Afghanistan Light Armoured Vehicle III monument program nearing completion

Article / November 2, 2018 / Project number: 18-0402

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By Steven Fouchard, Army Public Affairs

Toronto, Ontario — An ambitious program to create monuments to those who served in Canada’s Afghanistan mission is winding down and will soon be complete.

Twenty-three monuments, which incorporate decommissioned Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV) III components, are in place in locations across the country from Vancouver to Prince Edward Island. Canada Company, which is driving the project, will have installed 33 in total by the fall of 2019.

The most recent unveilings took place in Ontario on September 16, 2018 in Smiths Falls and Lancaster, where the monuments are on display on the grounds of the local Royal Canadian Legion branches.

Another is scheduled for November 9, 2018 in London, Ontario at Wolseley Barracks, home to several Canadian Army (CA) Reserve units.

Canada Company is a charitable organization, founded in 2006 by CA Honorary Colonel (Retired) Blake Goldring. It supports military members, Veterans and their families with a variety of programs and initiatives such as scholarships.

The LAV III was used extensively during the Afghanistan mission. In 2011, the CA announced a project to upgrade its fleet and the surplus hulls and weapons turrets are being used by the monuments program.

“The LAV III is a powerful and enduring symbol of the Afghanistan mission,” said HCol (Retd) Goldring. “Veterans of that war are with us still, and we believe that these monuments will keep their service at the forefront of Canadian consciousness.”

The monuments are built by Militex Coatings – a London, Ontario-based company that applies protective coatings to military vehicles – along with welding students from Fanshawe College in Ontario.

Lieutenant-General (Retired) Peter Devlin, Fanshawe’s president and former Commander of the Canadian Army, applauded the initiative, which he said is a positive for the students involved and for Afghanistan Veterans.

“I am pleased that our students and our Veterans have an opportunity to participate in this program to recognize the service of our fellow Canadians in Afghanistan. Fanshawe is proud to be the first college to work on the LAV III Monuments.”

The monument program invited communities interested in obtaining a LAV III to submit proposals, which were reviewed by a steering committee. Communities selected to be part of the program were responsible for raising funds to cover the $27,500 cost of construction and installation for each monument. The application process is now closed.

The first monument was installed in Oromocto, New Brunswick at the town’s cenotaph in 2016 and costs were covered by the federal government and General Dynamics Land Systems Canada, the lead contractor for the LAV III upgrade.

Oromocto is also home to 5th Canadian Division Support Base (5 CDSB) Gagetown, which is the largest military facility in eastern Canada and the second largest in Canada.

The CA threw its support behind the project to recognize the 40,000 Canadian Armed Forces members who served in Afghanistan as part of an international coalition. Of those, 158 lost their lives. Seven civilians who provided diplomatic and intelligence support also lost their lives during the war.

Major-General (Retired) David Fraser, who led NATO forces in southern Afghanistan in 2006, chaired the Canada Company selection committee.

He was on hand for the 2016 unveiling of two monuments – in Quinte West and Durham Region, Ontario – each overlooking the portion of Highway 401 known as the Highway of Heroes. During the Afghanistan mission, it became tradition for Canadians to line the highway to salute motorcades carrying fallen Canadians from CFB Trenton, Ontario to Toronto for repatriation.

“Having the LAV III monuments installed along the route last traveled by our Fallen from Afghanistan is a fitting tribute for their ultimate sacrifice,” said MGen (Retd) Fraser. “They will serve, forevermore, to echo the sentiments of sorrow and appreciation felt by the citizens who lined this route and its bridges during repatriation ceremonies for more than a decade.”

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