Edmonton

Slain soldier an 'amazing father, wonderful husband'

Master Cpl. Byron Greff, the Edmonton-based soldier killed in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan Saturday, was remembered by his family as an 'amazing person, an amazing father and a wonderful husband.'

Master Cpl. Byron Greff, the Edmonton-based soldier killed in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan Saturday, was remembered by his family as "amazing person, an amazing father and a wonderful husband."

"We want to stress how proud we are of him, of all that he has done," his family said in a written statement released Monday by the Canadian military. "There was never any doubt from us when he left on this most recent deployment. He was doing what he wanted to do and he was good at it.

Master Cpl. Byron Greff's role was to advise Afghan National Army trainers who teach other Afghan soldiers. (DND)

"We will always remember his strong will, his love for his family and friends and the fact that he was arguably the best dad —ever."

Greff, 28, was raised in Lacombe, Alta., and married with two children. His youngest child, a girl, was born earlier this month, just 10 days before he returned to Afghanistan.

A member of the Edmonton-based 3rd Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, Greff was one of 17 people killed in the blast.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for sending the suicide bomber, who rammed his vehicle into a heavily armoured NATO bus that had been travelling between bases in Kabul, detonating about 700 kilograms of explosives near Darulaman Palace.

Soldier loved hockey

Greff's family members, who are not named in the statement, said they were surprised when he decided to join the Canadian Forces, since he didn't come from a military background.

"Byron, in his younger years, was probably as far from being a military man as one could get," they said. But we supported him and were all very happy that he had found his way to this new life and excelled at it."

The family also remembered Greff as an active person who loved to play and watch hockey, and teach his son "some of the finer points of the game."

"His sense of humour was hard to surpass," the statement says.

"He was always good for a joke, had a wonderful laugh and was able to lighten the mood at just the right time, He was very social and willing to chat with pretty much anyone. In that respect, Byron was very much like his mother."

In Greff's hometown of Lacombe, residents tied yellow ribbons around hundreds of trees. Mayor Steve Christie says people are devastated by the death.

"He was a great kid. When he put his mind to something he definitely went after it and would sacrifice whatever he needed to to get it done and get it done properly," said Christie.

"He was very athletic and [had] a whole lot of friends. Very well respected within his peer group."

Greff's death is the first since Canadian combat operations in Kandahar ended earlier this year and a new training mission involving 920 soldiers began.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered his condolences to Greff's family, saying the soldier "paid the ultimate price serving his country."

Col. Omer Lavoie, the commander of 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, also offered condolences to Greff's family.

"The members of 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group are like a family and we will endeavour to help his own family and each other in whatever way we can," Lavoie said in a statement released Monday.

"[Master Cpl.] Greff, a member of the Third Battalion of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, was a great soldier and young leader who was well trained and ready to carry out his mission.

"[Master Cpl.] Greff's family, including his wife, son and daughter, are our primary concern right now. They are being attended by members of his regiment to ensure they are well taken care of and provided the support that they need during this difficult period."