NEWS - from Red Fridays Canada.

Cpl. Kevin Megeney killed by accidental fire

HALIFAX (Mar 7, 2007)


Cpl. Kevin Megeney 45th member of the Canadian Forces to fall since 2002 in Afganastan.

A young soldier who told relatives he wanted to improve the lives of poor Afghans was killed yesterday in a friendly-fire shooting at the NATO base in Kandahar, says a family member.

He was the 45th Canadian soldier killed in the war-torn country since 2002.

Cpl. Kevin Megeney was apparently in his tent when he was shot, his sister Lisa said from the family home in Stellarton, N.S. "It was friendly fire, that's all I know,'' she said through tears.

Megeney, 25, was a reservist who had been in Afghanistan since Dec. 8. The Defence Department said Megeney died from a gunshot wound shortly after 7 p.m. in Kandahar.

Lisa said her younger brother was excited to be going to the war-torn country, despite fears among family that he might be injured.

"He said that he was going to help people,'' she said. "He wanted to turn things around, so the Afghans could live like we live . . . He took so much pride in it.''

Lisa said the family received a call yesterday morning from someone at his base indicating that he had been shot in his left lung, but that he was still alive.

"He was yelling for someone to call his mother,'' she said.

The youngest of three siblings had volunteered to go to Afghanistan in the fall as part of the militia with 1 Battalion of the Nova Scotia Highlanders, a regiment that saw generations of the Megeney family enlist.

The red-headed corporal signed up with the reserves when he was 17, almost the same age his father Dexter was when he joined the military.

Megeney had been training at Camp Aldershot in Nova Scotia for six months before deploying to Afghanistan, the same base where his father once trained.

The young man, who his sister describes as "generous beyond anybody I've ever known,'' followed in a line of relatives who served in the military in the First and Second World Wars.

"I am bursting with pride as I sit here and write about the military history from both sides of our family,'' Lisa wrote in a website she created for her brother. "And it occurs to me Kevin's going to be just fine, because he comes from a long line of Heroes.''

Lisa said she heard from her brother twice a week through e-mails and phone calls. In his last message Saturday, she said, he wanted friends and family to know that he "was OK and that he loved them and missed everybody.''

Megeney's death brings to 45 the number of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan since 2002. A Canadian diplomat was also killed.

Six Canadian soldiers have been killed in accidental or friendly-fire incidents since 2002.

The military wouldn't release any details of the circumstances of Megeney's death, but Col. Mike Cessford said in Kandahar the shooting was not the result of enemy action.

"We are looking hard at this,'' said Cessford, deputy commander of Task Force Afghanistan.

Megeney's death comes as British-led forces supported by Canadian, American and other coalition troops launched an offensive yesterday to drive the Taliban out of Helmand province. Canada's Leopard tanks have been deployed for action.

Nov 27 - Kandahar
Suicide bombing kills 2 Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan more...
 Family names are not released. Immediate family has been notified; however, family requests that names are not release until their families have all been notified.

Military identifies two dead Canadian soldiers
Updated Sun. Oct. 15 2006 6:49 PM ET News

Sgt. Darcy Tedford (left) and Pte. Blake Williamson were killed in an insurgent ambush in Afghanistan on Saturday. They were members of the 1st Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment based at eastern Ontario's CFB Petawawa. (Courtesty DND)

The Canadian military has released the names of two soldiers killed in an insurgent ambush on Saturday. They have been identified as Sgt. Darcy Tedford and Pte. Blake Williamson.

Both men were members of the 1st Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment based at eastern Ontario's CFB Petawawa. Their ages and hometowns have not yet been released. Three soldiers who served with the two told The Canadian Press that they have been instructed to not speak publicly for at least a day. The soldiers were guarding a Canadian road construction project west of Kandahar city when they were attacked. They were killed when a rocket-propelled grenade exploded over their heads as they were outside their armoured vehicles.

The men were honoured in a ramp ceremony at Kandahar airfield Sunday before their remains were loaded on a military plane for their final journey home. Most ramp ceremonies have been held at dawn, but this one in the pre-dawn darkness. Military officials are worried that holding such ceremonies at the same time could lead to a mortar or rocket attack by insurgents, CTV News' Paul Workman told Newsnet on Sunday. Two other Canadian soldiers were wounded in the fatal attack. One has been released from the base's hospital and the other is described as being in good condition.

The soldiers were near Pashmul, about 25 kilometres west of Kandahar, when the attack occurred, said Workman. It's been the site of a number of attacks in the last week ... In fact, about six Canadian soldiers have been killed in that region protecting this road area where the construction is being done," Workman told CTV Newsnet. The road meant is to serve as a safer liaison between the volatile Panjwaii district and Kandahar-bound Highway 1. The Panjwaii district is Taliban heartland, and the Canadian military feels the road is significant because it will end the area's isolation, which accounts for the Taliban's resistance. However, despite a recent major military offensive in the area, Operation Medusa, that officers declared a success, some soldiers are saying there aren't enough of them to keep the insurgents out. "We're hearing from regular soldiers on the ground ... that they don't have enough soldiers to get in behind the Taliban, to patrol  these areas in a more thorough way," Workman said.

Security perimeter

During an appearance on CTV's Question Period on Sunday, Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay offered his condolences to the men's families and loved ones. He pointed out that the soldiers were involved in a reconstruction project, and said their deaths illustrate the fact that development can't take place in Afghanistan without a strong military presence. "It puts to a lie any suggestion that we can just do development or refocus the mission solely on development. The provincial reconstruction teams are doing that, while the military ... efforts to put the Taliban resistance down, is happening simultaneously," MacKay said. "You can't have the development without the security perimeter. You can't have the development until there is really stability in that region." MacKay also said the rising Canadian death toll -- 42 soldiers and one diplomat have died since 2002 -- illustrates the need for more nations to help with the "heavy lifting" in the south of Afghanistan.

On Oct. 3, Sgt. Craig Paul Gillam and Cpl. Robert Thomas James Mitchell were killed during a similar attack in the same area, by insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles.

PMO's statement

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office issued a statement of condolence. An excerpt:

"Sergeant Darcy Tedford and Private Blake Williamson were killed on October 14 when their unit was attacked by insurgents near the new roadway project in the Panjwayi area of Afghanistan. This road is being built by the Canadian Provincial Reconstruction Team and other Canadian units in partnership with Afghan officials, and is part of the ongoing development and reconstruction process that Canada is engaged in. "It is with courage and heroism that Sergeant Darcy Tedford and Private Blake Williamson have sacrificed their life to bring stability, democracy and peace in Afghanistan. "Three Canadian soldiers were also injured in the same incident. I know the prayers and thoughts of all Canadians are with their family and friends during this sad and difficult time.

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