Saturday, December 10, 2011

Fleet of 'double-V hull' Strykers growing in Afghanistan

English: 288 Strykers from the 1st Stryker Bri...Image via Wikipedia
The Army’s new “double-V hull” Stryker armored personnel carriers patrolled for six months in Afghanistan, helping soldiers within survive a dozen bomb hits, before the first combat deaths in the vehicle last month.
The eight-wheeled truck, which features a V-shaped hull to deflect blasts away from its crew compartment, was rushed into production in July 2010 following the deaths in Afghanistan of dozens of U.S. soldiers riding in older flat-bottomed Strykers.

The Army’s new “double-V hull” Stryker armored personnel carriers patrolled for six months in Afghanistan, helping soldiers within survive a dozen bomb hits, before the first combat deaths in the vehicle last month.
The eight-wheeled truck, which features a V-shaped hull to deflect blasts away from its crew compartment, was rushed into production in July 2010 following the deaths in Afghanistan of dozens of U.S. soldiers riding in older flat-bottomed Strykers.
The Army initially contracted with General Dynamics to produce 450 double-V hulls and, in October, ordered 177 more, which will give it enough to equip two brigades by 2013.
Two hundred of the double-V hulls are now in Afghanistan, with more slated to arrive in coming months, according to Lori Grein, a public affairs officer with the Project Executive Office-Ground Combat Systems. There are almost no flat-bottom Strykers left in Afghanistan, Grein said; most have been replaced by the double-V hulls.
After being hit with all manner of small arms, indirect fire and hidden bombs, troops grew more confident in the new vehicles before the recent deaths, said Sgt. Matthew Wood of the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
Sgt. 1st Class Johnathan B. McCain, 38, of Apache Junction, Ariz., died Nov. 13 after an improvised bomb detonated under his armored vehicle. On Nov. 16, a powerful explosion killed Spc. James R. Burnett Jr., 21, of Wichita, Kan., and Pfc. Matthew C. Colin, 22, of Navarre, Fla., according to the Defense Department.
Maj. David Mattox, a public affairs officer with the 1-25, said the three were the first soldiers killed or seriously injured in the double-V hulls since they arrived in Afghanistan in late May.
Mattox said the deaths are under investigation but added, “There is no doubt that the double-V hull Stryker has saved soldiers’ lives, despite the tragic loss of three of our soldiers.”
Before the fatal attacks, the vehicles had survived a dozen bomb blasts.
“In each case, none of the crew sustained more than minor injuries, and all returned to duty,” he said.
First Stryker Brigade, operating as Task Force Arctic Wolves in Kandahar province, also uses older flat-bottomed Strykers, Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles and their all-terrain equivalent, the M-ATV, Mattox said. The double-V hulls are sent to units within the brigade as they arrive.
“For security reasons, we prefer not to talk about what percentage or quantity of the vehicles have been fielded in the Task Force,” he said.
Officials also will not discuss the performance of the upgraded Strykers relative to other vehicles, or talk about the damage they have sustained in attacks.
“At this point, we are not going to compromise the success that we have had with these vehicles and point out the weaknesses or the strengths of either vehicle,” Mattox said. “The Strykers are saving lives and we want to make sure they continue to [do so].”
Roadside bomb attacks are the leading killer of U.S. and Afghan forces in Afghanistan.
Insurgents’ use of the weapons hit an all-time high over the summer, military officials said, with more than 1,700 strikes using roadside bombs in July alone in Afghanistan.
“Together with Afghan forces, we are working every day to detect, identify and defeat IEDs,” Mattox said. “The new Strykers are just one effective method of eliminating the effect of IEDs and insurgent operations.”
The recent deaths of soldiers riding in the new Strykers is proof that the vehicles are not invulnerable. However, even troops riding in the most heavily armored MRAPs have been killed by very large buried bombs.
Soldiers who swap the older Strykers for double-V hulls notice few differences.
“Ergonomically speaking they have kept everything the same,” said Wood, 25, of Oakfield, N.Y., who patrols regularly in a double-V hull out of Combat Outpost Talukan in Kandahar province. “All the changes they have made are behind the scenes.”
The double-V hulls, named for their shape, feature upgrades that were retrofitted to many of the older vehicles last year. They include individual harnesses and blast-attenuating seats, Wood said.
“Has there ever been a military vehicle that you felt like you were in a Cadillac? No. What is important is that it is mission capable and survivable,” he said.
The Arctic Wolves are using the new Strykers to set up observation posts and secure routes, in an effort to take away the enemy’s freedom of movement, Wood said.
The ability of the Stryker to carry 11 personnel — more than the six riding in a typical MRAP — with space for several days’ rations, offers flexibility.
“The Stryker allows us to be more maneuverable,” he said. “It is able to go into all sorts of terrain and environments and maintain a sustained presence.”
But Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., said the fact that a Stryker brigade — Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division — will deploy to Afghanistan in MRAPs instead of Strykers before year’s end suggests that there are limits to the missions that Strykers are suited for there.
Retired Lt. Col. David Johnson, executive director of the Center for Advanced Defense Studies, said it shouldn’t matter what vehicle a mechanized infantry unit such as a Stryker brigade uses to accomplish its mission.
“They (3rd Brigade) are deployed that way because the mission set they are given does not require that piece of equipment (the Stryker). It would be like insisting that artillery units that are used to man checkpoints bring their guns.”
The ability of U.S. industry to modify the Stryker at short notice to protect troops against roadside bombs bodes well for future conflicts, Johnson said.
“No two conflicts look alike,” he said. “The chances are not great that after Afghanistan we are going to be running into IEDs in the same way. There is always going to be a need for modifications.”

