|Birth: ||Jan. 31, 1975|
British Columbia, Canada
|Death: ||Dec. 30, 2009|
Michelle Lang, a Canadian journalist, and four Canadian soldiers died from the blast of an improvised explosive device in the Dand district about four kilometres south of Kandahar city. Four other soldiers and another Canadian civilian official were injured in the incident.
They were travelling with a provincial reconstruction team when the attack occurred. PRTs are groups of civilians, government specialists and others who venture into the countryside with military escorts as they attempt to rebuild roads, dams, schools, hospitals and other elements of Afghanistan's battered physical, social, medical and political infrastructure.
Ms Lang, an experienced and award-winning health reporter with the Calgary Herald, was on secondment to Canwest News Service for her first assignment in Afghanistan. She arrived on December 11 and was due to return to Calgary after six weeks. While she had visited several bases, it was her first patrol "outside the wire" embedded with frontline troops. She told a colleague, "I'm not here to rewrite what the public affairs people tell me. It seems like the real stories are out in the field."
Aged 34, she was born in Vancouver. She graduated from Simon Fraser University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and worked at daily papers in Prince George, Moose Jaw and Regina. She received a National Newspaper Award in May 2009 for her coverage of health care and medicine.
Friends described her as bright with a sharp tongue and quick wit. "She came across as sweet and quiet, but could bring a room down with laughter with one observation She was a fabulous friend: kind, loyal, thoughtful. No number of adjectives can describe her talent, her charm, or the hole she leaves in the lives of those close to her." She was also an avid Ultimate Frisbee player, skier and hiker.
Ms Lang leaves behind her fiancÚ Michael Louie, her parents Art and Sandra, brother Cameron, family and many friends.
Repatriation ceremony was held at CFB Trenton on January 3, 2009, the first time a civilian was given this military honour. Funeral was held on January 11, 2010 at the Italian Cultural Centre in Vancouver.
The four soldiers killed were Sgt George Miok, Sgt Kirk Taylor, Cpl Zachery McCormack and Pte Garrett Chidley.
Canada has now lost 138 military personnel in Afghanistan since the mission started in 2002. Ms Lang is the fourth Canadian civilian, along with a diplomat and two aid workers, killed in the conflict.
Created by: Milou
Record added: Dec 30, 2009
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