OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 22, 2011) - Brigadier-General Dean Milner, the last commander of Canada's combat mission in Afghanistan, and the final members of his team returned home from Afghanistan this afternoon.
Meeting them at the Ottawa International Airport from Afghanistan were friends and family of the returning members, as well as the Honourable Peter MacKay, the Minister of National Defence, General Walt Natynczyk, the Chief of the Defence Staff, and Lieutenant-General Peter Devlin, the Chief of the Land Staff.
"Today's return of members of the Canadian Forces marks a great milestone in Canadian history. Brigadier-General Milner, his troops, and their predecessors have made incredible contributions to improving the lives and security of the people of Afghanistan, have earned the respect of their NATO peers, and have given Canadians from across the country a newfound pride in our men and women in uniform," said Minister Peter MacKay. "He and everyone who has served or is serving in Afghanistan have distinguished themselves on the international stage. I am confident that Major-General Mike Day, along with all of our other troops, will continue to make Canadians proud as we transition into Canada's new training mission."
Combat operations for Canada's troops in Kandahar Province ended on July 7, 2011 with the transfer of authority for Panjwaii, Daman and Dand districts from Brigadier-General Milner to Colonel Todd Wood of the United States Army. Operation ATHENA will be formally concluded in December 2011 following the transition to Canada's training mission, Operation ATTENTION, centred in Kabul.
"I am very proud of Brigadier-General Milner's team and their accomplishments in Afghanistan," said General Walt Natynczyk. "To the families who supported them while they were away, I say 'thank you' for all they did and for the sacrifices they made. Today is their day to celebrate, and our day to mark a well-earned homecoming."
Brigadier-General Charles Lamarre took over command of the remaining Canadian Forces members in Afghanistan from Brigadier-General Milner on July 17, 2011 under the auspices of the Mission Transition Task Force (MTTF), which is responsible for concluding all aspects of the Canadian military mission in Kandahar Province by December 2011.
A biography of Brigadier-General Dean Milner can be found here: http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/dsa-dns/sa-ns/ab/sobv-vbos-eng.asp?SectChoice=1&mAction=View&mBiographyID=683&mPrintFriendly=1
Information regarding Canadian Forces operations in Afghanistan can be found here: http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/afghanistan/index-eng.asp