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Fallen Comrades Allied Forces


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Funeral held for Mi'kmaq soldier killed in Iraq
Updated Thu. Nov. 9 2006 10:59 PM ET

Canadian Press

FREDERICTON -- The mother of a Canadian killed while on military duty in Iraq hugged the folded U.S. flag she was handed Thursday after it was removed from her son's coffin.

Tucked inside the flag were three spent rifle shells from volleys fired in Michael Seeley's honour during his burial in a cemetery overlooking the Saint John River.

The shells stand for duty, honour and country.

"The last shell was for country and I thought to myself there probably should have been two because he had two countries,'' said Theresa Seeley.

"He is peaceful. He fought for what he believed in. He did what he wanted to do. I'm really proud of him. There's nothing else I can say.''

Seeley, 27, a member of the Mi'Kmaq First Nation, was killed in a bomb attack on Oct. 30 while on duty with the U.S. Army in Iraq.

He was one of more than a dozen Canadian aboriginals serving with U.S. forces in Iraq.

Seeley's funeral service honoured his aboriginal origins and his love of military service.

Since Canadian aboriginals are considered citizens of North America, there is a long-standing tradition of First Nations people crossing the border to join the U.S. military.

"Why do our people serve in the U.S. military? I think because we can,'' said G. Wayne Brooks from the St. Mary's First Nation in Fredericton.

"I think it represents a chance for adventure and travel.''

Brooks handed out tobacco, which was sprinkled on Seeley's casket as an offering to his ancestors in the spirit world.

Seeley was the second Canadian-born soldier to die in Iraq in October, one of the worst months for U.S. military losses since the conflict began in 2003. Marine Sgt. Jonathan J. Simpson, a dual Canadian and U.S. citizen, was killed in Iraq during combat operations on Oct. 14 and buried in Quebec, where he was born.

Seeley, a sergeant, was killed south of Baghdad when a bomb went off near his vehicle.

His mother said military investigators have arrested a woman in connection with the insurgent attack. She said she has been told the woman will stand trial. "You don't picture a woman doing something like this," Seeley said.

"My image of a woman is of a mother or a sister. How could this woman inflict such suffering on someone?"

Seeley, who graduated from Fredericton High School, served with Canadian reserve forces before crossing to the United States to join the U.S. Marine Corps.

Following his time with the Marines, which included service in Iraq and Korea, he signed up with the U.S. Army and headed back to Iraq for a second tour of duty.

He was killed just a couple of days before he was due to leave the war-torn country.<

Military officials from Canada and the United States attended the funeral.

Brig.-Gen. Nick Justice of the U.S. Army said Seeley's comrades described him as a good soldier who will be missed on the frontlines.

"Most of all, they remember him as a caring leader who always looked out for their welfare of others,'' Justice said.

"He was a great young man to have in our ranks.''

Col. Ryan Jestin, commanding officer at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, said Canadian officers attended Seeley's funeral because the forces are "bands of brothers'' who honour each other's losses.

But Jestin admitted it was difficult to attend the funeral, knowing that CFB Gagetown is about to send troops into action in Afghanistan.

"This is really close to home from the perspective that he is one of ours and we're about to send over 1,000 soldiers from CFB Gagetown into Afghanistan in the New Year,'' Jestin told reporters at the funeral.

"We can only pray we don't have to do this sort of thing very often in the New Year, but it does strike close to home.''

I knew him from High School. My thought's and prayers to his family and friends.



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Too often, in these politicized times, do we forget the sacrifices made by our First Nations people for this country.  RIP soldier, you followed your heart.


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CSM Donovan Watts, Sgt Major 1/505 82d Abn Division, was killed while on patrol in Iraq when his vehicle was hit by an IED.


key leader with the 82nd Airborne Division brigade in Iraq was killed last week, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Command Sgt. Maj. Donovan E. Watts, 46, died Nov. 21 in a land mine blast while on patrol near Bayji, about 150 miles north of Baghdad, according to a news release from the 82nd Airborne.