from Stars & Stripes

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Roadside bomb kills 4 civilians in Kandahar province

Saturday, December 10, 2011 –
According to local governmental officials in southern Afghanistan, at least four Afghan civilians were killed in two separate improvised explosive device explosion in southern Kandahar province.

The officials further added, both the incidents took place on Saturday morning in this province.

Provincial governor spokesman for Kandahar province Zalmai Ayubi confirming the incidents said, the first incident took place early Saturday morning in Khakrez district of southern Kandahar province after a civilian vehicle struck with a roadside bomb which was already planted by the militants.

According to Mr. Ayubi, at least 3 Afghan civilians were killed in the incident.

Meanwhile, another explosion took place in Maiwand district of southern Kandahar province after a civilian motorcycle hit a roadside bomb.
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Three Afghan police officer killed in Taliban ambush

Saturday, December 10, 2011 – According to local authorities in southern Afghanistan, at least three Afghan national police forces were killed in a Taliban ambush in southern Helmand province early Saturday morning.

Deputy for the provincial joint forces coordination centre Gen. Mohammad Ismail Hotak confirming the report said, the incident took place around 10:00 am local time after the Taliban militants ambushed a convoy of the Afghan national police forces in Nawzad district of southern Helmand province, killing at least three police officers.

The source further added, the vehicle of the Afghan national police forces was also damaged as a result of the rocket attack by the militants.

Nawzad district located in the north of Helmand province is considered to be one of the volatile regions in Helmand province where Afghan security forces and coalition forces launched a cleanup operation earlier to remove the Taliban militants from the area.

Deputy for the provincial joint forces coordination centre Gen. Mohammad Ismail Hotak also said, another police officer was killed in Lashkargah city following clashes with the Taliban militants on Friday.

In the meantime, officials in the ministry of interior affairs of Afghanistan following a statement on Saturday said, at least 13 militants were killed and 8 others were detained following an operation by Afghan national police forces across the country during the past 24 hours.

The statement further added, the operations were conducted in Kandahar, Helmand, Zabul, Ghazni and Farah provinces of Afghanistan during the past 24 hours.
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Pakis Deploy Air Defense along Afghan Border

AfPakVoA: A senior Pakistani military officer says the government has deployed air defense weapons on the country's border with Afghanistan, following the NATO airstrikes last month that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

Pakistan's Dawn newspaper reports Major General Ashfaq Nadeem says the new deployment of the border weapons was aimed at preventing “fresh attacks” as Pakistan re-evaluates its strategy for safeguarding its western borders from air raids.
The newspaper says Nadeem briefed the federal cabinet and the Senate's defense committee about the weapons deployment Thursday.

U.S. and Pakistani officials have offered differing initial accounts of what happened at the Pakistani posts near the border with Afghanistan.
Pakistani military officials have said the attack was unprovoked and deliberate, an accusation U.S. officials have rejected.

NATO helicopter gunships and jet fighters based in Afghanistan are said to have fired on two Pakistani military posts in the Mohmand region near the Afghan border on November 26.
Public anger in Pakistan over the killings is high. Islamabad has ordered the United States to vacate a Pakistan airbase it uses, and has indefinitely closed the two main overland routes NATO uses to send nonlethal supplies to Afghanistan.
The U.S. military and NATO have launched an investigation into the incident.
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Jihadi Commander Killed in Kunduz Blast

Districts of Kunduz.Image via Wikipedia
Afghan local officials on Saturday said that Shir Mohammad Arab, chief Afsotr and a former Jihadi commander was killed in a bomb blast in northern Kunduz city.

