Medal guidelines redone for Penticton soldier
TSpecial to The Herald he resilient people of Afghanistan have long used underground aqueducts known as a karez or qanat to move water long distances and provide nourishment for their crops and families. Like the arteries in our bodies, a karez protects the fluids needed for life there.
Seen from the air, they look like the result of a bombing run, a series of holes in the ground in a straight line. Up close, the deep holes link a stream up to 30 metres below the surface.
During the operations in Afghanistan, there were always rumours, and some evidence, of karezes being used to store weapons and ammunition or to move insurgents. There were however, practical limitations to using them for anything but water transportation due to their depth and the steepness of their walls as we discovered after June 7, 2008.
Capt. Jonathan Snyder, a 26-year-old member of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry from Penticton and a University of Victoria grad, was on his second tour of Afghanistan. He had already distinguished himself so well on his first tour in 2006 that I tried in vain to get him off his second tour, so he could join the special operations command.
He was later recognized for his bravery on that second tour with a Star of Military Valour, Canada's second-highest award for bravery, for his leadership of a team assigned to an Afghan company that was ambushed by Taliban insurgents.
The citation reads that Snyder seized control of the situation, and that he and four other Canadians, "with little chance of survival ... exposed themselves to great peril and retaliated against the enemy…. Because of their dedication, leadership and valour, many Afghan and Canadian lives were saved."
A few nights after that incident, humble and dedicated, he was back on patrol. Carrying the combined weight of his helmet, body armour, tac vest, magazines, weapon, radio and ammunition, he was patrolling across a contested area of grape fields dotted with karez shafts. Continued on Page C4
Wounded Canadians taking cover behind a pill-box during the Battle of Passchendaele in November, 1917. See more such colourized photos in today’s C section.
Capt. Jonathan Snyder