Monday, September 03, 2007

Soldier Back on Canadian Soil

A Repatriation ceremony was held 02 September 2007 at 8 Wing / Canadian Forces Base Trenton for fallen soldier Major Raymond Ruckpaul.
Major Ruckpaul, an armoured officer based at the NATO Allied Land Component Command Headquarters in Heidelberg, Germany, was serving in Kabul, Afghanistan with the International Security Assistance Force Headquarters (ISAF). In attendance to pay their respect were the Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunites Agency, The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Rick Hillier and other dignitaries

Chief of Canada Defense Staff, General Rick Hillier, inspects a Canadian
flag belonging to Brenda Miller of Trenton Sunday afternoon at CFB Trenton.
Ms. Miller has placed the names of the 70 fallen Canadian armed Forces
personnel who died in Afghanistan.
Photo credit:
CFB TRENTON, Ont. -- The shroud of mystery surrounding the death of a Canadian soldier found shot in a secure compound in Afghanistan persisted yesterday as his remains were returned to Canadian soil.
No further details concerning Maj. Raymond Ruckpaul's death were offered as a casket bearing his remains was returned to his family at Canadian Forces Base Trenton in eastern Ontario.
The 42-year-old father of two was found in his barracks Aug. 29 after being "significantly injured" by a gunshot wound. He died about an hour later.
Since then, family members have reported the military has offered no explanation as to how Ruckpaul died.
Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier were similarly tight-lipped at yesterday's ceremony, offering no comment on the soldier's death.
Both men addressed the dozens of civilians who had gathered to show their support and shook hands with them through a chain-link fence. Chief of Canada Defense Staff, General Rick Hillier, inspected a Canadian flag belonging to Brenda Miller of Trenton Sunday afternoon at CFB Trenton. Ms. Miller has placed the names of all 70 Canadian armed Forces personnel killed in Afghanistan on the flag. She brings the flag to every repatriation ceremony at CFB Trenton. Sunday, while Ms. Miller and others waited CFB Trenton to pay respects to Major Raymond Ruckpaul, General Hiller and National Defense Minister Peter McKay went to the base fence line to talk with the public. When the men turned to return to the base tarmack, the public applauded.
Four unidentified family members gathered on the tarmac as the plane baring Ruckpaul's body arrived. They walked slowly behind the casket as it was carried to a waiting hearse.
Ruckpaul lived in Germany with his wife and two children.
The Hamilton native joined the Armed Forces prior to studying geology at McMaster University.
At the time of his death, he was serving at the headquarters of NATO's International Security Assistance Force.
In earlier media reports, Ruckpaul was described by friends and neighbours as a man with heartfelt dedication both to his job and his family.
"He was such a loving person, especially with his kids," said Valerie Bianchetto, a 40-year neighbour of the Ruckpaul family.
"He was so happy about his family. He loved everything in his life."
Ruckpaul's cousin Leona said the family's struggle to come to terms with the soldier's death is exacerbated by the military's silence.
"Everyone's in a state of shock," she said.
"Nobody knows what happened. It will be a very long time before we really know the truth." ...

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