The blast took place at 12:30 pm local time in Chok-e-Kunduz when a bomb that was placed on a bicycle exploded, killing three including Mr Arab and wounding sixteen others,  Samiullah Qatra, police chief of Kunduz said.

No group including the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the blast.

Shir Mohammad Arab, who fought Russians in the 1980s, had turned into a peace activist trying to negotiate with the insurgents, official added.
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Pakistani Taliban confirms peace talks with Islamabad

Deputy Commander of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, who has been waging a four-year war against Islamabad, has confirmed that both sides are in peace talks.

"Our talks are going in the right direction," The Dawn quoted Mohammad, the commander of the Pakistani Taliban in the Bajaur tribal agency and the number two commander overall, as saying.

"If negotiations succeed and we are able to sign a peace agreement in Bajaur, then the government and the Taliban of other areas such as Swat, Mohmand, Orakzai and South Waziristan tribal region will sign an agreement. Bajaur will be a role model for other areas," he added.

It is speculated that the move could further complicate the US-Pakistan relationship.

The Pakistani authorities had already declared a war on the banned Taliban movement, which has frequently targeted the security forces and intelligence agencies' personnel.

However, reports had unfolded in recent past weeks that peace talks between the two sides might have begun secretly, though such claims were refuted by both the Pakistani military and the militants. (ANI)
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Dec. 10., 2011. - ISAF Joint Command Morning Operational Update

KABUL, Afghanistan – A combined Afghan and coalition security force captured a Taliban leader in Maidan Shahr district, Wardak province, today.

The leader planned attacks against Afghan security forces and supplied fighters with weapons and ammunition for use in attacks.

During the operation, the security force safely destroyed a bomb-making factory and its contents, including explosives, bombs and bomb-making materials.

Two additional suspected insurgents were detained.

In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:


Today in Sar-e Pul district, Sar-e Pul province, a Taliban leader was captured by a combined Afghan and coalition security force during an operation. The leader specialized in the construction of roadside bombs. Additionally, he moved weapons from Pakistan to Afghanistan and coordinated suicide and roadside bomb attacks. Security forces seized explosives, bomb-making material and multiple weapons, including a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and grenades. During the operation, the security force observed an individual displaying hostile intent toward the security force. Assessing an immediate threat, the security force fired, killing the insurgent. The security force detained two additional suspected insurgents during the operation.


A combined Afghan and coalition security force conducted an operation in search of a Taliban facilitator in Panjwai’ district, Kandahar province, today. The facilitator distributes weapons and builds and supplies roadside bombs for use in attacks throughout the area. The security force detained multiple suspected insurgents during the operation.

Today in Nad ‘Ali district, Helmand province, a combined Afghan and coalition security force conducted an operation in search of a Taliban leader. The leader directs a roadside bomb attack cell in Nad ‘Ali district and conducts attacks against coalition forces. He is also involved in multiple kidnappings in the area. Multiple suspected insurgents were detained during the operation.


A combined Afghan and coalition security force captured a Haqqani leader during an operation in Sarobi district, Paktika province, today. The leader conducted attacks against Afghan forces and provided guidance to insurgents in Paktika province. The security force confiscated multiple weapons and detained one additional suspected insurgent during the operation.

A combined Afghan and coalition security force discovered a weapons cache during a routine patrol in La’lpur district, Nangarhar province, yesterday. The cache consisted of ammunition clips, two anti-personnel mines, two grenades, five rocket-propelled grenade rounds, one shotgun and more than 1,200 rounds of small-arms ammunition. In addition, the force found approximately 50 pounds of poppy seeds. All of the weapons and drug materials were confiscated by Afghan authorities to be destroyed at a later date.

Syrian forces kill at least 14 activists

NICOSIA: At least 14 people, four of them children, were killed as Syrian security forces opened fire in several cities on Friday, with most of the victims falling in the restive region of Homs, activists said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 10 civilians were killed in and around Homs, two in Daraa, cradle of anti-regime protests since March, one civilian in Hama and another in Douma near Damascus. Twenty-three civilians were wounded in Homs, it said.

The opposition Syrian National Council earlier warned of the dangers of a “massacre” in the protest hub of Homs, a city in central Syria that it said was surrounded by government forces.

