Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bombardier Jérémie Ouellet - March 11, 2008

Bombardier Jérémie Ouellet
At approximately 2:15 pm today (Tuesday, March 11th, 2008) Kandahar time, a newly arrived Canadian soldier was discovered in an accommodation room, at the NATO airbase in Kandahar Airfield sparking an immediate military investigation into the circumstances of his death.
Brigadier-General Guy Laroche said that 22-year-old Jérémie Ouellet was part of the latest rotation of troops, the majority of coming to Afghanistan in recent weeks from Shilo, Man.
A Canadian Forces National Investigation Service investigation is ongoing to establish the circumstances surrounding this tragedy. No further details are available at this time, although enemy action has been ruled out.
The identity of the deceased soldier is:Bombardier Jeremie Ouellet, age 22, 1st Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery (1 RCHA), based out of Shilo, Manitoba. He was born in Matane, Que.

The thoughts and prayers of the men and women of the Canadian Forces and those of us here in Canada go out to the family and friends of Bombardier Ouellet both here and overseas.

Statement by the Minister of National Defence on the Death of Bombardier Jeremie Ouellet
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:"I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Bombardier Jeremie Ouellet who died while serving his country in Afghanistan. My thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time.This is a challenging mission, but the Government of Canada and its international allies are committed to helping the Afghan people achieve peace and stability and rebuild their country and its institutions."

Message from Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, on the death of Bombardier Jérémie Ouellet
It was with great sadness that my husband Jean-Daniel Lafond and I learned of the death of Bombardier Jeremie Ouellet, of the 1st Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, stationed at Shilo, in Manitoba.The mission being carried out by our soldiers in Afghanistan is in many respects a very difficult and stressful one. It is a tremendous challenge. We salute the generosity of our women and men in uniform as we know they face ordeals on a daily basis.Canadians join with me to offer our sincerest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Bombardier Jeremie Ouellet. Our hearts are with them as they grieve.
Michaelle Jean

Ramp Ceremony-
Leaving Afghanistan and Coming Home
With the roar of helicopter rotors thudding across the tarmac at Kandahar airfield, the body of Bombardier Jérémie Ouellet began its journey home late Wednesday afternoon.
The 22-year-old artilleryman had been found dead a day earlier in one of the sleeping accommodations at this base. The circumstances of his death have not been revealed and his case is now being probed by a military investigative unit.
But Pierre Bergeron, senior chaplain for the Joint Task Force, told the assembled crowd that today was not the time to ask questions about how this young man died. Instead it is “a time to grieve together and let the family know that we care and share” about their loss.
“Today we unite our hearts and thoughts with the Ouellet family, who lost a son and a brother,” Chaplain Bergeron said. “We send him home so that his family can receive him with love.”
As he spoke the flag-draped coffin of Bombardier Ouellet was waiting at the edge of the tarmac, with two massed ranks of soldiers waiting for him to pass between them. At a shouted command thousands of soldiers brought their hands up in a salute and, accompanied by a lone bagpiper, the coffin was carried slowly to a waiting Hercules.
The ramp ceremony was attended by thousands of soldiers from the other countries contributing to this mission. The diversity of both nation and unit was evident in the varied head dress, which included berets in red, green, blue and black. There were also wedge-shaped caps, ball caps and an Australian bush hat, one side pinned up and a chinstrap holding it in place.
Brigadier-General Guy Laroche, the commander of the Canadian contingent operating out of this base, was standing with other senior officers at the foot of the plane's ramp. At his side was Elissa Golberg, the civilian representative of Canada in Kandahar.
Within minutes the ceremony was over and the plane's crew were preparing for the flight to Canada. Bombardier Ouellet will be accompanied on the long flight by a member of his unit.

Repatriation Ceremony - Friday, March 14, 2008
The body of Jeremie Ouellet has returned to Canadian soil. A military plane carrying the flag-draped casket of Bombardier Jeremie Ouellet arrived at CFB Trenton, Ont. on Friday afternoon. Defence Minister Peter MacKay and other dignitaries met the plane.
Ouellet, 22, a native of Matane, Que., was stationed at CFB Shilo in southern Manitoba.
It was really sombre," said Capt. Nicole Meszaros, a spokesperson for CFB Trenton. "You can see the family struggling to deal with this. And we know they're hurting here at CFB Trenton -- and without sounding cliche, we're hurting for them. It's a sad moment. A sad ceremony."

