Thursday, January 24, 2008

We Remember Cpl. Etienne Gonthier

With sadness, I announce the name of a fallen Canadian Soldier.

At approximately 1:40 p.m. local time (in Kandahar) yesterday, one Canadian soldier, Cpl Etienne Gonthier, 21 year old, of 5th Combat Engineer Regiment based in Valcartier (Quebec) was part of a team of sappers conducting route clearance ahead of a convoy was killed when the armoured vehicle he was in struck a suspected Improvised Explosive Device (IED), 35 km South-West of Kandahar City in the Panjwaiyi District.
Two Canadian soldiers were also injured. The injured soldiers were evacuated by helicopter to the Multinational Medical Unit at Kandahar Airfield. They are in good condition and have returned to duty. They have completed next of kin self-notification.
Canada has lost a fine Canadian - a brave soldier.
My thoughts and prayers are with the friends and family of Cpl. Gonthier , and with his family - his comrades in Afghanistan. The courage and dedication demonstrated by Cpl. Gonthier in his efforts to assist the Afghan national security forces represent Canadian values in the finest tradition. He will be greatly missed.

God Bless you Cpl Gonthier - "Chimo"
Military Mom

Statement by the Minister of National Defence The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, issued the following statement today on the death of a Canadian soldier in Afghanistan:

"It is with great sadness I learned yesterday of the death of Sapper Etienne Gonthier in Afghanistan. Our thoughts and prayers are also with his two comrades who were also injured in the explosion. Friends and families are foremost in our thoughts in these trying times.Our Canadian Forces are making an immense sacrifice to bring security, democracy and self-reliance to the people of Afghanistan while protecting Canada's values and security.These brave soldiers were part of a convoy traveling through the Panjwayi District of Kandahar Province. Efforts in this region are aimed at creating the conditions for reconstruction and development efforts to flourish in a country ravaged by decades of conflict.The United Nations-mandated mission is making a difference in Afghanistan and we stand proudly with our Canadian Forces members as they strive to bring safety and stability back to people of Afghanistan.Their sacrifice will not be forgotten."

RAMP CEREMONY - His Military Family Says Goodbye

Hundreds bid farewell to Cpl. Etienne Gonthier today. The soldiers saluted the man, called Jellybean by friends, as his body was escorted up the tarmac by eight of his brothers-in-arms.
"It is important to remember he did not die a victim but as a success in the profession he chose,'' said Padre Capt. Claude Pigeon.
The 21-year-old was killed Wednesday by a roadside bomb in the volatile Panjwaii district.
Padre Pierre Bergeron called on Gonthier's friends and family to stay strong despite the tragedy.

Photo Credit: City News
About 150 people lined up along the fence at CFB Trenton Saturday to watch the repatriation of Cpl. Etienne Gonthier.
The laughter and chatter among the crowd came to an abrupt halt at 2 p.m. when a CC-150 Polaris Airbus carrying Gonthier's remains touched down.
Many of those standing along the fence didn't even know the name of the soldier whose return had prompted them to gather, but all said they were there for the same reason: to show support and to show compassion for Gonthier's family.
"I've always wanted to come to one to show my respect," said Diane Langabeer of Picton, Ont.
"I want to show respect not only for the soldier but to the families that have lost their son or daughter."
Langabeer placed a small Canadian flag on the chain-link fence separating her from the repatriation ceremony. The flag, she explained, belonged to a friend's father who was a war veteran.
"The 150 people in attendance hopefully shows the family that Canadians do care and feel empathy when a soldier returns home in the same fashion as Gonthier," Langabeer said. "It's like they haven't died in vain."
Lise Belanger, a Trenton resident whose husband is in the military, was also attending a repatriation for the first time.
She said she too wanted the family to know their loss is recognized by others and their sorrow is understood.
"He died for his country, for liberty and peace," Belanger said.

1 comment:

valsold said...

This is an awesome blog and I'm so glad I came upon it. My son leaves for his second tour in August so from a mother's heart I can relate and stand in your shoes. Thank you so much for taking the time and putting in the effort to make this informative and interesting. It will be a favorite of mine.