Canadian Heroes

Col. Geoff Parker, 42, of Oakville, Ont

Canadian colonel dies in Kabul bombing

A Canadian colonel was among 18 people killed Tuesday in a suicide car bombing in Kabul.

The Canadian was identified as Col. Geoff Parker, 42, who had been the commanding officer of the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment, a mechanized unit based at CFB Gagetown, N.B. He is the highest-ranking Canadian Forces member to die in Afghanistan.

Col. Geoff Parker, 42, of Oakville, Ont., died in the Kabul attack.

Col. Geoff Parker, 42, of Oakville, Ont., died in the Kabul attack. (Department of National Defence)“Col. Parker was in Kabul to interact with the various international organizations there in order to prepare his team for their upcoming mission,” said Col. Simon Hetherington, the deputy commander of Task Force Kandahar.

“As a battalion commander, he led his soldiers from the front and with distinction. The post he was preparing to fill was important and of such high profile, he was hand-picked from across the army to do so. A rising star. His potential was undeniable.”

Parker was born and raised in Oakville, Ont. A 1990 graduate of the University of Western Ontario, Parker was married with a son and a daughter, according to his military biography.

Parker is the 145th member of the Canadian Forces to die in Afghanistan since the current mission began in 2002.

Earlier Tuesday., U.S. forces spokesman Col. Wayne Shanks confirmed that five of the dead were American.

“I strongly condemn the suicide attack today in Kabul, which has led to the death of Afghan civilians and ISAF soldiers, and injuries to many more Afghans,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a statement.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blasts, which happened early Tuesday in a west Kabul neighbourhood near an army recruitment centre and many government buildings.

President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack, saying women and children were among the victims.

12 Afghan civilians killed

At least 12 Afghan civilians were killed and 47 people were injured in the attack, which struck at least five NATO vehicles, a bus and a number of private cars.

A U.S. soldier keeps watch at the site of the suicide bombing.A U.S. soldier keeps watch at the site of the suicide bombing. (Ahmad Masood/Reuters)“It was morning rush hour, the street packed with traffic, the sidewalk crowded with pedestrians,” journalist Tom Popyk said, noting that American troops moved into the area after the blast to assist with rescue efforts.

“I saw one person lying on the ground with no head,” said Mirza Mohammad, who was on his way to work when the blast happened up the road.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told The Associated Press in a phone call from an undisclosed location that the bomber was a man from Kabul and his car was packed with 750 kilograms of explosives. The attacker targeted foreign forces, he said.

Tuesday’s bombing is the deadliest attack on NATO forces in the capital since September, when a suicide blast killed six Italian soldiers.

The attack comes as NATO readies a major offensive in the southern province of Kandahar, a major Taliban stronghold.

With files from The Associated Press

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Canadian Heroes

Pte. Kevin McKay

Governor General Michaelle Jean, followed by Defense Minister Peter MacKay, third from right, waves to a group of soldiers at CFB Trenton who returned to Canada in the same aircraft which repatriated Pte. Kevin McKay on Sunday May 16, 2010, during a repatriation ceremony on the tarmac at the military base. Pte. McKay is the 144th Canadian soldier to die in conflict since 2002. He was killed May 13th by an improvised explosive device near Kandahar, Afghanistan. (THE CANADIAN PRESS) News Staff

Date: Fri. May. 14 2010 10:00 AM ET

A Canadian soldier was killed by an improvised explosive device Thursday, just a few days short of the end of his tour of duty in southern Afghanistan.

Pte. Kevin McKay, of the 1st Battalion of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, died when an explosion erupted around his platoon while on patrol in a village just outside Kandahar City.

The 24-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont., was on a “presence patrol” in the village of Nakhonay, about 15 kilometres west of Kandahar City, when the IED exploded.

The foot patrols are intended to demonstrate to local Afghans that NATO troops have pushed the Taliban out of the area, part of the volatile Panjwaii district that was the scene of fierce fighting in 2006 and 2007.

Col. Simon Hetherington, the deputy commander of Task Force Kandahar, said McKay embodied the spirit of the Canadian soldier.

“He was the type of soldier that Canadians might think of when they think of their army in Afghanistan — the tough, courageous infantryman, living in austere conditions and doing incredibly difficult work,” Hetherington said from the main coalition base at Kandahar Air Field.

“His platoon brothers and friends will remember Kevin, better known as ‘Mickey’ to his buddies, as a generous man, dependable, with a quick wit and a great sense of humour that was exemplified by his awesome moustache.”

Hetherington, speaking on behalf of task force commander Brig.-Gen. Dan Menard, who is on leave, said that McKay was short in stature but not in the estimation of his comarades.

