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This article was published 27/6/2018 (827 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
CFB SHILO — Dozens of soldiers, politicians and other dignitaries helped unveil a new memorial at CFB Shilo on Tuesday in honour of the thousands of Canadian men and women who fought and died in the War in Afghanistan.
Parked in Canoe River Memorial Park, the new monument features a refurbished LAV III light-armoured vehicle that for many has come to symbolize the Canadian experience in Afghanistan.
Described as a "fitting tribute," Shilo base commander Lt.-Col. Dave MacIntyre said the LAV III brought back a lot of memories for him.
"The details on it really sort of brought that back again for me and I was truly happy that we could have this as a monument here in Shilo," he said.
Beginning in 2001, the War in Afghanistan was the largest deployment of Canadian Forces personnel since the Second World War, with more than 40,000 members stationed overseas over 12 years.
A total of 158 members died while serving in Afghanistan, 20 of whom were based at CFB Shilo.
MacIntyre was deployed to Afghanistan with the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry for nine months in 2008, serving as the second in command of a tank squadron.
He said the 2PPCLI proved its worth in Afghanistan, while the LAV III, which will soon be replaced by the LAV 6, brought with it a measure of "sanctuary" and "safety."
"It provided a base of operations for our soldiers that proved itself time and time again," he said.
"So while unfortunately casualties did happen, of course, in Afghanistan, this vehicle platform you see here was the workforce of the Canadian Army while on operations."
The memorial was a joint effort by the RCA Museum, the Shilo Service Club, CFB Shilo and Real Property Operations.
Col. Scott McKenzie, commander of the 3rd Canadian Division Support Group, said the memorial recognized the service and sacrifice of the thousands who were deployed and "paid for those efforts in blood and treasure."
While he had seen several monuments similar to the one in Shilo, McKenzie said this one took it "to a whole new level."
As for what was gained from their time in Afghanistan, MacIntyre said Canadians learned a lot.
"Our shared experience of combat operations is something that can’t be replaced and that’s why we want to try and perpetuate those memories, encourage the sharing of those lessons that were learned in Afghanistan with our new generation of soldiers."
» Twitter: @mtaylorlee
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