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calendar   Monday - November 02, 2009

KILLED ON THE VERY LAST DAY OF HIS TOUR IN AFGHANISTAN ….

Bad enough these brave young kids are dying and being maimed. That’s always a damn sad thing.
But somehow, to die on your last day of the tour .... I don’t know.  Something seems extra sad about that. Especially when you consider the lives this one Battling Brit saved.
I truly am nothing but upset and very depressed reading this.  Wish I hadn’t.  But then, hell.  Every time I see the reports I feel bad. Which means almost every day because there isn’t any way to avoid it.  And I shouldn’t avoid it anyway.  Neither should my fellow Americans.  These are the kids dying along side our guys.  Just as brave, just as young, just as sad.

Bomb expert who saved ‘countless lives’ killed in Afghanistan
One of the Army’s most prolific bomb disposal experts who saved “countless lives” has been killed on the last day of his operational tour, the Ministry of Defence has disclosed.

By Thomas Harding, Defence Correspondent
Published: 2:00PM GMT 02 Nov 2009

Despite “staring death in the face on a daily basis” Staff Sgt Olaf “Oz” Schmid continued to defuse bombs in Sangin, the most lethal town for IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) in Helmand province.

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The soldier, described as a man of “extreme courage”, was killed instantly as he attempted to make safe a bomb left in the town.

He is the third IED Disposal soldier to be killed in the last year as the Taliban increase their bombing campaign against the British force.

Among the great skill and courage in the ordnance disposal teams S/Sgt Schmid, 30, was marked as the “best of the best” defusing 64 of the estimated 1,200 IEDs found by British troops this year.

As well as taking part in Operation Panther’s Claw, a major assault on a Taliban stronghold, he found 31 IEDs during a single operation to clear a road near Sangin in August.

Following his death on Saturday his wife Christina said her husband had been “cruelly murdered on his last day of a relentless 5 month tour”.

“The pain of losing him is overwhelming. I take comfort knowing he saved countless lives with his hard work.”

Lt Col Robert Thomson, commanding officer of the 2Bn The Rifles, who recently returned from Afghanistan, described S/Sgt Schmid “simply the bravest and most courageous man I have ever met”.

“Under relentless IED and small arms attacks he stood taller than the tallest.

“He saved lives in 2 RIFLES time after time and for that he will retain a very special place in every heart of every Rifleman in our extraordinary battle group.”

In one 24 hour operation clearing possibly the most dangerous route in Afghanistan known as Pharmacy Road, he found 31 IEDs.

Lieutenant Colonel Gareth Bex, the commanding officer of the counter-IED task force, said many soldiers in Helmand owed their lives to S/Sgt Shmid’s “gallant actions”.

“The tag ‘legend’ is frequently bestowed nowadays but in his case it is rightly justified - SSgt Schmid was a legend. His courage was not displayed in a fleeting moment of time; he stared death in the face on a daily basis. His sacrifice will never be forgotten.”

He added that the soldier “takes his rightful place” alongside other bomb disposal experts who had been killed - Warrant Officer O’Donnell, who was awarded the George Medal and bar and Capt Dan Shepherd, who died during Operation Panther’s Claw.

The soldier, born in Truro Cornwall, also took part in Operation Panther’s Claw this summer which saw a bloody death told as British troops cleared Taliban strongholds ahead of the flawed presidential elections. S/Sgt Schmid, who worked in a High Threat Operator role sometimes alongside special forces, secured 11 finds of bomb making equipment many of them during the operation.

“SSgt Oz Schmid was a man of extreme courage who revelled in this the most challenging and dangerous of environments,” said his colleague Major Tim Gould.

His actions are likely to make him a strong candidate for a gallantry award, defence experts have said.

The total British lives lost in Afghanistan now stands at 224 with 87 lost this year alone.

SOURCE


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 11/02/2009 at 04:47 PM   
Filed Under: • Battling Brits HeroesUKWar-Stories •  
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