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Project Afghan Hero Post 2 - Sgt. Marc Léger

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Project Afghan Hero
Post 2 - Sgt. Marc Léger

Age: 29
Unit: 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry
Date of incident: April 18, 2002
Incident description: friendly fire incident

ur Canadian soldiers are killed and eight others wounded after an American F-16 fighter aircraft attacks their position with a 500-pound bomb, mistaking them for Taliban militants. The soldiers were taking part in a nighttime, live-fire training exercise 14 kilometres from Kandahar airbase. The U.S. pilot, Maj. Harry Schmidt, was later disciplined. He apologized for his mistake.

The following is taken from: http://www.fallenheroesproject.org/canada/marc-leger-2/

Sergeant Marc Leger died at the hands of an errant bomb unleashed by a ‘gung ho’ American National Guard pilot who thought he was under attack while patrolling in Afghanistan during the war there. It is not, however, Leger’s death in Afghanistan that puts him on the list. During an earlier time in Bosnia, Sergeant Marc Leger became known as ‘King Marco.’ During his time in Bosnia, Leger was exposed to the horrors of ‘ethnic cleansing.’ In the Livno Valley, Bosnia, ‘King Marco’ is hailed as a hero. While on his peacekeeping [a misnomer] tour of duty, Leger was charged with disarming potential insurgents and providing security for all ethnic groups. Additionally, he was given the responsibility of assisting returning Serb refugees as they settled back into their communities. Most of the farmhouses had been destroyed by a rampaging Croat army hell bent to ethnically cleanse the area of all Serbs. The Croats killed or drove off livestock, poisoned wells, destroyed Serb Orthodox churches and laid land mines. One Serb family that managed to survive by fleeing, returned to their homeland only to face a place of destruction. With their few possessions, the family of Miorad Kozomara began to rebuild their home; all that remained from before was their house with its partial roof but little else; no doors, no windows, no livestock, and no seed to plant a crop. One day, a jeep with some Canadian soldiers arrived and told the Kozomara family that they were there to help. Sergeant Marc Leger was their leader.

When he saw the desperate state that faced the Serb family, Canadian Leger “badgered the local United Nations High Commission of Refugees’ representative and any aid agency that drove through the area.” For six months, Leger hounded the UN representative and other officers for resources. [Canwest news service]

“He took leftover and thrown-away building supplies and distributed them while on patrol. He snuck food from the camp kitchen and spirited off the camp water truck when no one was looking.” [ibid.]

Leger managed to pry money from the Canadian International Development Agency to re-roof 28 local houses. One re-roofed house is emblazoned with the Canadian Maple Leaf and the CIDA logo. [ibid.]

Recently, when the Serbs in the Livno Valley learned of Sergeant Marc Leger’s death, they mourned. One said, “We never could have returned to this valley without the help of that big Canadian soldier.” [ibid.]

The Kozomara family learned of King Marc’s death through one of their sons who lives in Canada. The news of Sergeant Leger’s death shattered Mrs. Kozomara. “I got very nervous and started crying as if my son had died,” she said. [ibid.]

Sergeant Leger’s widow, Marley Leger, will take the proceeds of the ‘Sergeant Marc Leger Memorial Fund’ to local officials so that a gutted schoolhouse can be rebuilt as a community centre and medical clinic. A plaque will be attached to the building; the plaque dedicates the building to Sergeant Marc Leger’s memory. ‘King Marc’s’ memory lives on.

Of the aforementioned Canadian heroes, Sergeant Marc Leger is the one that stands out. His heroism truly qualifies as “a person who does great and brave deeds and is admired for them”

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