Canadians Killed in Afghanistan Honored by 187th
Four Canadians killed by U.S. friendly fire in Afghanistan were honoured by their American fellow soldiers of 187th Infantry Regiment. Amid the echoing strains of a lone bugler and the sharp report of a 21-gun salute, the men’s names were unveiled in a granite block, part of the 187th’s memorial to members who have died in conflicts dating back to the Second World War.
Sgt. Marc Leger, Cpl. Ainsworth Dyer, Pte. Richard Green and Pte. Nathan Smith died April 18, 2002, when an American fighter pilot mistakenly dropped a bomb on Canadians who were conducting a night exercise near Kandahar, Afghanistan. The four men, who served alongside U.S. soldiers as part of Task Force Rakkasan, are the first non-Americans ever included on the memorial wall.
Col. Michael Steele, commanding officer of the U.S. regiment’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team, praised the seven men, including “four from our strong coalition partner and our good friend Canada” as “courageous soldiers who epitomized selfless service and heroism.”
“This is an extended family… It includes not only those assigned to the regiment but also those who have fought side by side with our soldiers. Anyone who fights with us is a brother. He is a Rakkasan.”
(Story courtesy of former U.S. Army officer and leading MilBlogger Blackfive, who wonders if Col. Steele was Captain Steele of Task Force Ranger in Moghidishu. This is highly likely – according to the Philadelphia Enquirer’s official Blackhawk Down site in 1997: “Capt. Mike Steele, who received the Bronze Star with Valor Device for his actions as commander of the Rangers during the fight, is now a major with the 82d Airborne Division.”)