Watts was the top noncommissioned officer of one of four combat battalions in the brigade combat team. A command sergeant major's duties include overseeing the performance -- and looking out for the welfare -- of all the enlisted men in their unit, which was several hundred in Watts' case.

The job is so crucial that the 82nd is flying in a replacement, Sgt. Maj. King Parks, said Maj. Tom Earnhardt, a spokesman for the division. A senior noncommissioned officer in the unit is temporarily filling the command gap, he said.

Sergeants major are among the most experienced troops, and Watts was no exception. He was a 27-year veteran of the Army and had served as rifleman, machine gunner, team leader, squad leader, platoon sergeant, first sergeant, battalion operations sergeant major and battalion command sergeant major, Earnhardt said. He also was an instructor at the Basic Airborne School at Fort Benning, Ga.

He had been stationed in Panama, Korea, Louisiana and Georgia as well as three assignments at Bragg. He also was deployed for Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield.

Watts was remembered in the unit as its father figure and as a man who often spoke softly but commanded respect by his force of personality.

A dog enthusiast, he often divided the world between the "porch dogs" who sat and talked and the "yard dogs" who got things done.

His last commander was effusive.

"Command Sgt. Maj. Donovan Watts was the greatest paratrooper I have ever known," said Lt. Col. Scott Harris, commander, 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, in a prepared statement. "Not only was he my battalion command sergeant major, he was my friend and confidant. He was the standard bearer for the battalion, and set the example for everyone -- subordinate, peer and superior alike. He was kind, fair and treated everyone with dignity. His care for his men was unparalleled."

Once, at a social function, someone asked Watts whether he was married, Harris said.

"Yes, I'm married to the 82nd Airborne Division," came the reply.

"CSM Watts was a phenomenal man -- a father figure for the battalion. He loved being a paratrooper and, consequently, loved paratroopers," said Maj. Curtis Buzzard, second in command of the battalion. "He gave his heart and soul to this battalion, and it reflected his philosophy -- train hard, treat one another with dignity and respect, and set and enforce high standards. ...

"He will be sorely missed but not forgotten. He would want us to move on -- in his words, 'like a Doberman, ears up.' "

The awards and decorations for Watts, an Atlanta native, include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal with oak leaf cluster, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Army Achievement Medal with silver and bronze oak leaf cluster, Army Good Conduct Medal with two silver clasps, National Defense Service Medal with bronze star, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon with numeral 4 device, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia), Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait), Army Meritorious Unit Commendation, Army Superior Unit Award, Combat Infantryman Badge with second award, Expert Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Ranger Tab and Driver's Badge.

His survivors include his daughter, Charlee; and his sister, Bridget.

3rd Herd

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MoD names RAF men killed in Iraq
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 1:19pm BST 21/07/2021

The senior aircraftsmen (SAC) died in Basra last Thursday when the Contingency Operating Base, where they had been helping to provide information for aircraft, came under rocket attack.

They had been resting before going out on patrol. SAC Caulwell, 22, from Birmingham, and SAC McFerran, 24, from Connahs Quay in Flintshire, were servicemen with 1 Squadron RAF Regiment based in Suffolk.

SAC Dunsmore, 29, from Leicester, was a member of 504 Squadron Royal Auxillary Air Force, based in Rutland.

Sqn Ldr Jason Sutton, officer commanding No 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, said the deaths would be felt “very deeply”.

“The squadron has been a close knit family throughout its 85-year history, and our ethos of mutual trust and dependence is never more important than when we are engaged on challenging operations such as now in Iraq,” he said.

Having decided to remain with in the army for an extra year despite holding a managerial position with a paint firm, SAC Dunsmore had been looking forward to marrying his long-term girlfriend when he returned to Britain.

Sqn Ldr Jan Burton, commanding officer of the Squadron Royal Auxillary Air Force, described SAC Dunsmore as “a quiet, thoughtful individual” who had skilfully balanced the demands of his relationship and civilian job with his training obligation.

Sqn Ldr Sutton described SAC Caulwell as “a true professional, outgoing and gregarious”, and SAC McFerran as “utterly dependable” and “one of our finest”.

