Czechs pay tribute to their three soldiers killed in Afghanistan

It is with great sorrow that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the deaths of Staff Sergeant Martin Marcin (1982), Corporal Kamil Benes (1990), and Corporal Patrik Stepanek (1993) who were killed close to Bagram Airfield, Parwan province, Afghanistan, on Sunday 5 August.

The soldiers, all from the 42nd Mechanised Battalion in Tabor, 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade, were taking part in a routine reassurance foot patrol 8km north of Bagram Airfield, Parwan province when, shortly after 8 hours local time, a suicide bomber set off himself close to the patrol. The explosion seriously injured other three members of the patrol, one American a two Afghan soldiers. They were transported to hospital for immediate treatment.

President of the Czech Republic, Supreme Commander of Armed Forces of the Czech Republic, Milos Zeman, together with soldiers' family members, the highest political and military representatives of this country and the public, attended a mournig ceremony after landing of Airbus A319 at Ruzyne Airport, Prague, on Wednesday 8th August afternoon which transported the remains of the soldiers from Afghanistan.

Chief Chaplain of the Czech Armed Forces, Colonel Jaroslav Knichal, delivered a mourning speech in name of all ceremony participants.

Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic, Lubomir Metnar, told reporters at the airport: "I have decided to promote all three heroes to the rank of 'Chief Warrant Officer' and decorate them with the highest military award, the 'State Defence Cross', for their service in fighting terrorism. The soldiers laid down their lives for others to live."

  • Staff Sergeant Martin Marcin, born 14th February 1982, joined CAF in 2003, fifth mission (2x Kosovo, 3x Afghanistan)
  • Corporal Kamil Benes, born 17th January 1990, joined CAF in 2013, first mission
  • Corporal Patrik Stepanek, born 14th September 1993, joined CAF in 2015, first mission

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By Oldrich Holecek

August 9, 2018