Sapper Sean Greenfield

10 March 1983 - 31 January 2009

7 November 2010

The first tree in the CFB Petawawa Memorial Forest honours Spr Greenfield (in a new window)

This is a link to the CFB Petawawa Memorial Forest web page(in a new window)

Dozens gather at CFB Trenton for repatriation of Sapper Sean Greenfield

By: Stephen Petrick, The Canadian Press, 3 Feb 09

CFB TRENTON, Ont. - About 100 mourners braved frigid temperatures Tuesday to attend the repatriation ceremony for Sapper Sean Greenfield, the 108th Canadian soldier to die during the Afghanistan mission.

The 25-year-old was killed Saturday when his armoured vehicle struck a roadside bomb in the volatile Zhari district, west of Kandahar city. He is the second Canadian soldier to die in Afghanistan this year.

Dozens of mourners, many waving Canadian flags, peered through the fence surrounding this eastern Ontario military base to catch a glimpse of the casket carrying Greenfield's remains.

Jennifer Reid-Hudson, who travelled from Ottawa to pay her respects, said she fought back tears as the casket was removed from the plane and carried to a waiting hearse.

She said her son, Cpl. Gregory Hudson, was in the same vehicle as Greenfield when it was hit.

"This hits pretty close to home," she said.

Reid-Hudson recalled meeting Greenfield and some of his colleagues at a Remembrance Day ceremony last year.

"They are a very tight group of guys," she said. "They seemed like family."

Despite the death, Reid-Hudson said her son remains committed to the Afghanistan mission.

"He really believes in what he's doing and the difference he's making," she said.

Christina Steeles and her husband Rob made the trip from nearby Frankford, Ont., as they have done for numerous other repatriation ceremonies.

"It doesn't matter if it's sweltering outside or freezing cold - we come out and pay our respects," she said. "But it is getting harder as the body count goes up."

Others, such as Leonard and Darlene Koendrman of Newcastle, Ont., were attending their first repatriation ceremony in Trenton, but other times the couple has gathered at a Highway 401 overpass near their home - along the so-called Highway of Heroes - where supporters pay tribute to soldiers as the hearse passes beneath.

"We appreciate what our soldiers do for us," said Darlene Koendrman.

Said her husband: "We think it's important as Canadians to come out."

Military supporters who regularly attend repatriation ceremonies marvelled at Tuesday's turnout considering the cold weather.

As the hearse and a convoy of limousines carrying Greenfield's family left the tarmac, a crowd of more than 100 lined up to salute.

Paul Cane, the national president of the Canadian Army Veterans Motorcycle Units, which regularly has members attend repatriations, said he was pleased with the turnout.

"It has to be the same support for soldiers one, two, three and four as, God forbid, 200, 300 and 400," he said. "It's a duty. It never gets easier, but everyone has to show the same support."

Greenfield was a member of 2 Combat Engineer Regiment, serving with the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group.

Colleagues say Greenfield, who was based in Petawawa, Ont., had a natural charisma who drew a crowd whenever he brought out his guitar and sang.

Soldier paid last visit with family here

Greenfield born in Manitoba

By: Kevin Rollason, Winnipeg Free Press, 3 February 2009

Family meant a lot to Sean Greenfield, so he wanted to see his grandparents and other relatives one last time before leaving to serve with the Canadian military in Afghanistan.

Little did Greenfield and his many relatives and friends in Manitoba know, but it would be his last visit to his birth province.

Greenfield, 25, died Saturday when the armoured vehicle he was in struck a roadside bomb in Kandahar province. He's the 108th Canadian solder killed in Afghanistan.

Now, Greenfield's relatives in Manitoba are on their way to the Canadian Forces base in Trenton, Ont., for today's repatriation ceremony.

"It was a great shock to hear," said Harry Greenfield, Sean's grandfather. "He was one of the nicest people you could ever meet. We're very proud of the lad."

Sean was born in Pinawa and went to F.W. Gilbert Elementary School until the family moved east.

"He played hockey when he was a boy there," the grandfather said.

Sean's father, Keith, worked with Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., in Pinawa, and then transferred to AECL's Chalk River Laboratories where they lived in Petawawa.

"We went there a couple of times after they moved -- we spent last Christmas there and when his sister was married," Harry Greenfield said.

He and his wife, Edna, will always treasure seeing their grandson last summer.