Major Mike Shearer, the UK military spokesman in Basra, said the attack had affected British troops on the ground but ultimately strengthened their resolve.

“We do not pretend for a second that when we lose any of our servicemen that it doesn’t affect us, because it does - we are all human,” he said.

Defence Secretary Des Browne said: “They were all exceptional and talented young men whose professionalism and selfless commitment will not be forgotten.”

The deaths of the three men bring the total number of UK armed forces deaths in Iraq to 162. Ends.

3rd Herd

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Lance Corporal Alex Hawkins, of the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment

3rd Herd

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A British soldier killed in a battle against Taliban fighters in Afghanistan has been named by the Ministry of Defence.

Guardsman David Atherton, 25, of the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, from Manchester was killed when his company came under fire after securing a bridge north east of Gereshk in Helmand province.

His Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Carew Hatherley, said: "Guardsman Atherton was a real character and a good friend to all who knew him.

"Whether he was conducting ceremonial duties in London in his tunic and bearskin, or fighting in combats, he was immensely proud to be a Grenadier. He was highly respected by all who served alongside him.

"During his time in Afghanistan he had been operating in the most austere conditions and the harshest of climates. He had risen to the difficult challenges he constantly faced, given selfless service to his nation and died doing what he loved alongside his Grenadier comrades.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, fiancé and daughter as they come to terms with his death."

He was the second British casualty in the southern province in as many days and the 66th since military operations began in Afghanistan in November 2001.

The soldier killed in an explosion in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday was named as Lance Corporal Alex Hawkins, 22, of 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment.



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RIP Sir Jeremy 


Rear-Admiral Sandy Woodward, the Naval Task Force Commander, recounts how he came ashore to Port Stanley directly after the Argentine surrender of the Falklands to confer with Major-General Moore, the Land Force Commander. There were disturbing numbers of not-yet-disarmed Argentine soldiers wandering about, leading Woodward to become concerned about safety. “Christ,” he thought, “what supreme irony to be done to death by this lot.” The general remained unperturbed. “Sandy, old chap”, he said, “don’t even think about it. When an army surrenders, they are completely demoralised, right down to the last man.” “Some don’t look it,” remarked Woodward. “Perhaps not,” replied Moore, “but they always are.”

Woodward recalled how at that moment he realised how much of a thorough going, professional military officer this man was, a man who had led his troops with bravery, care and skill to victory on the ground against all the odds. “He had not asked of anyone more than he was prepared to give himself. I don’t know how much he frightened the Argentinians, but he certainly did a good deal more than just impress me”.


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Major Andrew Olmsted, a well-known military blogger, was killed on January 3, 2008, in Iraq.  He left behind a posthumous blog posting on his site.


"I am leaving this message for you because it appears I must leave sooner than I intended. I would have preferred to say this in person, but since I cannot, let me say it here."
G'Kar, Babylon 5

"Only the dead have seen the end of war."

This is an entry I would have preferred not to have published, but there are limits to what we can control in life, and apparently I have passed one of those limits. And so, like G'Kar, I must say here what I would much prefer to say in person. I want to thank hilzoy for putting it up for me. It's not easy asking anyone to do something for you in the event of your death, and it is a testament to her quality that she didn't hesitate to accept the charge. As with many bloggers, I have a disgustingly large ego, and so I just couldn't bear the thought of not being able to have the last word if the need arose. Perhaps I take that further than most, I don't know. I hope so. It's frightening to think there are many people as neurotic as I am in the world. In any case, since I won't get another chance to say what I think, I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity. Such as it is.


"This is true love. You think this happens every day?"
Westley, The Princess Bride

"Good night, my love, the brightest star in my sky."
John Sheridan, Babylon 5

This is the hardest part. While I certainly have no desire to die, at this point I no longer have any worries. That is not true of the woman who made my life something to enjoy rather than something merely to survive. She put up with all of my faults, and they are myriad, she endured separations again and again...I cannot imagine being more fortunate in love than I have been with Amanda. Now she has to go on without me, and while a cynic might observe she's better off, I know that this is a terrible burden I have placed on her, and I would give almost anything if she would not have to bear it. It seems that is not an option. I cannot imagine anything more painful than that, and if there is an afterlife, this is a pain I'll bear forever.

