Cdn soldier, wounded in 2005 Iraq friendly fire attack, gets Medal of Bravery
A Medal of Bravery is seen in a file photo. (Wikimedia Commons/Dreamafter/HO)
OTTAWA — A Canadian special forces soldier has been awarded the Medal of Bravery in connection with a deadly friendly fire incident in Iraq in 2015 that killed one of his comrades.
Gov. Gen. David Johnston awarded the medal, which is given to military personnel who risk their lives to save someone in danger, during a special closed-door ceremony on Wednesday.
Military officials won’t identify the soldier or provide specifics about the actions that led to his receiving the award, citing operational security.
But they say he was among four Canadians who were accidentally fired upon by Kurdish allies in northern Iraq in March 2015.
Sgt. Andrew Doiron of Moncton, N.B., was killed in the incident and the other three soldiers were wounded — one of them seriously — while trying to come to his aid.
The four soldiers were at the time among dozens of Canadian special forces troops helping to train and advise the Kurds in their fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
A summary of two separate investigations into the shooting later blamed “mistaken identity and a breakdown in communication in a setting characterized by tension, fatigue and confusion.”
Doiron is the only Canadian soldier to have been killed during Canada’s three-year military mission against ISIS, which was recently extended to 2019.
Canadian special forces in Iraq are currently supporting local forces in their attack on the city of Hawija, which has been described as ISIS’ last main stronghold in the country.
Military officials have warned, however, that the group will continue to conduct suicide bombings and other terrorist acts even after it is defeated in Hawija.
There are also growing concerns about potential fighting between the Iraqi government and the country’s Kurds, after the latter held a controversial referendum on independence on Monday.