Afghan Memorial cairn dedicated

Afghan Memorial dedication ceremony
Captain Troy Dennis performs during the Afghan Memorial dedication ceremony held at Canoe River Park in Shilo, Manitoba. The cairn was built by Justin Borody for the Shilo and Region Service Club, and contains a 50th anniversary time capsule. The LAV III was refurbished as part of the monument by RCA Museum chief mechanic Rob Love. Photo: Jules Xavier, Shilo Stag

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By Jules Xavier, Shilo Stag

Royal Canadian Artillery (RCA) Museum mechanic Rob Love’s handiwork on the LAV III on display at Canoe River Park did not go unnoticed by Lieutenant-Colonel David MacIntyre, Base Commander, Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Shilo.

“We are fortunate to have a LAV III monument, and it is the only one on a military base in Western Canada. Its location reflects CFB Shilo’s prominent role in Afghanistan, and will serve as a reminder to all who reside here or visit us in the future,” he told an attentive audience gathered for the June 26 Afghan Memorial dedication ceremony.

Framed by a guard of soldiers from CFB Shilo, 1st Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery (1 RCHA) and 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (2PPCLI), LCol MacIntyre highlighted the importance of more than 14 years of operations in Afghanistan.

“It has been over 10 years since I last deployed to that location,” he recalled. “I had the privilege at that time to serve with many of you either on parade today or in the audience. The bulk of that rotation of nearly 3000 soldiers trained and deployed from right here in CFB Shilo. The rigours of that tour need no introduction, and its costs ultimately were high.”

LCol MacIntyre said he was truly impressed by the memorial, including a cairn built by Justin Borody of Bricks and Stones Masonry for the Shilo and Region Service Club.

“Add a little moon dust, and it feels to me like the LAV III could have just rolled into Masum Ghar from Route Hyena after weeks of completing its missions, its occupants tired and grateful to return to some respite from operations,” he said.

The cairn holds a time capsule with items from Afghanistan, as well as the Shilo and Region Service Club, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018. The time capsule will be opened in 2068 for another generation to peruse the contents collected by club president Ian Muir and his fellow club members.

During the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) operations in Afghanistan, more than 40 000 CAF members deployed, many more than once, making this military engagement the largest deployment of personnel since the Second World War.

This memorial is dedicated to all those who sacrificed so much during 12 years of operations, and the efforts of all CAF members are now able to memorialize this mission in a respectful way.

“This monument is not just for us here, and those who served, but is a reminder for future generations so that we can count on future generations of soldiers to serve our country,” said Colonel Scott McKenzie, 3rd Canadian Support Group (3CDSG) Commander.

Both LCol MacIntyre and Col McKenzie also thanked the Shilo and Region Service Club. “I want to thank them for the vision, leadership and dedication to see this [project] through and for the contribution of the cairn,” said Col McKenzie.

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