I wasn't the greatest husband. I could have done so much more, a realization that, as it so often does, comes too late to matter. But I cherished every day I was married to Amanda. When everything else in my life seemed dark, she was always there to light the darkness. It is difficult to imagine my life being worth living without her having been in it. I hope and pray that she goes on without me and enjoys her life as much as she deserves. I can think of no one more deserving of happiness than her.

"I will see you again, in the place where no shadows fall."
Ambassador Delenn, Babylon 5

I don't know if there is an afterlife; I tend to doubt it, to be perfectly honest. But if there is any way possible, Amanda, then I will live up to Delenn's words, somehow, some way. I love you.

Dog Walker

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Sunday, January 13, 2021
2 Dutch soldiers killed, 1 wounded in fighting in Afghanistan (9:18 p.m.)


AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) - Two Dutch soldiers were killed and
one was wounded in separate incidents in Afghanistan, the
Netherlands' Defense Ministry said early Sunday.

The ministry identified the men who died as Pvt. Wesley Schol,
20, and Cpl. Aldert Poortema, 22. They were killed during a
gunbattle with "opposing militant forces" on Saturday night.

Around 1,650 Dutch are serving in the southern Afghan province of
Uruzgan as part of the NATO mission there. Since their mission began
last year, 14 Dutch troops have died.

The fight took place around 5 kilometers (3 miles) northwest of
Camp Hadrian, near Deh Rawod, said Gen. Dick Berlijn, the commander
of Dutch forces in Afghanistan, in a statement.

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende praised the soldiers' courage
and offered condolences to their families.

"The mission in Afghanistan is dangerous and difficult," he
said in a statement. "Cpl. Poortema and private Schol worked side
by side with their colleagues for a better future and new hope for
the people there."

The injured man suffered wounds to both legs in a separate fight
at around the same time, but is expected to survive, the ministry

Two Afghan soldiers were killed later the same evening in more
fighting, the ministry said.

The region where the fighting took place has been restive for
several months with numerous small groups of Taliban fighters known
to be hiding there.

The soldiers who were killed were part of an operation in which
several hundred Dutch and Afghan soldiers are attempting to gauge
prospects for refugees currently sheltering in the Deh Rawod bazaar
to return home, Berlijn said.

Dutch forces had seized weapons from several homes in raids
Saturday, he said.

"In the evening hours, a sizable fire-fight broke out. The
circumstances around this fire-fight are not completely clear. It is
clear that there was a lengthy fight, in which numerous units were
involved," he said.

In November, Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende announced the
Dutch would extend their mission in Afghanistan for two years after
it was due to expire in August 2008, reducing troop levels by
200-300 soldiers. (AP)


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According to the Dutch ministry of defence it's likely they were killed by friendly fire. Sad news.  :mad:



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The remains of SSG Maupin  who had been MIA were identified and the family as notified, their long wait is over and they finally get closure. RIP.



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A Seattle-based American soldier was killed Monday morning during a training exercise at Canadian Forces Base Wainwright, Canadian army officials say.

The 25-year-old man was an army reservist who can not be identified at this time. Assigned to Alpha Co. 1st Battallion 159th Aviation Regiment, the man was taking part in a joint training exercise called Maple Guardian. He was not scheduled to serve overseas, Atlanta-based Maj. Hillary Luton said.

It's bad enough to lose troops during War, it's harder losing them training for it.



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Retired Colonel John Ripley USMC.


John W. Ripley
Marine colonel, member of Ranger Hall of Fame, was known for the destruction of a bridge during the Vietnam War
By Nick Madigan
November 3, 2021
John W. Ripley, a retired Marine Corps colonel and a renowned hero of the Vietnam War, was found dead at his home in Annapolis over the weekend, family members said. A cause of death for Ripley, who had undergone two liver transplants, had not been determined yesterday. He was 69.