“While not a tall man, he had no difficulty in poking fun and taunting those less vertically challenged platoon mates,” Hetherington said.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement that McKay served Canada valiantly, and deserves the gratitude and respect of his nation.

“Canadians are forever proud and grateful for his service and for the contributions of all our men and women in uniform to this UN-mandated, NATO-led mission.”

McKay is the 144th Canadian soldier to die in Afghanistan since the mission began in 2002. Two civilians — diplomat Glyn Berry and journalist Michelle Lang — have also died.

McKay’s death comes as hundreds gather in Halifax to remember the first Canadian sailor to be killed in the Afghan conflict.

A memorial service will be held for 37-year-old Petty Officer 2nd Class Craig Blake, who was killed by an IED on May 3, also in the Panjwaii district.

About 1,000 people are attending the service at 12 Wing Shearwater, a huge aircraft hangar overlooking Halifax harbour.

Blake had 10 years’ experience as a clearance diver for the Canadian Forces and was a member of Maritime Forces Atlantic Fleet Diving Unit.

Members of the diving unit carried Blake’s remains into the memorial service.

His remains will be placed in the sea at a private ceremony.

Canadian Heroes

Petty Officer Second Class Craig Blake


Petty Officer Second Class Craig Blake was killed by an IED about 25 kilometres southwest of Kanahar City on Monday, May 3, 2010. (Department of National Defence)

A member of the Canadian Forces who had just successfully defused a bomb near Kandahar City was killed Monday when another device exploded.

Petty Officer (second class) Craig Blake, 37, was killed while he and his team were walking back to camp Monday afternoon, about 25 kilometres southwest of Kandahar City. They had just finished disposing of an improvised explosive device when a second device detonated.

Blake leaves behind a wife and two young children.

“We are all thinking of the family and friends of our Canadian fallen comrade during this sad time. The commitment and sacrifice of our military and their loved ones are helping to make a difference in the lives of the people of Kandahar Province,” the Canadian Forces said in a statement.

Blake, a native of Simcoe, Ont., was a member of Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic), based in Shearwater, N.S. and was trained in improvised explosive device disposal. He had been in Afghanistan for only a couple of weeks, on his first tour in the country, when he was killed.

Brig.-Gen. Dan Menard, the commander of Canadian troops in Afghanistan, said Blake was known among his fellow soldiers as a role model who had a penchant for poker.

“He was a compassionate and approachable leader whose positive attitude motivated other soldiers to achieve great results,” Menard told The Canadian Press.

“Jokingly known as the ‘Poker Pirate,’ he enjoyed pillaging his army friends during friendly card games. He had a great smile and a genuine laugh and his friends considered themselves very lucky to have known him.”

In a statement, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Blake was a “brave Canadian who made the ultimate sacrifice while proudly serving his country.”

“This is a loss for Canada and the Canadian Forces, but it was not in vain. With the help of the international community, Afghans are rebuilding their communities and improving their lives.”

Gov.-Gen. Michaelle Jean added that Blake “offered the best of himself” while showing an “extraordinary commitment in providing assistance to the Afghan people.”

“Our thoughts are with his mourning parents, his fellow sailors and his friends. We can only imagine their great suffering and grief.”

Blake’s death marks the first Canadian casualty in Afghanistan since April 11, when Pte. Tyler William Todd was killed in a roadside blast while on foot patrol southwest of Kandahar City.

His passing brings to 143 the number of Canadian troops who have died since the Afghan mission began in 2002.

Canadian Heroes

Private Tyler William Todd

OTTAWA — One Canadian soldier was killed by an improvised explosive device that detonated during a dismounted security patrol in Dand district at approximately 7:30 a.m. Kandahar time on 11 April 2010. The incident occurred in the vicinity of Belanday, Dand district, approximately eight-kilometres southwest of Kandahar City.

Killed in action was Private Tyler William Todd from the 1st Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, based in Edmonton, Alberta. He was serving as a member with Task Force 3-09 Battle Group.

At this sad time, our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of our fallen Canadian comrade. The commitment and sacrifice of our soldiers and their loved ones are helping to make a difference in the lives of the people of Kandahar Province….

Members of Joint Task Force Afghanistan work with soldiers and police of the Afghan National Security Forces to improve security and build a better future for Afghans. Canada remains committed to bringing peace, stability and good governance to Afghanistan.

Canadian Heroes

Canadian Heroes CD

Eight Juno Award winning Canadian musicians have put together a song for our Armed Forces that rocks, with all funds going to a charity that will help our Canadian soldiers.

Because 80% of our troops are under the age of 40, we thought it was about time these Canadian Heroes had a rock song to call their own.

Canadian Heroes CD

Also Check out the Full Song from our YouTube Channel!

Canadian Heroes inside cover