KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – A Canadian combat engineer, described as a great guy to be around, was killed in southern Afghanistan on Sunday when one of two roadside bombs he was trying to defuse exploded.
Cpl. Martin Dube, 35, was the second Canadian soldier to die in Afghanistan in a week.
The blast also killed an Afghan police officer and badly wounded an interpreter.
In making the grim announcement at Kandahar Airfield, Brig.-Gen. Jonathan Vance said the “energetic” Dube was someone who believed in the Afghan mission and was eager to make a difference.
“The IED that Martin was dismantling could have killed an entire family, as it was deliberately aimed at passing traffic,” said Vance, the senior commander in Kandahar.
“His actions, his sacrifice, saved the lives of innocents.”
Vance praised Dube, who was from the 5e Regiment du Genie de Combat based at CFB Valcartier near Quebec City, as a professional who was always willing to help anyone in need – one of the main reasons he deployed to Afghanistan.
The incident occurred shortly after noon in the Panjwaii district, about 20 kilometres southwest of Kandahar city.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement offering “deepest sympathies to the families and friends of Cpl. Dube.”
“We are eternally grateful for his sacrifice for this country, while helping to ensure a brighter future for the Afghan people. We are all saddened by this loss,” Harper said.
“The bravery and dedication of the exceptional men and women of the Canadian Forces is demonstrated on a daily basis. Their tireless work to make Afghanistan a better place to live are testaments to Canada’s most respected and revered values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”
Last Monday, Pte. Alexandre Peloquin was killed in the same district when he stepped on an explosive device.
Dube’s death brings to 120 the total number of Canadian soldiers who have died during the Afghan mission since it began in 2002.
Nevertheless, Vance was adamant that grief over the deaths would not get in the way of the mission.
“The loss of a soldier is not an indication of failure, nor cause for hopelessness – Martin Dube knew that, and so should you,” Vance said.
“We are determined to succeed so that Afghan lives improve; but our enemies are equally determined to challenge and prevent Afghanistan from flourishing as the nation it so wants to be.”
Dube is survived by his mother Marie-Paule, his father Roger, brother Vincent and girlfriend, Julie.
Vance said Dube never let himself get down when things got rough.
The soldier was a skilled perfectionist who took the time to better himself not only as a human being, but also as a soldier, Vance said.
“His work has saved the lives of his peers, of Afghan national security forces and Afghan civilians,” Vance said
“For that, he should be remembered and celebrated.”
Vance also described Dube as someone who enjoyed life, was good at making others laugh, and was “one of the best guys to be around.”
The injured Afghan interpreter was flown to the Kandahar Airfield hospital. His condition was not immediately known.