Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Corporal Nathan Hornburg ~

With sadness, it is confirmed. One Canadian soldier was killed and four others were wounded during Operation SADIQ SARBAAZ on September 24 at about 4:30 p.m. Kandahar time. The incident occurred approximately 47 km west of Kandahar City in the Panjwayi District.The identity of the Canadian soldier killed is Corporal Nathan Hornburg, a Reserve soldier from the King's Own Calgary Regiment, based out of Calgary, Alberta.

Corporal Nathan Hornburg

Both helicopters and road ambulances were used to evacuate the casualties to the Multinational Medical Unit at Kandahar Airfield. The wounded soldiers are in stable condition and have contacted their families.Brig. Gen. Guy Laroche, the head of the Canadian task force in Afghanistan, confirmed the sad news this afternoon in a briefing at the coalition base at the Kandahar airfield.“Cpl. Hornburg was involved in a mission he believed in,” Laroche said.The troops were taking part in Operation Sadiq Sarbaaz (Honest Soldier), a joint operation between Afghan and Canadian troops. Operation SADIQ SARBAAZ (Honest Soldier) is a joint Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and ISAF operation that will set the conditions for a continuous security presence and the establishment of a new police sub-station in the northern part of Panjwayi.Canadian soldiers, backed by tanks and armoured vehicles, were pushing west into territory about 47 km west of Kandahar, in order to establish a new police substation and a more permanent presence to deter insurgents. Despite the death , the day-long offensive was deemed a success. In recent weeks, the Canadians and Afghans have been trying to reclaim and reinforce territory they won last fall, only to see it lost in this summer’s “fighting season,” a time when insurgent activity is typically the highest.

I send prayers to his family and friends both here and overseas as preparations are made for Cpl Hornburg's final journey home.

To view or send a tribute see: http://www.respectance.com/NathanHornburg/
CTV Video: Remembering Cpl. Nathan Hornburg

Ramp Ceremony - Kandahar, Afghanistan:

Hundreds of coalition troops gathered Wednesday morning at Kandahar airbase to bid a sad farewell and pay tribute to Cpl. Nathan Hornburg, Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan.

A coffin carrying Hornburg's body was placed on a plane heading home.A member of the King's Own Calgary Regiment, Hornburg was killed when he was hit by a mortar in southern Afghanistan. The 24-year-old Alberta native was repairing a tank at the time.Another soldier was injured in the attack. And in an ensuing firefight, three more infantry soldiers were wounded.Their injuries are not life threatening, according to Brig-Gen Guy Laroche, head of the Canadian military in Afghanistan.Meanwhile, a Canadian soldier was injured in a separate insurgent attack Tuesday. The soldier was ambushed while on a foot patrol. The injured soldier was listed in "serious condition."The soldier was on patrol with Afghan police officers west of Kandahar City when the group was ambushed by rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire.He was part of the Police Operational Mentoring Liaison Team -- a new police mentoring group meant to build up the local police force.The soldier, whose name was not released, is being treated at a military medical facility at Camp Bastion, a British base west of Kandahar.Prime Minister Stephen Harper mentioned Canada's latest loss on the battlefield during a speech in New York. Canada is in Afghanistan "because we believe it is noble and necessary," Harper said, "a cause completely consistent with our country's proud history of supporting international action to fight oppression and brutality, and to assist our fellow human beings.''"Since 2005 Canadian troops have been in one of the most violent regions in Afghanistan: the southern portion of Kandahar. And there has been a significant price -- as we were reminded yesterday with the death of a Canadian soldier'' and injuries to other soldiers, Harper said.Later in a statement, Harper said: "Canadians mourn the loss of Corporal Nathan Hornburg. Demonstrating courage and commitment, he gave his life serving his country and working to ensure a brighter future for the Afghan people.''Harper also expressed sympathies to the wounded soldiers.
Interview previous to deployment:Hornburg had been in Afghanistan for less than two months. He asked to be deployed to the country, telling CTV Calgary that he was nervous, but wanted to do his job."I'm excited to just see what it's actually like," he said in the days leading up to his deployment in August."I've just had various stories told to me, but I'm excited to just get my feet on the ground and start doing my job. What I'm scared of? I guess I'm just cautious of everything."Hornburg's friends say they warned him not to go to the troubled country. But they say he was determined to do his duty as a soldier."I honestly told him, don't go, don't do it," said his friend Dominic Levesque. "A lot of us were in that boat ... but that was his mindset, he wanted to do that and he felt maybe like it was his duty."In Afghanistan, Laroche said Hornburg went knowing the dangers that he faced."Corporal Horburg was involved in a mission that he believed in," said Laroche.