A Virginia native, Colonel Ripley was best known for a daring feat during the Easter Offensive of 1972, when he dangled for three hours under a bridge near the South Vietnamese city of Dong Ha to attach 500 pounds of explosives to the span, ultimately destroying it. His action, under fire while going back and forth for materials, is thought to have thwarted an onslaught by 20,000 enemy troops and was the subject of a book, The Bridge at Dong Ha, by John Grider Miller.

Last week, after he failed to appear for a scheduled appearance at a Marine Corps event in New York, worried associates contacted one of his sons, Stephen B. Ripley, who went to his father's house Friday to check on him. The younger Ripley concluded that his father - who lived alone near the gates of the Naval Academy, from which he graduated in 1962 - had died in his sleep Tuesday night.

"His health was good for someone who'd had two liver transplants," said Mr. Ripley, who also honored a family tradition by serving in the Marines and retired as a captain.

When asked to describe a single quality that defined his father, Mr. Ripley said, "Tenacity."

"He was tenacious in his love for his country, his family and the Marine Corps," said Mr. Ripley, who also lives in Annapolis. "He never did anything halfway."

Earlier this year, Colonel Ripley was inducted into the U.S. Ranger Hall of Fame at Fort Benning, Ga., an honor that he added to his many decorations. They included the Navy Cross, the second-highest combat award a Marine can receive; the Silver Star; two awards of the Legion of Merit; two Bronze Stars; and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal. His tale is required reading for every Naval Academy plebe. In Afghanistan, a forward operating base was named for him.

"I admired John not only because of his obvious war heroism, but because of how he conducted himself after the war," said Thomas L. Wilkerson, a retired major general in the Marines and chief executive of the U.S. Naval Institute. "John was the standard to which we all aspire. There wasn't any baggage around John about how things should go. He walked his own talk."

Another Marine Corps colleague, Ray Madonna, who served with Colonel Ripley in Vietnam and retired as a lieutenant colonel, said he had known him for almost 50 years and had seen him Oct. 25 at the Navy football game against Southern Methodist University in Annapolis.

"He was with a couple of his grandchildren," Mr. Madonna said yesterday. "He looked fine. He was walking a couple of miles a day, building himself back after the surgeries. So it was a total shock."

In July 2002, after unsuccessful transplant surgery, Colonel Ripley's life was saved by a second operation at Georgetown University Medical Center, in which he received a liver from a 16-year-old gunshot victim in Philadelphia. The surgery became possible only after a high-speed military mission transported the organ to Georgetown in a Marine Corps helicopter from the president's fleet.

Colonel Ripley's liver had been damaged by a rare genetic disease as well as by a case of hepatitis B that he believes he contracted in Vietnam.

Describing the Dong Ha incident in a June 2008 interview with Marine Corps Times, Colonel Ripley said he "had to swing like a trapeze artist in a circus."

"I used my teeth to crimp the detonator and thus pinch it into place on the fuse." He said. "I crimped it with my teeth while the detonator was halfway down my throat."

Yesterday, on the Web site of World Defense Review, Maj. W. Thomas Smith Jr., a former Marine infantry squad leader who has researched Colonel Ripley's life, wrote that after Colonel Ripley had set the charges and moved back to the friendly side of the river, the fuses detonated and Colonel Ripley "was literally blown through the air by the massive shock wave" he had engineered.

"The next thing he remembered, he was lying on his back as huge pieces of the bridge were hurtling and cartwheeling across the sky above him," Major Smith wrote.

Major Smith quoted an interview that Colonel Ripley gave for Americans at War, published by the Naval Institute, in which he said: "The idea that I would be able to even finish the job before the enemy got me was ludicrous. When you know you're not gonna make it, a wonderful thing happens: You stop being cluttered by the feeling that you're going to save your butt."

Colonel Ripley was shot in the side by a North Vietnamese soldier and during two tours of duty was pierced with so much shrapnel that doctors found metal fragments in his body as recently as 2001. After Vietnam, Colonel Ripley continued to serve, losing most of the pigment in his face from severe sunburns while stationed above the Arctic Circle.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete yesterday.

