Decommissioned military vehicle finds new life in Airdrie as memorial to fallen soldiers
A decommissioned light armoured vehicle (LAV) has made its way to downtown Airdrie where it will serve as a tribute to Canadians who served in Afghanistan.
Bob McNevin, the chairman of the Airdrie LAV committee, says the process of bringing the LAV III to its new permanent home outside the Nose Creek Valley Museum on Main Street was nearly two years in the making amd started with an application from the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 288 in Airdrie.
“We decided to apply for one. I never thought in the world that we’d get one,” chuckled McNevin.
Airdrie was selected from the applicants and the committee members found themselves facing a significant cost to create an appropriate outdoor display for the LAV III. A number of businesses learned of the initiative and stepped to the plate to help cover the nearly $100,000 required for items ranging from a reinforced concrete pad to lighting, from flagpoles to signage.
“If it wasn’t for our sponsors, we probably wouldn’t be standing here today.”
The Airdrie monument to Canada’s Afghan veterans, the only decommissioned LAV III display in western Canada, was unveiled to the public during a Sunday afternoon ceremony.
Cpl. Ret. Robert Devalois, who served from 1998 – 2005 including a five month tour in Afghanistan, was in attendance.
“I was trained as a turret gunner,” explained Cpl. Ret. Devalois. “I was qualified as a LAV gunner on this particular vehicle.”
The retired soldier says the public should not underestimate the capabilities of the LAV III.
“It can get a decent amount of speed up to it despite the heavy weight of the vehicle,” said Cpl. Ret. Devalois. ““It’s a boat with wheels.”
In addition to the LAV III, the monument outside the museum includes the names of fallen Canadian soldiers from 2002 through 2011.
With files from CTV's Brad MacLeod