Repatriation in Trenton: (he's coming home)
Corporal Nathan Hornburg, Reserve soldier from the King's Own Calgary Regiment, based out of Calgary, Alberta, is scheduled to return home to Canada this Thursday. Citizens will once again be gathering on overpasses along "The Highway of Heroes" (401 east of Toronto to Trenton) as repatriation of Cpl Hornburg is tentatively scheduled for 5 p.m. this Thursday, Sept. 27. at CFB Trenton PLEASE NOTE: due to mechanical difficulties, scheduled date is now Friday, September 28 at 3:00 pm!
Where: 8 Wing Trenton, Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ontario.
When: Thursday, September 27, at 5:00 p.m.
UPDATE: due to mechanical difficulties, scheduled date is now Friday, September 28 at 3:00 pm!

Repatriation - CFB Trenton, ON

Pallbearers carry the coffin of Canadian Cpl. Nathan Hornburg during a repatriation ceremony at CFB Trenton, Ont., Friday, Sept. 28, 2007.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Hayward CP

The body of a Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan was returned to CFB Trenton in eastern Ontario for a repatriation ceremony Friday afternoon.Cpl. Nathan Hornburg died in Afghanistan Monday while trying to repair the track on a Canadian Leopard tank while under fire.His parents, Linda and Michael, were there at CFB Trenton to greet the plane carrying the casket.Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean, Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier were among the dignitaries who, along with about 100 military personnel, gathered on the tarmac to pay their respects.Hornburg's body was due to come home Thursday, but a mechanical problem with the plane used to repatriate fallen soldiers prompted a one-day delay.After the ceremony, a military cavalcade transported Hornburg's body to Toronto, where an autopsy will be performed.As part of the solemn homecoming for Canada's fallen soldiers, Canadians have gathered on highway overpasses that dot the stretch of Highway 401 between Trenton and Toronto. That was the case once again Friday.

Hornburg became the first Afghanistan casualty to officially travel the Highway of Heroes since the stretch of Highway 401 was renamed by the Ontario government."It's pretty meaningful for everybody, this isn't something the government organizes, this is something the people do," said Finance Minister Jim Flaherty who was among the several people gathered on one overpass.Honrburg grew up in Calgary, joining the reserves in high school. He studied history and anthropology before deciding to join the military full time, eventually requesting that he be sent to Afghanistan.Hornburg spoke to CTV News in July, just weeks before his deployment to Afghanistan. He said his family was nervous about him going to Afghanistan, but that he felt it was time to go.

Funeral of Cpl Nathan Hornburg - A Hero's Farewell
City Salutes a Fallen Soldier (Calgary)

