It was ten years ago today that four Canadian soldiers were killed by
friendly fire in Afghanistan, and civilians and military members alike
paused Tuesday to remember the first four Canadians killed in
Sergeant Marc Leger, Cpl. Ainsworth Dyer, Private Richard Green and
Private Nathan Smith died on April 17, 2002 on Afghan soil, at the hands
of U.S. pilot who was later convicted of dereliction of duty.
The troops, all members of the Third Battalion Princess Patricia's
Canadian Light Infantry, were firing weapons at a training range in
Kandahar, when the pilot mistook them for hostile forces and dropped a
bomb on them.
At Canadian Forces Base Edmonton Tuesday, soldiers observed a moment of silence to remember the four soldiers.
"It hit home that it was a friendly fire casualty, we call it a blue
on blue and it makes every one of our soldiers killed in action are a
tragedy of course," Major Kevin Barry said. "That made it especially
tragic for us."
They were the first Canadian soldiers to be killed in a combat zone
since the Korean War, and just two months after the mission in
The deaths of the four soldiers inspired memorials throughout the
country since the incident – such as the Ainsworth Dyer Memorial Bridge,
where flowers were laid Tuesday, along with other personal tributes.
Aart Van Sloten's daughter was engaged to Corporal Dyer, and has fond memories of the young soldier.
"I remember him as a really fun person," Van Sloten said. "You could
depend on him if you needed a hand sometime, he'd be more than willing
to help you out."
Regardless of the loss of life, in the friendly fire incident and
others, Major Barry says to him, Canadian support for their work in
Afghanistan has not wavered.
"Canadians in general, people of Alberta and Edmonton in particular,
have always been so supportive of us in all the operations we've
Canadian combat troops pulled out of Afghanistan in 2011, but
Canada's military will continue to have a presence in the region until
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