Ottawa Citizen… KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — The price Canada pays for waging war in Afghanistan has risen once more with the death of Pte. Patrick Lormand, 21, who was killed in action Sunday when a Canadian armoured vehicle struck an improvised explosive device.
Pte. Lormand is the 130th soldier to die in Afghanistan since the mission began in 2002. Four other Canadian soldiers received minor injuries in the blast, and were treated and released from hospital.
Brig.-Gen. Jonathan Vance described Pte. Lormand as a proud and heroic infantryman who “came here to do right by Afghanistan, to serve Canada’s objective to help bring peace, a chance for lasting security and a better environment to live and raise a family.”
In praising Pte. Lormand, however, Gen. Vance also seemed to take aim at the growing voices of opposition to the war back home.
“He did not come here as a potential victim. He came here to help, and help he did. He does not need to be told his efforts are futile, for he could see positive results in the communities he was protecting.” said Gen. Vance. “Neither he nor his family benefit from uninformed opinions about what his goals were and the techniques he used to achieve them. You need only look into those young clear eyes to know that he was a good soul, who tried every day to do the right thing and saw in the results of his efforts a chance to succeed on a wider scale on behalf of Canadians and Afghans alike.”
Canada’s role in Afghanistan was sharply criticized by Senator Colin Kenny in an op-ed article published in some Canwest newspapers on the weekend.
“What we hoped to accomplish in Afghanistan is proving to be impossible,” wrote Mr. Kenny, chair of the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. “We are hurtling toward a Vietnam ending.”
Pte. Lormand — known as “Lorm” to his buddies — was a member of the 2nd Battalion, Royal 22e Regiment Battle Group based in Valcartier, Que. He is survived by his parents Jacques and Sylvie.
The explosion occurred about 13 kilometres southwest of Kandahar City in the Panjwaii district where Canadian troops were on patrol.
“He took a fatal strike where an Afghan family might have,” said Gen. Vance. “He lived in the community, so he knew the families he was protecting, and they saw him as just that, a protector. Under that mantle of protection, stability emerges. He saw that happening as a result of his efforts and that of his mates. At the moment he died, Pte. Lormand was working to expand that protected area so that more stability covering more of the population could be realized, to protect and stabilize a population in peril. That’s what was behind those young eyes, now closed forever.”
Pte. Lormand’s death comes one week after two Canadian soldiers were killed when a powerful roadside blast hit armoured vehicle that was part of a Canadian convoy southwest of Kandahar.
Gen. Vance also said that Pte. Lormand’s lively sense of humour raised the morale of the troops in his platoon.
“For him, everything was funny. He knew how to turn everything into a joke.”
Pte. Lormand died “protecting people and establishing a more stable environment so that Afghans, NGOs and indeed our own civilians might offer the sustained support needed to re-establish the social, political and economic fabric of their communities.”
Added Gen. Vance: “His was a world where success is something won under the hardest of circumstances, where ideas are turned into action, and where the Canadian Forces seek to protect and stabilize.”