Killed in landmine explosion, Oct. 2, 2003, age 41

Robert Short had just returned home to Petawawa, Ont. -- only days back from his third tour in the Balkans -- when 9/11 turned the world upside down.

As a result, his fifth and final overseas mission would take him to Afghanistan in 2003.

Short was no stranger to sorrow. Not only

Pall bears carry Srgt. Short casket in Trenton

had he witnessed the horrors of the Bosnian war, at home his family had suffered personal losses too. His son, Jacob, died in a house fire as a toddler, and his wife had battled for years with serious health problems.

Through it all, Short remained a dedicated father to his other son, Josh, and his daughter, Charissa, and a loving husband. He called his wife, Susan, his "princess."

At work, however, Short was a quintessential modern warrior: tough as nails, expert at his craft, and earnestly professional.

After growing up in Fredericton, he enlisted in the army at 28, joined the Royal Canadian Regiment and never looked back, becoming one of the country's most accomplished soldiers.

He was a UN peacekeeper in Cyprus and Bosnia, a paratrooper, a top-ranked sniper, and an army pioneer -- an elite commando qualification.

Short was also a triathlete, running marathons and competing in military ironman competitions.

"He was a true professional and he really put a lot into being the best soldier he could," says his brother Mitchell.