"He came out this past summer for almost a week before he left for Afghanistan," Harry Greenfield said.

"He came out to see us -- he knew he was going overseas. He stayed with us. He also saw his other grandfather, who also lives in Winnipeg, and his cousins and friends.

"He always wanted to come back here and renew acquaintances."

Sean Greenfield went to Fanshawe College in London after graduating from high school and became a graphic designer. Then, Greenfield signed up for the military.

Harry Greenfield said he didn't know why his grandson joined the military, but it probably had something to do with moving to Petawawa and going to school with the sons and daughters of military personnel stationed there.

He said his grandson was a sapper, a type of combat engineer. Military officials in Afghanistan told reporters Greenfield had recently completed a combat diver's course and he hoped someday to join Canada's elite JTF2 special forces team.

"He was happy in the forces and he loved the life," Harry Greenfield said.

CFB Petawawa mourns the loss of another soldier

Posted By Sean Chase, Pembroke Daily Observer, 3 Feb 09

Sapper Sean Greenfield was being remembered Monday by his former teachers at General Panet High School as a good-natured kid and a popular student.

The 25-year-old combat engineer was killed Saturday when the armoured vehicle he was driving struck a roadside bomb 40 kilometres west of Kandahar City.

The Petawawa native was a member of 24 Field Squadron, 2 Combat Engineer Regiment and had deployed to southern Afghanistan with the 3rd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group.

As second semester classes began at the high school, those on the faculty who taught Sapper Greenfield were shocked and saddened by the tragic news from Afghanistan.

"He was every mother's son," said teacher Sue Chisholm, who first taught him in 1993. "He was very good natured and never got into trouble."

Born in Manitoba, Sapper Greenfield grew up in the community of Pinawa where his father, Keith, worked as an engineer with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. When the Whiteshell research laboratory closed, the family moved to Petawawa.

His family still lives in town. Sapper Greenfield attended elementary school at General Lake Public School before moving to General Panet with his two sisters, Ainsley and Melanie. His sister, Ainsley, is married to a Petawawa soldier who is currently deployed in Kandahar.

A lively student who played the guitar and was very athletic, Sapper Greenfield was fondly remembered by former Panet teacher Bryon Morris as a happy-go-lucky character who was extremely popular with his classmates.

"He was truly a good person and he always had a smile on his face," said Mr. Morris, who taught him in Grade 10. "He was an all-round nice guy and was never a troublemaker."

The family was well-known in the school, said former teacher Marnie Forrest, who recalled seeing Sapper Greenfield diligently working every day at his studies in the school library. However, she added he could also be a practical joker but his pranks were always in good taste.

"I really liked him. He was a good kid. He was fun and had a devilish streak in him," said Ms. Forrest. "He was not a mean kid, really harmless."

Sapper Greenfield graduated from Panet in 2001. In the high school's yearbook, he was voted the student with the nicest smile. Underneath his graduation photo, he listed becoming "an investor, retiring, becoming a politician and the prime minister of Canada" as his future goals. His favourite saying was: "Chalk it up for experience."

He later attended Fanshawe College in London, Ontario before joining the military three years ago.

2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group commander Col. Dean Milner called Sapper Greenfield a big loss for his regiment and for the brigade. He remarked that the soldier was a very optimistic, outgoing person who was popular with his comrades and was well-known in the community.

"It's always tough, it's always tragic. It's a big hit on the community," said Col. Milner, "But our resolve is there and it only makes us stronger."

A physically fit and dedicated soldier, Sapper Greenfield had recently completed his combat divers course and aspired to join the elite Joint Task Force-2 (JTF-2). He was killed at the close of a joint operation with American forces and British marines.

The four-day mission was to target Taliban compounds and locate bomb-making factories in the volatile Panjawi and Zhari districts. Despite the tragic circumstances, Col. Milner said NATO forces are achieving success against the insurgency.

"We're disrupting what the Taliban are doing over there," he said. "We are finding a lot of the bombs and equipment they are using against us."

A ramp ceremony for Sapper Greenfield was held Sunday at Kandahar Airfield. More than 2,000 soldiers from the NATO led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) formed up on the tarmac as eight pallbearers carried the body of the soldier onto a military transport aircraft.

Sapper Greenfield was remembered by his superiors as a charismatic and upbeat person who would play his guitar in the mess hall to entertain his fellow comrades.

