Cpl Dustin Wasden

24 July 1983 - 20 August 2008


1 CER honours Dustin Wasden


Naming northern Sask. island for fallen soldier fitting: father

Saskatchewan News Network; Regina Leader-Post

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ken Wasden's trip to northern Saskatchewan this summer took him to a very special island -- one that now bears the name of his son, Cpl. Dustin Wasden.

The young soldier was killed while serving in Afghanistan in August 2008, one of three combat engineers who died when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device.

"We're just honoured that they are doing this in his memory," said Ken from his Spiritwood-area home on Tuesday, after the island's new name was made official by the provincial government.

Dustin Wasden Island can be found in the province's northern reaches on Wasden Lake -- which honours Dustin's great uncle. The lake was named several years ago to commemorate Harold D. Wasden, who died in 1944 in the Netherlands during the Second World War.
The Wasden men were both 25 when they were killed in wars six decades apart.

Both Dustin Wasden Island and Wasden Lake were named as part of the GeoMemorial program, which is meant to honour people born or raised in Saskatchewan who gave their lives in the line of duty, as well as others who contributed to the province.

Dustin was remembered by his loved ones in a statement following his death as a dedicated soldier and caring family man who had a knack for storytelling.

Ken Wasden added Tuesday his son appreciated the outdoors and was very proud of his Saskatchewan roots.

"We're on the farm so he was basically raised in the outdoors," said Ken.

Ken travelled in a friend's float plane to Wasden Lake and saw the lake and the island this past summer. It was a long journey, requiring a three-hour flight from Buffalo Narrows, but a special experience, he said.

Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Dustin Duncan said he was pleased and honoured to be able to approve three new geographic place names and add to a fourth this week. "It's a small but I think significant way that the province of Saskatchewan, the government of Saskatchewan, can honour the sacrifices that Saskatchewan citizens have made," Duncan said.

The program is a way "to leave a legacy for these individuals," Duncan said.

To date, nearly 4,000 northern lakes, peninsulas, bays, islands and rivers have been named for individuals under the GeoMemorial naming program.

The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2009

Note - Wesden Lake is located at N 59 58' 1'' W 109 34' 6''

Mourners line Spiritwood street as soldier remembered

By Jason Warick The Star Phoenix, Wednesday, September 03, 2008

SPIRITWOOD - The local sports arena was packed with mourners as dozens of military personnel escorted the casket of Cpl. Dustin Wasden from Spiritwood's Catholic church to the arena where his funeral is taking place this afternooon.

Wasden was killed along with two other Canadian soldiers on Aug. 20. His funeral service began at 2 p.m. at the Bourdages Cameron Memorial Arena in his hometown of Spiritwood, 175 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon.

A single drummer led the procession, which was observed by more than 100 residents lining the kilometre-long route.

"We need to show our support. I think he died in service to our country," said Spiritwood-area resident Lynnda Berg.

Berg didn't know Wasden, but she sent food the his family's home to show support.

"We knew him," said Rubin Sarazin. "He died in a senseless war, but we feel it is important to show our support."

Sarazin, another Spiritwood resident, and his wife Linda brought eight toddlers from their daycare to watch the procession as it went by.

"We've told them (the kids) that this is a tribute to the soldier who lost his life."

Two dozen elderly care home residents also lined the route in their wheelchairs.

"This is a once in a lifetime experience, but we don't want that to happen ever again," said Spiritwood Health Complex resident Elenore Scheper.

Several dozens soldiers followed the drummer in the procession, followed by Catholic officials and the hearse containing Wasden's casket.  Walking behind was the soldier's family and more uniformed military and police personnel, all marching in time with the drumbeat.

The funeral is open to the public. Following the service, Wasden will be cremated and an interment will take place at a later date, says a statement issued Tuesday by the Canadian Forces.

Wasden was killed along with Sgt. Shawn Eades of Hamilton, Ont., and Sapper Stephan John Stock, 25, of Campbell River, B.C., by a roadside bomb. All three were members of Edmonton's 12 Field Squadron, 1 Combat Engineer Regiment.

Wasden was the second Saskatchewan soldier killed in Afghanistan last month. On Aug. 9, Master Cpl. Josh Roberts died during a firefight involving a private security company in the Zhari district, west of Kandahar City. The circumstances of his death remain under investigation.

Nearly 100 Canadian soldiers have died while serving in Afghanistan.

Wasden's family released a statement after his death, calling him "a dedicated soldier's soldier who was also a caring family man, a loving husband and a wonderful father." Born and raised in Spiritwood, the father of one and his wife had been living in Edmonton.

According to the family statement, Wasden was very proud of his Saskatchewan roots.

"Dustin's trademark was certainly his ability to tell stories; that always made his comrades laugh. Famous for being the 'talker' of the group, his incredible knowledge of music and lyrics never ceased to amaze," read the statement.

"Dustin was a great person to know, he had many friends and was respected by everyone.

"He was a generous spirit and this was born(e) out by his love of Shoe Day where soldiers distributed shoes and other gifts to children in Afghanistan. He insisted many times: 'Are we not here for the kids? Is that not why we are here?' Dustin was there for the kids and hoped one day his work would make a difference.