Two children, aged 10 and 12, were among nine killed by gunfire in different districts of Homs itself, and a 14-year boy was fatally wounded in nearby Aqrab, the Britain-based Observatory said in a statement. It said 19 people were arrested in Hula, also in Homs province.

A civilian was killed in Hama as security agents opened fire to disperse a protest near Mustapha Jaber mosque, it said, while a woman and 12-year-old girl were gunned down by “indiscriminate gunfire” in Daraa.

The rights watchdog said a man died in a similar incident in Douma, whose streets it said were the scene of “violent clashes between a group of deserters and security agents.”

USS Carney Disrupts Pirate Attack in Gulf of Aden

From U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs

USS CARNEY, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Carney (DDG 64), part of NATO's counter-piracy task force Operation Ocean Shield, worked with other NATO forces and coalition partners to disrupt pirate activity in the Gulf of Aden, Dec. 5.
Carney (April  2007) - The guided missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) underway in the Caribbean during a training exercise. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Vincent J. Street (RELEASED)

A Japanese maritime patrol aircraft patrolling the area on counter-piracy operations spotted a suspicious skiff with seven suspected pirates aboard and contacted the NATO flagship ITS Andrea Doria who in turn tasked Carney to investigate.

In a coordinated operation, Carney approached the skiff, while the patrol aircraft circled overhead. As the warship appeared on the horizon the skiff attempted to flee however it stopped when hailed.

The patrol aircraft and Carney observed the suspected pirates throwing items overboard. The items were visually confirmed by the patrol aircraft as ladders and other pirate-related equipment.

A team from Carney boarded the skiff and after a thorough search seized the excess fuel and other items useful to piracy activity, before ensuring the skiff had enough fuel to return to the Somali coast.

In 2009, 45 ships were hijacked in the region; so far in 2011, 21 ships have been hijacked effectively halving the number of ships taken. Naval warships have been in the region constantly providing a visible presence and deterrence and this has undoubtedly contributed to the pirates' lack of success.

Carney is currently deployed, assigned to NATO, conducting counter-piracy operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.
(c) US Navy

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Britain to Start Afghanistan Exit in Late 2013

British Soldiers patrol Helmand Province.Image via Wikipedia
London, Dec 9 -- Exit of some 4,000 British soldiers from Afghanistan before the end of 2013 depends on next week’s National Security Council approval, says The Guardian.

  The daily says the initiative submitted to PM David Cameron enjoys support from at least another two cabinet brass, among other, to help reduce expenses in 10-year military campaign and ease the national economic plight of high unemployment dragging Britain into another recession with the Eurozone debt crisis.

In Helmand province the UK ranks would be shrunk from 9,000 to 5,000 in 2013 and similar number would follow in 2014, leaving few hundred troops in Kabul to finalize the US-led NATO occupation started in 2001 claiming defeat of the Taliban regime.

Such stand is viewed as a challenge to the US-led Western mission since their presence is seen a key to keep up the coalition and prevent intestine fractures; while amore radical choice is to bring home some 2,500 troops along the first 4,000.
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Pentagon orders 30 more F-35s from Lockheed

English: no original descriptionImage via Wikipedia
Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $4 billion contract to produce 30 more F-35 Joint Strike Fighters for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, the Pentagon announced Friday.

The fixed-price-incentive contract provides for 21 F-35A conventional take off and landing Lightning IIs for the Air Force, three F-35B short-take off and vertical landing aircraft for the Marines, and six F-35C carrier variants for the Navy.
All the aircraft are being procured under low-rate initial production Lot V.
Broken down by service, two-thirds of the value of the contract — $2.65 billion — is for the Air Force; $937 million, or 23 percent, for the Navy; and $426 million, or nearly 11 percent, for the Marine Corps.
The contract also provides for “associated ancillary mission equipment and flight test instrumentation” for the planes, and flight test instrumentation for the United Kingdom.
The contract was awarded through the Naval Air Systems Command.

By Christopher P. Cavas - Staff writer

Posted : Friday Dec 9, 2011 17:53:52 EST
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R.I.P. - Sapper Elijah Bond

Sapper Elijah Bond dies in UK from wounds sustained in Afghanistan

A Military Operations news article

9 Dec 11

It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of Sapper Elijah Bond of 35 Engineer Regiment, Royal Engineers at the Queen Elizabeth NHS Hospital, Birmingham.

