Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Canadian Soldier’s Heroic Story Comes to Light

The following post comes via Troy who blogs at Bards of War:

I am very glad to see a story like this come out. For too long the heroic actions of Canada’s military has been ignored, overlooked and kept out of the public’s eye by the Canadian government.

Latta was the crew commander of a group of six Canadians who happened by chance to be at NATO headquarters when the insurgents launched an audacious surprise attack on the alliance’s heavily fortified main compound and the U.S. Embassy from a partially built 14-floor office tower. Eleven Afghan civilians including children, and five policemen died during what became a 20-hour firefight.

Until Postmedia News asked about it, there had been no public acknowledgment of Canada’s part in the ferocious battle, which garnered global attention at the time. The counter-attack eventually involved Afghan attack helicopters and ended after a ground assault by Afghan forces.

Canada’s current training mission has been much less dangerous than the combat mission in Kandahar which ended last summer. However, Master Cpl. Byron Greff of Lacombe, Alta., died late last October when the armoured bus he was in was hit by a suicide bomber driving a vehicle. A member of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, he was the 158th Canadian soldier to die in Afghanistan.

There is been very limited proof of the Canadian’s service but thanks to stories like this and to film-makers like Scott Kesterson, who has won an Emmy of this footage of the Canadian Army in combat, the world can start to hear the stories coming from Afghanistan about the great things that the Canadian Army has done in the War on Terror.

On the morning of the big firefight in Kabul, Chief Warrant Officer Gord Cavanagh had gone to the headquarters with Latta and others to pick up maps. Cavanagh, a Patricia like Latta, described a sometimes chaotic scene in which 17 rocket-propelled grenades fired by the Taliban fell within 50 metres of the Canadian position.

“It started with two large explosions so we secured our vehicles, kitted up and advised the Canadian command post of the situation,” said the 47-year-old regimental sergeant major, who had been involved in more than 400 ‘TICS’ (troops in contact) while serving previously in Kandahar. “We then heard three or four more explosions and saw an American soldier firing from a Hesco (sand and metal defence barrier) so we moved to provide suppressing fire when we saw fire from the building, which was about 400 metres away.

“They engaged us and there was some back and forth for three or four hours. There were long lulls after that, but it lasted all night in the rain, so we stayed in position and held the line, getting re-supplied with ammo from other Canadians. There ended up being about 27 of us where we were, Canadians, Americans, French and some Special Forces.”

Do yourself a favor and check out the whole story at www.edmontonjournal.com/news/Canadian+soldier+praised+bravery+during+Taliban+attack/6177855/story.html

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