Canada marks navy's centennial (2)

08:10, May 06, 2010      

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Vice-Admiral Dean McFadden, chief of the Maritime Staff, said the navy was honored by the proclamation, calling on Canadians to join the navy in recognizing this milestone in Canadian history.

Several official naval centennial events were held across the country including the unveiling of a set of two commemorative stamps.

However, the celebration was described by Gen. Walter Natynczyk, Canada's top military commander, as "a bittersweet day" following the death of a member of the Fleet Diving Unit of the Canadian Atlantic Fleet in Afghanistan on Monday.

Petty Officer Second Class Craig Blake, 37, father of two, was killed by an improvised explosive device detonated during a dismounted patrol operation near the southern Afghan town of Kandahar, becoming the first Canadian navy personnel as well as the 143rd Canadian serviceman to be killed in Afghanistan since Canada's combat mission began there in 2002.

"It's a day of joy and thanks for the great service of all these sailors but also recognizing the sacrifices of the century and the sacrifice yesterday of Petty Officer Blake on the other side of the world," Natynczyk said.

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