NEWS

Fredericton vies to get light armoured vehicle monument

11/12/2014 12:07 EST | Updated 01/12/2015 05:59 EST
Some of the Canadian Armed Forces vehicles that played a vital role during the Afghanistan mission will soon be turned into monuments across Canada.

The military is upgrading its light armoured vehicles (LAVs), and 250 decommissioned hulls will be used as a symbol of the sacrifice of veterans who have served in more recent years.

In the Fredericton area, a campaign is already underway to land the first one.

"The capital region has a longstanding connection with the military, said MLA Brian Macdonald, who is spearheading the #MakeFrederictonFirst initiative.

"We're home to Base Gagetown, which is probably the most significant training base in Canada, and certainly one where many of the troops who served in Afghanistan would have done at least some of their training," said Macdonald, who is himself a veteran of that conflict.

Anyone who wants to support the Fredericton campaign to get the first LAV monument is urged to makefrederictonfirst.com and place their vote before Jan. 31, 2015.

A panel of veterans will decide which community will get the first one.

If the Fredericton bid is successful, Macdonald would like to see the monument placed beside the cenotaph in Oromocto, just a few hundred metres from 5th Canadian Division Support Base (5 CDSB) Gagetown​, where other decommissioned equipment pays tribute to veterans.

Retired chief warrant officer Augustin Landry, a 37-year veteran who worked with the LAV at Base Gagetown, supports the idea.

"The event course is done in Gagetown. So that's where you learn how to use that vehicle to the maximum and I think that's the appropriate place to put it," said Landry.

"Many lives were saved because of the LAV."

The #MakeFrederictonFirst campaign is a regional co-operative bid supported by the capital region municipalities of Fredericton, New Maryland and Oromocto.

Funding for the memorials will come from private and corporate donors and will be provided to municipalities free by Canada Company, a nationwide military charity.

The monuments will be actual LAVs, which were built in London, Ont., at General Dynamics Land Systems Canada, but with all of the functional components removed.

The Canadian army LAV fleet is being equipped with improved hulls and other features.

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