"Once he started playing guitar, he would draw a crowd in," Lt.-Col. Roger Barrett, commanding officer of the 3RCR Battle Group, told reporters at Kandahar Airfield. "He was a very popular young man and a very personable young man."

A repatriation ceremony for Sapper Greenfield will be held at CFB Trenton today at 2 p. m. Lt.-Col. Mark Misener, the commanding officer of 2 Combat Engineer Regiment, will be attending the ceremony with the unit's regimental sergeant-major, Chief Warrant Officer John Pynn.

Soldier would 'always be laughing'

Globe and Mail, February 2, 2009 at 12:21 AM EST

From rural Manitoba to the Ottawa Valley to the tropical beaches of Bali, Sapper Sean Greenfield had a way of making a lasting good impression on everyone who crossed his path.

He was athletically gifted, trained as a military engineer and combat diver, and nursed dreams of joining Canada's special forces and becoming a member of the secretive Joint Task Force 2 commandos.

Sapper Greenfield, 25, died on Saturday morning, the 108th Canadian military casualty in Afghanistan, after a makeshift mine struck his armoured vehicle near the Zhari district, 40 kilometres west of Kandahar City.

In a reflection of his congenial personality, Sapper Greenfield's death is being mourned by relatives in Manitoba and Ontario, a wide array of former schoolmates, by military colleagues who trained with him as a combat engineer and even by people in Finland and Australia he had befriended while travelling.

 “He was one of the people I looked up to most when I was younger, since I didn't have an older brother. It's cliché to say how good a person someone was after they pass, but Sean's case is no cliché. He didn't have a bad bone in his body,” a cousin, Chad, wrote in an e-mail to The Globe and Mail.

“He didn't deserve this.”

Sapper Greenfield grew up playing hockey and soccer in the Manitoba community of Pinawa, on the Winnipeg River.

In addition to sports, he had a gift for music and many recollections from friends and soldiers mentioned him picking up a guitar or playing the piano.

His father, Keith, is an engineer with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, which operated the Whiteshell nuclear research lab near Pinawa.

After AECL began winding down its operations at Whiteshell, the Greenfield family moved to Petawawa, Ont., where Mr. Greenfield worked at AECL's nearby Chalk River Laboratories.

Home to a massive army garrison, Petawawa is a tight-knit community where many of the streets are named after past battles – Dieppe, Falaise, Vimy.

Sapper Greenfield graduated in 2001 from General Panet High School, on Ypres Boulevard, which was also attended by children of the local military, many of whom became his friends.

“He grew up here. He's well known and well liked. He was always the kid who got along with everybody,” said Pauline Glover, a family friend.

“What I remember about Sean is every time I'd see him he'd always be laughing,” one former General Panet student wrote on an online tribute to the dead soldier.

Sapper Greenfield attended London-based Fanshawe College and was remembered as a skilled graphic designer, but he eventually joined the military.

After basic training, he became a combat engineer. As part of his advanced training, he volunteered to train as a combat diver, the specialized engineers who handle underwater reconnaissance and demolition.

“He had recently completed the demanding combat diver's course and he aspired to join Canada's elite JTF2 special forces team,” Brigadier-General Denis Thompson, the commander of coalition troops in Kandahar, told reporters.

Sapper Greenfield was based in his hometown as a member of 2 Combat Engineer Regiment.

Just last Christmas, he had been on leave and visiting the Indonesian island of Bali.

“I can't believe this is true! We just got to know you in Bali and spent Christmas with you,” Kati Anttila, a Finnish traveller who met Sapper Greenfield at the beach resort of Nusa Dua, wrote on Facebook.

The loss was also felt by his fellow combat engineers.

“Words can't describe the sadness I feel for losing such a good buddy. He was the kind of guy that people were just drawn too. Born leader, humble, confident and a little cocky but not in a bad way,” Mitchel Claypool, a combat engineer based at CFB Valcartier, Que., wrote in an online tribute. “Probably one of the best soldiers I have ever seen.”

Journey home begins for slain soldier

By Steve Rennie, The Canadian Press,  February 1, 2009

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - Sapper Sean Greenfield was remembered Sunday as an affable young man with a natural charisma who drew a crowd whenever he brought out his guitar and sang Green Day songs.

