War machine that served in Afghanistan retires to Wellington Legion

Eric McCarthy newsroom@journalpioneer.com
Published on December 5, 2016

Ret. Sgt. Dave Redmond stands with a decommissioned LAV III, Kodiac, recently installed as a monument outside the Wellington Legion as a monument to the Afghanistan War. Redmond helped bring the vehicle to P.E.I. and commanded a similar vehicle during his own time in Afghanistan

©Colin MacLean/TC Media

Even before it was lifted off a flatbed truck and mounted to a platform beside the Wellington Legion Friday morning, Dave Redmond had climbed up onto the Legion’s new military display.

Redmond was more familiar with the Canadian Army’s light armoured vehicle (LAV) than most of the other onlookers who had gathered for its long-awaited arrival. He had driven in one similar to it while serving in a reconnaissance squadron with the Royal Canadian Dragoons in Afghanistan in 2005. This one, too, a LAV III, had seen duty in Afghanistan.

The LAV Redmond commanded was equipped with surveillance equipment while the one now permanently parked beside the legion was an infantry carrier with rear door and ramp, both of which are now welded shut.
“I drove in these vehicles, I commanded these vehicles. I fired these vehicles, fired the main gun,” he said in describing his familiarity with the LAV.
Redmond retired from the Canadian Forces in 2010, and moved to Wellington where he is now First Vice-President of the Wellington Legion.

He admits he’s been looking forward to the arrival of the display.

“I was the first one to climb on it. It showed up all wrapped up,” he said.

LAV III.
Colin MacLean/TC Media

The LAV was delivered from Kinston, Ontario on a Harmony Transport flatbed truck. A 50-tonne crane from Fitzgerald and Snow then offloaded it onto a platform prepared by Egmont Bay Construction. Local welder, Melvin Arsenault  welded the machinery in place.
Legion manager Mike Gallant said Canadian Forces used the LAV during its involvement in the (2001-2014) Afghanistan War.

“It’s there to commemorate the men and women who fought in Afghanistan; to remember them. They were fighting for us, for our freedom, and there were 158 of them who never came back.

“They paid the ultimate price for us, again.”

He said the vehicle is beside the legion for good. It is the only piece of Canadian military equipment on display outside of the legion home.

It’s close to a year since the legion’s executive voted to apply for a display vehicle. Membership gave their approval, as well.

Gallant said preparations and shipping is costing the legion in excess of $30,000, but he indicated they are hoping to recover some of that cost, having applied for a Department of Veterans Affairs grant.

A ceremony to celebrate the permanent display will be held in the New Year and additional landscaping and lighting will be completed next summer.

Friday’s arrival created excitement not only for Redmond and fellow legion members, but for the whole community.

“People have been driving around the whole morning looking at it as we were trying to get it off the truck and onto the pad,” Redmond said.

eric.mccarthy@tc.tc

LAV III.

©Colin MacLean/TC Media