simon-milloux

Capt. Simon Mailloux is the first Canadian soldier to return to active duty in Afghanistan as an amputee. ((CBC))

Roadside bombs have killed and maimed many Canadian soldiers, but they couldn't defeat Capt. Simon Mailloux.

He is the first Canadian soldier to return to active duty in Afghanistan as an amputee.

It was on Mailloux's first tour two years ago that his life changed forever. He was riding in an armoured vehicle when it struck a roadside bomb. Two soldiers under his command and an Afghan interpreter were killed.

Mailloux, 26,  was seriously injured and his left leg had to be amputated. In rehab, he was told it could take a year, even two before he walked again with the help of a prosthetic. He did in just over a month.

Mailloux describes himself as a "bit of a hard head."

"When the pain was too much, waking up in the morning, I felt I could just be in a wheelchair and finish my life this way or I could say, 'I'll do this job and it will be fine for me.'"

For now, Mailloux commands troops from behind a desk in Afghanistan. He said he came back to honour the lives of the two men under his command who died and to show the insurgents they didn't win.

"When I stepped off that plane, [it means] they [insurgents] haven't instilled fear in me of not coming back," he said.

Mailloux also came back to fulfill a promise he made to the Afghans.

"I told them we would do things for them — build a school, build a well and all that. I haven't finished that so coming back here, I want to finish what I said."