Sunday, January 17, 2010

Canadian Soldier Killed on Foot Patrol

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- 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. Sgt. Faught's troops have lost "an extraordinary friend who died leading and protecting them," he said.

Sgt. 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 Sgt. 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, Sgt. 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."

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