A vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (IED) took the life of a Canadian Forces member Saturday. Master Corporal Byron Greff was one of 17 killed in the suicide bomber attack which stuck an International security Assistance Force (ISAF) vehicle at approximately 11:30 a.m. Kandahar time.
Master Corporal Greff was a member of the 3rd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, based in Edmonton, and is said to have resided with his family in Morinville. Greff was serving as a mentor and trainer on Operation Attention, Canada’s contribution to the NATO training mission in Afghanistan. The Master Corporal’s role in that operation was to advise Afghanistan National Army trainers providing recruit training to Afghan soldiers.
Master Cpl. Greff is the first Canadian soldier killed since Canada ended its combat mission in Afghanistan this past July.
Expressions of sympathy have poured in from around the country and here at home.
Afghanistan veteran Doris Jolicoeur, a local realtor with Professional Realty Group, served with Greff in Edmonton. “I, for one can say that he was an extremely respecting individual who was always happy, pleasant and smiled all the time,” Jolicoeur said. “On a professional side, he was definitely one of our elite.”
Canada’s Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Peter MacKay, expressed his regrets at the death in an official statement Saturday.
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of Master Corporal Byron Garth Greff,” McKay said. “My heartfelt condolences and prayers go to his family, friends and comrades. The Defence family mourns with you during this difficult time.”
His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, issued the following release upon hearing of Master Corporal Greff’s death:
My wife, Sharon, and I join Canadians in mourning the loss of Master Corporal Byron Greff who was killed while serving in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Even though our mission has changed to a non-combat role aimed at advancing security, the rule of law and human rights, Canadian Forces members and Canadian civilians face risks every day in the effort to rebuild Afghanistan.
Master Corporal Byron Garth Greff was devoted to our new role of providing training and professional development to the Afghan National Security Forces, answering the call to service with great integrity and courage. This sacrifice will not be forgotten.
Canadians are united in sorrow at the death of one of ours. Our thoughts are with the family, loved ones and comrades-in-arms of Master-Corporal Greff, to whom we offer our deepest condolences.
– David Johnston
More than 900 Canadian Forces personnel are currently involved in the training mission in Afghanistan, working with some 4,500 other partners from 33 other nations.