Many of those same soldiers who Greenfield, 25, entertained at far-flung Canadian outposts in Kandahar province gathered on the tarmac at Kandahar Airfield and bade farewell to the 108th Canadian soldier killed in the Afghan mission.

Sniffles broke the still night air as eight pallbearers made the long trudge before rows upon rows of soldiers to the open hatch of a large military aircraft.

Greenfield was a member of 24 Field Engineer Squadron, 2 Combat Engineer Regiment based in Petawawa, Ont., serving with the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group.

Lt.-Col. Roger Barrett, commanding officer of the Battle Group, described Greenfield as a social man who kept his fellow soldiers upbeat over long hauls with light banter.

People naturally gravitated to Greenfield whenever he strummed and sang in the makeshift mess halls of the Canadian outposts, he said.

"Once he started playing guitar, he would draw a crowd in, and sometimes there would be persons of the opposite sex that would come into that crowd," Barrett said."

So, (he was) a very popular young man and a very personable young man."

'He had time for everyone'

Petawawa 'in shock' as news of sapper's death hits hometown

By Archie McLean, and Cassandra Drudi, Canwest News Service and the Ottawa Citizen February 1, 2009

Friends, family and the town of Petawawa are mourning the loss of a young man remembered as a dedicated soldier and a kind person who had time for everyone.

A roadside bomb blast killed Sapper Sean David Greenfield in southern Afghanistan yesterday, the latest death in what has become a bloody winter for troops serving in the war in Afghanistan.

Sapper Greenfield, 25, died when his armoured vehicle hit a roadside bomb at about 2:45 p.m. in Zhari district, roughly 40 kilometres west of Kandahar City. Sapper Greenfield, who was from the 24 Field Squadron, 2 Combat Engineer Regiment, based in Petawawa, is the 108th Canadian soldier killed in support of the Afghan mission since 2002. No other soldiers were injured in the explosion.

News of Sapper Greenfield's death spread quickly through the military town before it was officially released.

"In a town like Petawawa, you're so familiar with hearing about people being killed overseas, but when you see that picture and it's somebody you actually know, it hits home much harder," said Sarah Larose, 25. "Everybody's kind of in shock."

Ms. Larose went to General Panet High School with Sapper Greenfield, and remembered when, for her 16th birthday, a group of friends made her a video that ended with Sapper Greenfield singing a Marilyn Monroe-inspired rendition of Happy Birthday.

"He was a really funny guy, really charismatic and energetic," Ms. Larose said. "He just always had time for everyone.

"I don't think anybody has anything bad they could ever say about him."

When reached at her home in Petawawa last night, Sapper Greenfield's mother, Penny, her voice raw with emotion, said she was unable to comment on her son's death at that time. He leaves behind his mother and father, Keith, and two sisters, Melanie and Ainsley.

Friends of Sapper Greenfield shared photographs and memories on a tribute page set up for that purpose on the popular social networking website Facebook, remembering him as a "true friend" who could always be counted on to elicit a smile or a laugh.

Brig.-Gen. Denis Thompson, the commander of Canadian and NATO forces in Kandahar, described Sapper Greenfield as a fit and highly motivated soldier who had recently finished his combat diver's course and hoped to join Canada's elite special forces team, Joint Task Force 2.

"He was a singer and he enjoyed playing guitar. He was also well-liked by his teammates for his sense of humour and he will be sorely missed," Brig.-Gen. Thompson said.

To Sapper Greenfield's friends and family, Brig.-Gen. Thompson said, "we share your grief, and we will ensure Sean's memory is safeguarded."

Sapper Greenfield was involved in a multinational operation meant to go after Taliban weapons and bomb-making caches, Brig.-Gen. Thompson said. While Sapper Greenfield's death was tragic, Brig.-Gen. Thompson said the mission was necessary to help make the countryside safer for Canadian and international troops.

"The alternative is you don't do anything and ... the IEDs will just grow exponentially and the whole province will be crippled," he said. "Every opportunity we get wind that there's a cache somewhere, then we have to act."

The operation netted a small amount of weapons and bomb-making material, which Brig.-Gen. Thompson said indicates they are having some success disrupting enemy supply lines.

Sapper Greenfield is the second Canadian soldier killed this year and the 11th to die from roadside bombs in Afghanistan since the start of December.