"There are no words to express how much Dustin will be missed by the family, his friends and the people who loved him and had the privilege to have known him in this life. Dustin's beautiful spirit and enduring memory will forever remain in our hearts."

 The Star Phoenix 2008


Sask. soldier's 'beautiful spirit and enduring memory' will endure: family

Last Updated: Friday, August 22, 2008 | 4:19 PM CT 

Cpl. Dustin Roy Robert Joseph Wasden was one of three Canadian soldiers killed Wednesday. (DND)

The Saskatchewan family of one of the Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan earlier this week is praising his generous nature and passion for his work.

Cpl. Dustin Wasden of the Spiritwood, Sask., area was one of three combat engineers killed by an improvised explosive device in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday.

"There are no words to express how much Dustin will be missed by the family, his friends and the people who loved him and had the privilege to have known him in this life," the family said in a written statement released by the Department of National Defence on Friday.

"Dustin's beautiful spirit and enduring memory will forever remain in our hearts."

Also killed was Sgt. Shawn Eades, who's from Ontario, and Sapper Stephan Stock, who's from B.C.

Born in Prince Albert, Wasden grew up in the Spiritwood and Leoville area in the west-central part of the province.

The family described Wasden as a dedicated "soldier's soldier" who was also a caring family man, a loving husband and a wonderful father. Wasden leaves behind a wife, Shannon, and a young daughter, Mikayla.

"He loved being a soldier in the Canadian Forces, but he loved being an engineer even more," the statement said. "He was very proud to be an engineer and proud of the people he served with, and strongly believed in his contribution to the mission in Afghanistan. His passion for his work was endless."

Made people laugh

Among his comrades, Wasden was known for his knack for telling stories, his encyclopedic knowledge of music and lyrics and his ability to make people laugh, his family said.

The family said Wasden loved "Shoe Day" a regular occurrence where soldiers distributed shoes and other gifts to children in Afghanistan. "He insisted many times: 'Are we not here for the kids? Is that not why we are here?'"

His high school teacher in Spiritwood, Dave Hyndman, recalled that Wasden was popular and well-liked, although Hyndman thought joining the Army was an unusual choice because Wasden didn't like structure.

"It did surprise me somewhat, but you know, he had talked about it. And I figured, 'Well, yeah, they'll whip him into shape.'"

Wasden's uncle, Dwayne LePage, said while relatives supported Wasden's decision to go overseas, some questioned the mission.

"We don't feel it's right ... that war could go for a hundred years, you know," he said. "A lot of innocent Canadian kids are getting gunned down or bombed or whatever."

Since 2002, 93 Canadian soldiers have been killed during the Afghanistan mission. Eight of those who have died since 2002 were from Saskatchewan.


Fallen Sask. soldier's family issues statement

By Rod Nickel, TheStarPhoenix.com Friday, August 22, 2008

SASKATOON - Flags at the Saskatchewan legislature are flying at half mast in honour of Cpl. Dustin Wasden.

The former Spiritwood resident was one of three combat engineers killed in Afghanistan Wednesday when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device.

"Once again, we are reminded of the sacrifices being made by young Canadian men and women, as they fight to secure democracy for the people of Afghanistan," said Premier Brad Wall, in a written statement. "Tami and I will join the people of Saskatchewan as we hold Cpl. Wasden, his wife and his young daughter in our thoughts and prayers. We also pray for the full recovery of a fourth soldier in the same convoy, who was seriously wounded in this attack."

A message on the answering machine of Wasden's parents asks media to respect the family's privacy.

The family released a statement today:

"Dustin (Dusty, Wazzy and Goose - ref big red moustache) Wasden was a dedicated soldier's soldier who was also a caring family man, a loving husband and a wonderful father.

"He loved being a soldier in the Canadian Forces, but he loved being an Engineer even more. He was very proud to be an Engineer and proud of the people he served with, and strongly believed in his contribution to the mission in Afghanistan. His passion for his work was endless.

"Dustin could not wait to wear and show-off that tanned desert uniform. Like a child awaiting Christmas, he even initiated a countdown as he got closer to going overseas to serve his country. Once in theatre, he had not yet completed his first tour that he was already looking forward to his next one. In fact, he was thrilled about going back.

"Very proud of his Saskatchewanese roots, Dustin's trademark was certainly his ability to tell stories; that always made his comrades laugh. Famous for being the 'talker' of the group, his incredible knowledge of music and lyrics never ceased to amaze. Dustin was a great person to know, he had many friends and was respected by everyone.

"He was a generous spirit and this was born out by his love of Shoe Day where soldiers distributed shoes and other gifts to children in Afghanistan. He insisted many times: "Are we not here for the kids? Is that not why we are here?" Dustin was there for the kids and hoped one day his work would make a difference.

"There are no words to express how much Dustin will be missed by the family, his friends and the people who loved him and had the privilege to have known him in this life. Dustin's beautiful spirit and enduring memory will forever remain in our hearts."

 The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2008

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