LAV III gets mon­u­ment in city where ve­hi­cles were built

The London Free Press - - LOCAL - NOR­MAN DE BONO ndebono@post­media.com twit­ter.com/Nor­matLFPress

It’s a ve­hi­cle for peace­keep­ing, serv­ing as a mo­bile home for thou­sands of sol­diers and sav­ing lives — and it’s made in Lon­don.

The LAV III light ar­moured ve­hi­cle that served in Afghanistan with Cana­dian troops, now has its own mon­u­ment, tak­ing its place on a cold, snowy morn­ing Fri­day out­side the Royal Cana­dian Reg­i­ment Mu­seum in Lon­don.

“We are glad it is here.

There is some­thing now rec­og­niz­ing vet­er­ans, not only our fallen but all who have served. We are happy,” said Sean

Wil­son, whose brother of Trooper Mark Wil­son was killed in 2006 at age 39 while serv­ing in Afghanistan, speak­ing at the mon­u­ment un­veil­ing cer­e­mony.

The LAV III Mon­u­ment Pro­gram is an im­por­tant re­minder of the con­flict in Afghanistan where 162 Cana­di­ans were killed, he added.

“My brother lived in this for months. It’s a great idea for a mon­u­ment,” said Wil­son, ges­tur­ing to the LAV III.

“We did a good job over there.”

The mon­u­ment is part of Canada Com­pany’s LAV III Mon­u­ment Pro­gram, which pro­vides de-mil­i­ta­rized replica light-ar­mored ve­hi­cles to com­mu­ni­ties across Canada in recog­ni­tion of 40,000 sol­diers who served in Cana­dian peace­keep­ing mis­sions.

Lon­don’s mon­u­ment is one of 33 ap­proved to be erected across the coun­try.

“It is im­por­tant we rec­og­nize the sac­ri­fice of Cana­di­ans, it is im­por­tant we have mon­u­ments where peo­ple can come, pay re­spects and re­mem­ber and learn from his­tory,” said Blake Goldring, founder and chair­per­son of Canada Com­pany, a sup­port agency for Cana­dian sol­diers and their fam­i­lies.

“It was very com­plex — there was co-op­er­a­tion, there was a sense of com­mu­nity,” that made the mon­u­ment event hap­pen, he added.

The LAV Ill was built by Gen­eral Dy­nam­ics Land Sys­tems Canada on Ox­ford Street. To turn the ve­hi­cles into mon­u­ments, tur­rets and hulls have been welded at Mili­tex Coat­ings in Lon­don by weld­ing stu­dents from Fan­shawe Col­lege.

“I am su­per proud,” said Peter De­vlin, col­lege pres­i­dent and for­mer com­man­der of the Cana­dian Army from 2010 to 2013.

“We had stu­dents at Mili­tex and I re­mem­ber speak­ing to a group of them and asked what they were do­ing. They proudly told me, ’We’re mak­ing na­tional mon­u­ments.’ They do won­der­ful work, they touched my heart with the pas­sion they brought to their task,” said De­vlin.

MIKE HENSEN/THE LON­DON FREE PRESS

Lon­doner Sean Wil­son, brother of Trooper Mark Wil­son who died in Afghanistan, speaks at the com­mem­o­ra­tion of the LAV III memo­rial at Wolse­ley Bar­racks on Fri­day.

Wil­son

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