On 27 February 2018, at 1900 hr, Dimi’s family, the Special Forces Group and our nation lost an extraordinary son, brother and defender of our values.
Becoming a Special Forces operator means accepting a life in the shadows, but Dimi’s death should not be lost in discretion
The Special Forces main mission; defending Belgian interests, safeguarding our values and way of life is only possible with Belgians’ best men. To be capable of facing the nowadays threats, inside and outside the country, the Special Forces operators undergo a harsh and demanding training. They flirt with the boundaries of ‘impossible’ and go beyond. These are the men who face the dangers so others can be safe.
Becoming a Special Forces operator was Dimi’s dream and for the Special Forces Group he was to become a dream operator. Smart, very fit and an uncompromising will to succeed. Dimi was the type of man that shape the success of the Belgian Special Forces and as a consequence, the safety of us all.
Eager to learn, to adapt, to improve, always looking to excel and be the best he could be. Where others saw limitations and difficulties, Dimi saw opportunities and challenges. He didn’t choose an easy going life but accepted the most demanding job with a smile. By becoming a Special Forces operator, he accepted the hardness and inherent dangers of his chosen profession.
Dimi was an operator, 27 years old. He succeeded the Qualification course 2017 and reached the end of his complementary course. He just finished the High Altitude Free fall course in Eloy before he joined Yuma, Arizona for the tactical air insertion training.
Dimi was a natural. He was very ‘gifted’ as a new operator and excelled in everything he did. His smile and enthusiasm made him immediately accepted and appreciated by his colleagues. It was obvious he enjoyed every minute of his new life in the Operational Detachment and he had a promising future inside the unit.
Dimi lost his life during a High Altitude High Opening (HAHO) jump in the Yuma desert (Sonoran desert).
The night jump, fully equipped with a heavy backpack, webbing, weapons and night vision goggles, should have been the start of a 2-day exercise. It turned out to be fatal for Dimi, who was found afterwards by the SAR helicopter on a hillside, with his main and reserve parachutes next to him. The SAR helicopter winched Dimi, brought him back to his team, where the team leader accompanied Dimi to the Yuma Regional Medical Center.
Words cannot describe the sorrow and dismay for the family and his colleagues. The press is asked to respect the mourning process of the family. Their loss is ours and without a doubt, Belgium lost one of his finest…
The Special Forces operators in Yuma held a serene ceremony to honour their fallen comrade. (see picture) A 50 kg memorial stone was carried up the hillside where Dimi lost his life.
All Belgian military personnel present paid their respect.
Dimi was brought back to Belgium this weekend and united with his family.
Although young in our unit, you gave us all a lesson which can never be forgotten:
- For those who serve in the military, police, firemen, medical personnel…thank you for your sacrifice.
- For the others, remember those who are ready to pay the highest price to ensure your safety.
- For the SF Gp; climbing the mountain, reaching for the summit, aiming at the top is what we do, but on our way to the top, we should stop once in a while to enjoy the landscape.
Dimi, we will remember you and our sorrow will be replaced by respect. You choose a life of danger and discomfort to protect others. You lived a life of passion and action. And you died the way you lived.
Thank you for your service and the toll you paid for our safety.
You will always be one of us, in our hearts, in our thoughts, in the sky….
Special Forces Group Belgium
Who dares wins – Far ahead