Two friends at the public funeral Thursday for fallen soldier Nathan Hornburg share an emotional embrace at the Roundup Centre.
Hornburg is the third Calgary soldier to be killed in Afghanistan. Photo Credit: Jenelle Schneider, Calgary HeraldWhen he was five, Nathan Hornburg set up squadrons of battling green plastic toy soldiers across the living room floor and made up war stories.On Thursday, veteran soldiers with their own war stories to tell, joined Cpl. Hornburg's family and friends in honouring the 24-year-old reservist from Calgary, killed fighting a prolonged battle against insurgents in Afghanistan.A sombre fellow reservist told the more than 1,000 mourners gathered at his funeral that Hornburg died a hero."Under heavy enemy fire he did what only those with an iron will can do," said Sgt. Pablo Fernandez, who trained with Hornburg at the King's Own Calgary Regiment. "He charged forward."We didn't know it then, but the time we spent with Cpl. Nathan Hornburg we spent in the presence of a hero."Hornburg, killed on Sept. 24.Men and women in uniform joined boys and girls in jeans at the Roundup Centre in the heart of Calgary on Thursday afternoon for an emotional funeral, rich with military tradition.Korean War vets, with poppies pinned to their breast pockets, sat not far from Hornburg's high school friends.Decorated soldiers with watery eyes held their berets tight to their hearts, while mothers and fathers, many wearing yellow ribbons, hugged their young children.Calgary police, firefighters and paramedics joined local and provincial dignitaries, including Lt.-Gov. Norman Kwong, in paying respects.Abram Neustater, who as a young man served three tours with the Canadian Forces in the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, felt lucky to be there."The missions were as important, but we, as soldiers, were a lot safer then," said Neustater, now 73. "If there were suicide bombers in my day, I might not have come home, either."Hornburg was killed by mortar fragments after dismounting from the armoured recovery vehicle he was driving to repair a tread that had fallen off the tank.He was less than a month into a six-month tour."He lived and died like few people dare," said Fernandez.Hornburg's funeral honoured his love of the military, but also recognized his life outside the Canadian Forces.A photo tribute set to music showed images of a smiling Hornburg hanging out with friends, and as a toddler playing with his older sister, Rachel, she dressed like a princess, complete with a sparkling tiara.The last picture showed the soldier dressed in his camouflage fatigues waving goodbye, moving many in the crowd to tears.Growing up, all Hornburg ever wanted to do was join the army, said his longtime friend, Sara Leishman.He formed toy guns from tree branches and played war with his friends.In late August, before he left for Afghanistan, Hornburg told friends he was fulfilling his duty.He wanted girls in Afghanistan to be able to go to school, Leishman said."I am protecting my country and I am protecting the citizens of Afghanistan," said Hornburg.Rachel -- who kicked her brother the day the newborn came home from the hospital -- read from Robert Frost's poem The Road Not Taken.
I am posting a copy of the poem:
The Road Not Taken

By Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

"He chose to go down the road that not many in the nation do," she said.
Earlier, hundreds of mourners clasped hands and wiped away tears as Hornburg's casket, topped with the soldier's beret and bayonet, was shouldered by eight military pallbearers and slow marched across the Stampede grounds and into the Roundup Centre.Debora Lloyd, who taught Hornburg at the private Waldorf school in Calgary, was among those who arrived early to greet the procession."He died not only for our country, but for another country to make the world a better place," she said."There's a need for everyone that's been touched by this to be present and find their own way to accept what happened."His family, including mother Linda Loree and father Michael Hornburg, sat in the front row during the service, surrounded by family.Loree wore a Memorial Cross on her left lapel and a red poppy on the other.Hornburg's father also wore a Memorial Cross, an honour given to parents of fallen soldiers.Before her son's casket was taken from the Roundup Centre, a soldier presented the grieving mother with the Canadian flag that had draped her son's casket since it left Afghanistan more than a week ago.Cpl. Cade Seely, who is also part of the Edmonton-based Lord Strathcona's Horse squadron Hornburg was attached to while overseas, has spent every day with his comrade's casket.As per military protocol, the reservist was assigned to guard the casket from Khandahar to Calgary, until the fallen soldier is safely laid to rest in Nanton on Saturday.Seely, who was the only person at the funeral dressed in the full military fatigues worn by soldiers in Afghanistan, was emotional when asked how overwhelming the duty has been."It's been such an honour and a privilege," he said.

The procession escorting the body of Cpl. Nathan Hornburg makes its way through city streets to the Roundup Centre on Thursday for a public funeral.Photograph by : Lorraine Hjalte, Calgary Herald As Loree stoically followed her son's casket from the hall, she gripped his black beret and a service medal.Hornburg's best friend Michael Pederson held her arm as they headed toward the waiting hearse.Gunshots filled the silent afternoon air as a dozen Calgary soldiers fired three rifle volleys into the air to honour their fallen comrade.A lone trumpeter played the Last Post.Soldiers gave a final salute as a police motorcade led the procession away.It's the third time Calgarians have said goodbye to a soldier killed serving in Afghanistan since 2002.Strangers like Fonda Yang, who had never met the soldier, felt saddened by his death."I really appreciate his sacrifice; because of soldiers like him, we can live this life."


Anonymous said...

Martha Mihaly said...
Hi MM,
Please extend my condolences to Cpl Hornburg's family.
A tribute has been created for him at Respectance.

9:48 AM

Military Mom said...

As always you are there for our soldiers.
Thank you Martha.

11:06 PM

Anonymous said...

We are honoured.

7:30 AM