Sapper Bond
Sapper Bond
[Picture: via MOD]

Serving with the Task Force Helmand Engineer Group, he was a member of a team that was conducting an engineer reconnaissance task in the Deh Adham Khan region of Nahr-e Saraj (North) in Central Helmand, on 6th December 2011, when he was injured in a blast from an improvised explosive device.

His colleagues provided immediate first aid before he was evacuated by helicopter to the military hospital in Camp Bastion, where he received further medical attention. He was then flown under the care of a Critical Care Air Support Team to the Queen Elizabeth NHS Hospital in Birmingham where, on 8th December, he died of his wounds.

Sapper Elijah Cooper Bond

Sapper Elijah Cooper Bond, 24, was born on 10th June 1987 in Havant, Hampshire and grew up in St Austell, Cornwall. He joined the Corps of Royal Engineers in August 2008 and after completing his Phase One training he moved to Gibraltar Barracks to complete his Combat Engineer training. In 2009 he moved to Brompton Barracks in Chatham where he qualified as an electrical and mechanical draughtsman after a complex and academically demanding course.
After two years of extensive training he arrived in Germany in September 2010 to join 37 Armoured Engineer Squadron, a part of 35 Engineer Regiment based in Paderborn. He arrived at an incredibly busy time for the Regiment and was launched straight into Afghanistan pre-deployment training which included a series of exercises and training packages. Not content with this he volunteered for, and excelled at, the General Purpose Machine Gunners' course and showed considerable intellect by completing the Pashtu patrol language course.
With a vibrant personality, he enthusiastically joined in with the lively Squadron social scene; quickly making friends and establishing himself as a character across the ranks. In quieter moments he proved to be an excellent chess player, as many a more senior member of his Squadron found out to their detriment.
Sapper Bond deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan with his Squadron which became known as Engineer Field Squadron 1, part of the Task Force Helmand Engineer Group. He was deployed as a Combat Engineer in 8 Troop and based at Patrol Base Clifton in the Deh Adam Kahn area of Nahr-e Saraj District.
He leaves behind his mother, Lizz and father, Mark, sisters, Kimberley and Bethany and brothers, Isaac and Jose.
The Family of Sapper Bond have made the following statement:
"Elijah Cooper Bond left the world in the way he chose to live his life. He was a beautiful son, amazing brother, a proud uncle and our best friend. From a wicked grin to a righteous smile he could light up a room as much as he lit up our lives, so mischievous and fun yet grounded and down to earth. He will forever be a piece of us and remain in our hearts.

"We are thankful for the memories we have been given and the precious time we spent with him. We have faith in the sure and certain knowledge that we will be reunited together again. I hope that we can make him as proud as he has made us, and we, along with Lexi, will remember him with every streak we see in the sky. How many 'bye byes' in the sky".

Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Copsey, Commanding Officer, 35 Engineer Regiment, said:
"Sapper Elijah Bond will be sadly missed by his close-knit Troop and Squadron. His lively and outgoing nature was founded on an inner confidence that saw him excel during his time in the Royal Engineers. He was a rising star within his Squadron and he had a bright future ahead of him. Regarded as a first rate soldier he was notable for his complete reliability, enthusiasm and commitment. It was whilst in Afghanistan that he displayed his true ability, supporting the remainder of his Troop by working selflessly and without complaint; characteristics for which he will be forever remembered.
"Sapper Elijah Bond's friendly exterior belied a soldier who was physically robust, mentally tough, and always intent on doing the utmost for his team mates. It was whilst on an engineer reconnaissance patrol helping to plan vital infrastructure for the local population that he paid the ultimate price. Tragically he gave his life in order to improve the lives of others.
"His tragic and sudden loss has been a huge blow to us all; his presence will be missed by everyone within 37 Armoured Engineer Squadron and 35 Engineer Regiment.
"We will never forget him, and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this most difficult time."
Major Guy Boxall MBE, Officer Commanding 37 Armoured Engineer Squadron, 35 Engineer Regiment, said:
"Sapper Bond was one of my most effective and promising young soldiers. He epitomised the Royal Engineer Spirit in so many ways - he was bright, strong, intelligent, caring and always a volunteer, whatever the task. I remember meeting him shortly after he arrived in the Squadron last year - he was polite and respectful, finding his feet in the wide world of regimental life in Germany.
"In a few short months, I saw his confidence grow, his charisma shine through and so quickly become an inspiration to his peers. He was exceptionally popular and possessed that rare gift of never being down and always managing to find a way to lift the spirits of those around him, even in the toughest of circumstances. He was a trusted and reliable member of a close knit team and lived out the Squadron mantra - 'always say yes, unless the answer absolutely has to be no'.
"He was injured whilst on an important and invaluable task; an engineer reconnaissance patrol for a future project to improve the lives of the local Afghans. The Squadron has been devastated by the loss of a brother. Our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family and friends - his memory lives on, burning brightly in us all."
Lieutenant William Abbott, 8 Troop Commander, 37 Armoured Engineer Squadron, 35 Engineer Regiment, said:
"The loss of Sapper Bond, one of the most enthusiastic, loyal and charismatic men I have ever had the privilege of meeting, has hit everyone who knew him very hard. He was a pleasure to command. His energy and verve for life were clear to see and rubbed off on whoever he met.
"He loved his job and was thoroughly professional, epitomising what being a Sapper is all about. 'Bondy' as he was known in the Troop, was one of the most charismatic people I have met. Since taking over the Troop I have witnessed him go from strength to strength and quickly become a firm favourite amongst his peers and seniors.

