Matthew Fisher of Canwest News Service sends home the sad news of another soldier killed by a homemade land mine in Afghanistan on May 24, 2010. Trooper Larry Rudd, 26, from Brantford Ontario, was killed when the vehicle he was in struck an improvised explosive device while on a combat resupply patrol that was bringing food and water to troops from Canada’s battle group at a remote outpost in the difficult Panjwaii District, about 20 kilometres southwest of Kandahar City.
British Maj.-Gen. Nick Carter, five other generals and about 1,000 Canadian, American and British soldiers saluted their farewells shortly after dawn at a ramp ceremony Wednesday morning local time. Canadians prepare another tribute on their Highway of Heroes for his arrival at Canadian Forces Trenton Air Base late Thursday afternoon.
This is another loss of a young soldier with a promising future. His commanding officer, Maj. Christian Lillington, praised Rudd for his sense of humor and generosity to his fellow soldiers. “He was a huge man but as big as he was, he was probably the gentlest of the group. Larry John is very special to me.”
Lillington also noted, “He had more talent than many soldiers I have seen,” and predicted if his life had not been cut short, “he would have been a very senior soldier in the Queen’s army.”
Rudd served in “A” Squadron of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, Canada’s senior armored regiment, recently deployed to Afghanistan from Pettawa, Ontario, in the upper Ottawa Valley, to provide reconnaisance for Task Force Kandahar.
More than two-thirds of Canada’s fatalities in Afghanistan have been caused by IEDs that have either struck soldiers on foot patrols or, as in Rudd’s case, while mounted in an armored vehicle. “There is no perfect solution to defend against IEDs,” Lillington admitted.
Canada now has nearly 3,000 troops serving in Afghanistan and South Asia. In eight years of combat in Afghanistan, 146 Canadians have died, including a journalist and a diplomat. In 2009, 520 NATO troops died in Afghanistan, up from 295 in 2008, mostly as a result of the Taliban laying far more IEDs. Already this year, 217 coalition troops have been killed.