernelli and Trooper Corey Joseph Hayes

The casualties occurred during a large allied offensive, OP JALEY. Here is the Globe's description of the operation. "Operation Jaley, which began Tuesday and continued until Friday morning, involved more than 2,000 troops. Canadians were joined by Afghan soldiers and the members of a U.S. Army battalion known as the 2-2s (the 2nd Battalion of the 2nd Infantry Regiment) that operates under Canadian command.

Many of the soldiers were flown in under dark of night to an area west of Kandahar City that is considered a Taliban staging ground. Others came by armoured vehicle.

The aim was to attack Taliban command centres and supply runs. Soldiers searched on foot through village after village for weapons and the material used to make improvised explosive devices (IEDs)."

The Department of National Defence's press release is available here and the Minister of Defence's statement is here.

Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord, and may light perpetual shine upon them.

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Mad Padre

Mad Padre
Opinions expressed within are in no way the responsibility of anyone's employers or facilitating agencies and should by rights be taken as nothing more than one person's notional musings, attempted witticisms, and prayerful posturings.


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