"He was always to be found with a smile on his face, laughing about something. I spent many a journey around Afghanistan listening to 'Bond FM' whilst he chatted away in the vehicle. The happiest I saw him was when he beat me at chess in four moves and in true Sapper Bond style I never lived it down. He was the life and soul of the party and has left a massive void behind.
"I am honoured to have known Sapper Bond. He was a fantastic soldier and individual and he will be greatly missed. My thoughts and condolences go out to his family and friends. He was the best of us."

Warrant Officer Class Two Steve Driver, Squadron Sergeant Major, 37 Armoured Engineer Squadron, 35 Engineer Regiment, said:
"Sapper Bond was already in the Squadron when I was posted in this year. I always remember the professional attitude with which he conducted himself. He was one of the characters in the Squadron and whenever I saw him, he always had a smile on his face. He had a real lust for life and was at the centre of everything; you would always know if he was in the room. He loved his job and he would have gone far.

"He was an outgoing man and he would always engage in conversation and was easy to talk to. The Corps has lost a great bloke and professional soldier. As a soldier and a man I held him in high regard. My thoughts are with his family at this difficult time."
Staff Sergeant Matthew Norman, 8 Troop Staff Sergeant, 37 Armoured Engineer Squadron, 35 Engineer Regiment, said:
"Sapper Bond, or 'Bondy' to his mates, was a larger than life character and an integral member of 8 Troop. I only got to know him over this short period of time when I became his Troop Staff Sergeant, and for me he was an inspiration. A fully committed, professional and hard working lad, whose selfless commitment was second to none. We have lost a shining light and he will be thoroughly missed by all. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends in this difficult time. RIP Bondy - gone but never will you be forgotten."

Corporal Adam Cooper, 8 Troop, 37 Armoured Engineer Squadron, 35 Engineer Regiment, said:
"Bondy was a happy person who enjoyed ribbing his peers, he was always laughing and joking and this is how I will remember him. Charismatic, energetic and full of life he was a young man who brought a lot to the table. As a subordinate you couldn't ask for more, he kept morale high and cracked on with a smile. Bondy will be sincerely missed and my thoughts are with his family."
Sapper Jayson Redshaw, 8 Troop, 37 Armoured Engineer Squadron, 35 Engineer Regiment, said:
"Bondy was the morale of 8 Troop - making us laugh was one of the many talents he brought to the party, he was everything you wanted in a friend especially good at making a dark time seem like nothing, I just wish he was here now. He was the life and soul of any party and many times we got to experience this, pretty much every weekend we could rely on him to make a difference. You may be gone mate but you will never be forgotten, I can assure you of that. We have plenty of memories to cherish and cherish them we will. We will keep the wolf pack strong - thanks for everything. Rest in peace now mate."
Sapper Pete Broxton, 7 Troop, 37 Armoured Engineer Squadron, 35 Engineer Regiment, said:
"Bondy was the life of the party, so full of fun and always bringing a smile to everyone's face. He could always get a laugh out of anyone with his witty jokes, and he could do a like-for-like impression of many of his mates, bringing us all to tears of laughter. He was always popular with the ladies with his cheeky smile, bubbly personality and smooth talking. He was a fit, strong member of the Squadron and Troop, liked by all and loved by many; he will be missed more than he could have ever known. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. He was more than my friend; he was my brother, sleep well mate."
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:
"I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Sapper Elijah Cooper Bond who has given his life protecting our national security. His colleagues in 35 Engineer Regiment praise his confidence, his professionalism and his charisma.

"I extend my deepest condolences to his family, loved ones and to those with whom he served."

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