Monday, June 7, 2010

IED blast kills Canadian sergeant leading foot patrol in search for weapons cache

Excerpted from "Globe & Mail," Reporter Sonia Verma in Kabul

At dawn Sunday morning, an improvised explosive device killed Sergeant Martin Goudreault, 35, from Sudbury,Ontario, on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan, and fifth tour overseas through his career. He died leading a foot patrol near the village of Nakhonay, about 15 kilometers southwest of Kandahar City. Sgt. Goudreault’s patrol was searching for a weapons cache hidden by Taliban insurgents. Soldiers are increasingly finding these stockpiles hidden in Afghan villages, amongst the civilian populations. The Panjway district has become the focus of Canadian military efforts as tens of thousands of U.S. troops surge into southern Afghanistan, taking over much of the fighting in neighbouring districts.

Sgt. Goudreault was a member of 1 Combat Engineer Regiment based at Canadian Forces Base Edmonton, serving with the 1st Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment Battle group.

It was a routine mission, but a crucial one, according to Brigadier-General Jon Vance, Commander of Task Force Kandahar. “Always looking for a challenge, Martin was a qualified combat diver and had the highest personal standards of technical and tactical experience. Recognized early in his career for his leadership, Sgt. Goudreault was a model soldier; someone the soldiers in his section could look up to and emulate,” said B.-Gen Vance.

“Sgt. Goudreault died doing what he loved best; leading his section from the front. If your way of life was in peril, you would want someone like Sgt. Martin Goudreault to show up and offer help,” he added.

Sgt. Goudreault died on the same day as a parade of bikers rode down the “Highway of Heroes” into Toronto from CFB Trenton to commemorate Mayor David Miller's designation of parts of the north-south Don Valley Parkway and downtown streets leading to the coroner's office the “Route of Heroes” to honor Canada's fallen soldiers. This completes Canada's tribute to a soldier's final path home.

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