In addition to his son, Colonel Ripley is survived by his wife, Moline; three other children, Mary D. Ripley, Thomas H. Ripley and John M. Ripley; a sister, Susan Goodykoontz; and eight grandchildren.


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Department of Defence Media Mail List

MSPA 406/08 Thursday, 18 December 2020


The Australian Defence Force can confirm that United Kingdom officials have advised Defence

that a UK soldier, who holds dual Australian and British nationality, was killed in

Afghanistan on Wednesday, 17 December 2008.

The soldier is not a member of the ADF and was a serving member of the British Army at the

time of this death.

Defence has been advised that the soldier's next of kin have been informed.  The UK Ministry

of Defence advises that the family has requested a 24-hour period of grace before further

details are released.

The ADF extends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of this soldier during

this difficult time.

Further inquiries regarding this incident should be directed to the UK Ministry of Defence.

Issued by Ministerial Support and Public Affairs, Department of Defence, Canberra, ACT


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SPC. Jonathon Keller, Co. B. 69th Infantry Regiment (NYARNG)

Died of Wounds 24 January, 2009 at Ft. Braggs Womack Army Hospital

He was wounded by small arms fire on April 25th, 2008 in Kunar Province Afghanistan while on a Joint Patrol with Afghan Border Police Forces.

Hit by a 7.62x54R round in the right forearm, which traveled up and came out his shoulder blade, it shattered most of his arm.

The unit returned from Afghanistan 2 weeks ago. His Squad, as can be imagined is taking this hard. He had served  as a Sailor in the US Navy prior to enlisting as an Infantryman in 2005.

He's seated center next to the shamrock on the HMMWV trunk.



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Sgt. Merlin German USMC

'Miracle' Marine loses final battle
Terribly burned in Iraq blast, sergeant defied odds; 'he was unstoppable'

The young Marine came back from the war, with his toughest fight ahead of him.

Merlin German waged that battle in the quiet of a Texas hospital, far from the dusty road in Iraq where a bomb exploded, leaving him with burns over 97 percent of his body.

No one expected him to survive.

But for more than three years, he would not surrender. He endured more than 100 surgeries and procedures. He learned to live with pain, to stare at a stranger's face in the mirror. He learned to smile again, to joke, to make others laugh.

He became known as the "Miracle Man."

More at LINK

RIP Sgt German 


HOPE MILLS, N.C. - A decorated Green Beret who returned from his fifth deployment to Afghanistan last summer died Tuesday trying to rescue his two young daughters from their burning home near Fort Bragg. The girls were also killed in the blaze.


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Seemed like the right place for this, move as appropriate.

Soldiers of the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment perform a haka in front of the hearse of 3 of their fallen comrades. If you're not a rugby fan, you may not know that a war haka is a dance that was originally performed by warriors before a battle, proclaiming their strength and prowess in order to intimidate the opposition. Glad these guys are on our team. Rest easy Cpl Tamatea, LCpl Baker, and Pte Harris.

Video at link:

Soldiers' farewell haka footage goes viral

A video of the passionate haka performed by the comrades of three fallen New Zealand soldiers has gone viral, with tens of thousands of people around the world watching the clip.

The 2nd and 1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment performed the moving tribute for Corporal Luke Tamatea, 31, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, 26, and Private Richard Harris, 21, at their funeral service at the Burnham Military Camp in Christchurch on Saturday.

The trio were killed instantly when a roadside bomb destroyed their Humvee in Afghanistan's northeast Bamiyan Province on August 18.

A video of the haka put on Youtube by the New Zealand Defence Force has gone viral, with more than 122,000 views.

The emotional tribute was given publicity by CNN host Piers Morgan, who shared the clip with his 2.6 million followers.

"Astounding, and deeply moving, Haka tribute to fallen comrades in Afghanistan by @NZDefenceForce," the Briton wrote.

Army spokesman Major John Gordon told the Herald last week the haka represented their "outpouring of emotion".

"Our military is a small organisation and people tend to all know each other," he said.

"Many soldiers don't tend to show their emotions. But today, you saw their collective grief. Their personal grieving will come later."

By Paul Harper