KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – The latest Canadian casualty of the Afghan insurgency began his final journey home Monday following an evening ceremony at an airfield that has seen all too many such services.
Soldiers and civilians turned out on en masse as the casket of Cpl. Martin Dube was loaded onto a transport plane at the Kandahar Airfield.
“In his desire to make a difference, he gave his life suddenly, without warning,” Padre Bastien Leclerc told the crowd assembled on the tarmac.
“We will all miss his infectious smile, his determination, and his will to make this part of the world a better place to live.”
Dube, 35, was killed Sunday when one of two roadside bombs hidden in a culvert that he was trying to defuse exploded.
An Afghan police officer was also killed and an interpreter injured.
Dube, a combat engineer, is the 120th Canadian soldier to die on the Afghan mission, the second in a week.
Pte. Alexandre Peloquin, 20, who died after stepping on an explosive device, began his journey home from the same airfield last week.
Dube was a member of the 5e Regiment du genie de combat based at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier near Quebec City. He was serving as a member of the joint task force headquarters when he was killed.
His death occurred in the volatile Panjwaii district southwest of Kandahar city, where insurgents have stepped up their battle against the multinational forces trying to bring security and stability to Afghanistan.
Improvised explosive devices have become their weapon of choice, causing the majority of Canadian fatalities in Afghanistan.
Dube is survived by his parents Marie-Paule and Roger, brother Vincent and girlfriend Julie.
Those who knew him described him as someone who had a way of bringing laughter to those around him. He was praised as someone who believed in the Afghan mission, and as a skilled and professional soldier.
“He will be remembered as an energetic soldier with an infectious smile,” said Col. Mike Gilmore, the chief task force engineer.
“He was a pleasure to work with.”
In a posting on a military message board, one person who said he trained with Dube eight years ago called him “damn bright” with a “lot of talent.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Canadians are grateful for his sacrifice, while Gov.-Gen. Michaelle Jean praised his dedication to a dangerous assignment, saying it deserved “unconditional admiration.”
On hand for the ceremony was Brig.-Gen. Jonathan Vance and Ken Lewis, the Canadian government’s representative in Kandahar.