Petty Officer Second Class, a member of Canadian Forces (Navy) Fleet Diving Unit Atlantic, based at Shearwater, CFB Halifax, Nova Scotia. He had deployed as an explosive ordnance disposal operator with the Canadian contingent of NATO forces serving in Afghanistan.
PO Craig Blake was killed by an improvised explosive device as he returned to camp from a routine road-clearing operation about 25 kilometres southwest of Kandahar City in Panjwai district.
Aged 37, he was born in Simcoe, Ontario. He enlisted in the navy at age 18 and served in the Persian Gulf War and on numerous NATO exercises. After transitional training to defuse land-based IEDs, he deployed on his first mission to Afghanistan in April. He was described as incredibly fit, with a backbone of steel. His commander said, "A navy clearance diver, Craig was most comfortable working under water, yet he had effortlessly adapted to the rigours of land operations".
He was jokingly known as the "Poker Pirate" as he enjoyed pillaging his army friends during friendly card games. PO Blake was remembered as a devoted family man who loved coaching peewee hockey and sharing stories about his kids. He was also an avid cyclist and a competitive ironman triathlete.
PO Blake is survived by his wife Priscilla, sons Cain and Tie, mother Judy and stepfather Gerald Klages, father Brent Blake, brothers Adam, Aric and Chris, other family and many friends.
His awards and decorations include: Canadian Forces Decoration, UN Protection Force (Yugoslavia) (UNPROFOR), Canadian Peace Keeping Service Medal, (CPSM), General Campaign Star – SOUTH-WEST ASIA (GCS-SWA) and bar, Sacrifice Medal.
Military memorial service was held May 14, 2010 at 12 Wing Shearwater, CFB Halifax.
Canada has lost 143 service personnel since the Afghanistan mission began in 2002. One diplomat, a journalist and two aid workers have also died.