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

Canadian soldier killed by IED in Afghanistan News Staff
Updated: Sat. Jan. 31 2009 8:56 PM ET

A Canadian soldier was killed in Afghanistan Saturday as he participated in a major operation to locate bomb-making factories in Taliban territory.

Sapper Sean David Greenfield, 25, was killed when the armoured vehicle he was riding in struck an improvised explosive device in the Zhari district, west of Kandahar city.

"It is with a heavy heart that I announce that a Canadian soldier was killed today," Brig.-Gen. Denis Thompson, Canada's top military commander in Afghanistan, said in a statement.

Greenfield was killed at the tail end of a joint operation with American and British troops to root out the Taliban's bomb-making abilities.

"The mission in question was meant to go into a zone, the western part of Panjwaii and Zhari districts in order to go after specific Taliban compounds of interest, where we did find. . .bomb-making material and other weapons," Thompson said.

The incident occurred as hundreds of soldiers fanned out over 20 kilometres, looking for Taliban weapons caches.

The other soldiers in the vehicle were not hurt, Thompson said.

Greenfield was a member of 24 Field Engineer Squadron, 2 Combat Engineer Regiment based out of Petawawa, Ont., serving with the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group.

Thompson described Greenfield as exceptionally fit and said the young soldier recently completed a combat diver's course. He added that Greenfield aspired to join JTF2, Canada's elite and secretive special forces team.

Greenfield was described as having a great sense of humour and someone who loved to sing and play guitar.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered his condolences to family, friends and comrades of Greenfield.

"We also wish a full and swift recovery to his four comrades who were injured in the same attack and thank them for their dedicated service," the prime minister's message said.

"The Canadian mission in Afghanistan is a difficult one, but the Canadian Forces are making a difference in the lives of the Afghan people by maintaining security and stability that will allow the country to rebuild and look to the future.

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff extended his "deepest sympathies to the loved ones of Sapper Greenfield and to the entire armed forces family.'

"Canadians owe a tremendous debt to the men and women of our Canadian Forces for their courage and sacrifice for our country," Ignatieff said in a statement. "Our thoughts are with them on this difficult day."

Gov.-Gen. Michaelle Jean said she was "overwhelmed" at the news of Greenfield's death.

"The bravery and determination with which Canadian soldiers conduct their work and face terror on a daily basis is truly astounding," she said in a statement.

"They are convinced of the importance of helping the Afghan people, of standing up to hatred, and of achieving security, which is an absolute necessity for reconstruction and human development in a country so filled with despair."

A deadly winter

The Taliban have kept up a deadly offensive throughout this winter, a new tactic. In previous winters the Taliban hid in the mountains to regroup in advance of fighting in the spring.

Eleven Canadian soldiers have been killed since December, all in roadside bomb attacks.

The Taliban claims the deaths are part of a new aggressive campaign aimed at coalition forces.

Canadian military officials have attributed the deaths to bad luck and have dismissed the Taliban's claims.

Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) continue to plague Canadian troops in Afghanistan. IEDs are responsible for more than half of all Canadian troop deaths in the country, which now total 108.

CTV's Steve Chao, reporting from Kandahar, said that the number of roadside bombs planted over the last year has doubled.

"They are using this technique more and more to try to slow down NATO troops," he told CTV Newsnet Saturday.

Chao said that the military claims that their techniques for finding roadside bombs have improved over the last few months.

Canadian soldiers have ramped up efforts to seek out IED materials in recent months.

In early January, Operation Shahi Tandar (Royal Thunder), a joint operation between Canadian, British and Afghan troops, seized detonators, wires and tubes, and other bomb-making materials.

Saturday's search yielded even more material that would be used to make IEDs.

"The engineers went in and found what seems to be a bit of a false wall," Platoon Commander Lieut. Aron Corey told reporters. "In behind that were some spools of wire, the same type of wire that's used in IEDs."

Thompson said that the weapon caches found Saturday were smaller than the ones they have found in the past.

"The size of the caches that were found ... (are) not as spectacular as previous finds, which is certainly an indication that we're whittling it down," he said.

"I can tell you that the intelligence we have leads us to certain areas. Tends to be the same areas; these people are creatures of habit. And when we go back, if we find that the stocks are lowered, then clearly they're having trouble re-supplying themselves."

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Grave headstone - National Military Cemetery, Ottawa


FOB Wilson - Afghanistan