In an earlier statement, Ouellet's family called him "a dedicated and professional soldier" who was "serving his country with a lot of honour and pride."
"I know what some people are thinking and I can tell you he was not the type of person to commit suicide," said Jérémie's uncle, Alain Ouellet, who operates a gas station and convenience store in Matane.
Mr. Ouellet described his nephew as a big, strong man who, at 250 pounds, didn't drink alcohol or take drugs. He was disciplined and would never use physical force against anyone, Mr. Ouellet said.
"Was it an accident, was he manipulating his weapon, was he cleaning his gun? We don't know. All I can tell you is that he was proud to be a soldier and he was looking forward to being deployed in Afghanistan," Mr. Ouellet said, his voice shaking.
Among the soldiers returning from the previous rotation was Jérémie's brother Michael, who had experienced the stress of military operations in Afghanistan.
"We will miss him a lot as will his friends," the family said in a statement issued yesterday by the Defence Department. "Jérémie will remain in our hearts and we will continue to think of him."

His body was taken by a hearse to Toronto, along a stretch of Highway 401 dubbed Highway of Heroes. As his funeral procession drove along the highway Canadians lined the overpasses to pay their respects.
My prayers are with the Ouellet Family during this difficult time. ~m.m.


Cath said...

I knew him. I went to school with him, through elementary, middle and high school.

He was my boyfriend's friend and I have many memories of him.

It feels so strange...

Christine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christine said...

A very unfortunate event and my family's thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. God bless all those who have, are and will serve our Great Country. Definitely the finest men and women our Country has to offer.

Military Mom said...

I'm reposting my previous comment from 12:25 (forgot to add something)

I'm so sorry Cath~ These are diffucult days ahead. Be supportive toward one another. Honour Jeremie by reflecting on the very precious moments you each shared together. Share those moments with all that come to honour Jeremie as the cherished memories of him will live on forever within. For he has touched many hearts in Canada and in Afghanistan. My prayers are with you.
Cath..if you'd like to, email me at militarymomathome@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

He was a good young man when we were roommates in Shilo. He never had a bad thing to say about anybody and was always happy. He will be missed by us all and never forgotten. I have photos of him that i will treasure as a young soldier and friend.

Anonymous said...

I was serving with him in Afghanistan when he deceased. I spoke with him the night prior to the tragic event. He had been a little down days prior because he didn't want to be sent home due to his leg which he injured while out in the Forward Operating base. The night before, things were looking up, the doctors had told him he may get to finish his tour after all. I was sleeping in the quarters when the event unfolded, as I was working nights. I remember the picture of a soldier he drew on the white board in the quarters, it remained there for the entirety of the tour. He was an amazing artist. I can't say I knew him the greatest, but I was just starting to really get to know him days prior to. I send my condolences to his family. I'm sure you miss him very much.

Anonymous said...

I was at a Rememberance Day concert last Sunday at Dominion Chalmers Church in Ottawa. At the end of the concert, poppies came down from the floor above and floated over the audience. Each had the name of a soldier. The poppy that landed near me was Jeremie's.

Today is November 11, 2010, and I thought by posting this I would let Jeremie's friends and family know that he has not been forgotten. If anyone would like to have the poppy, please contact me at: sjeanayala@hotmail.com, and I will mail it to you.

I was glad to receive Jeremie's poppy and to read something about him on this site. He was a wonderful person.

Susan Ayala


November 11, 2010

Anonymous said...

You know I look at this and I'm going to tell you "MilitaryMom"...And you know damn well he DID NOT serve 2 rotations in Afghanistan. Why the heck do you put this up when you know that YOU were the reason for what he did to himself...YOU "disowned" him from what he used to tell me. It makes me sick to see this, and to be honest you must/should be sick too for you to think that me a close friend to him doesn't know that you're putting up a fake front here (BTW I was the one that picked him up at the airport the Christmas before he left, I know what happened there and what he felt when he came back). My suggestion is to take another look inside yourself and tell me I'm wrong.

Jeremies true friend...Too bad its taken me this long to grieve and say what I have to say.

Military Mom said...

Dear Annonymous
(Jeremie's True Friend)

First I need to send my condolences to you for your loss. He must have been a good friend and I cannot imagine what you have been and are going through.

In my posting, I don't believe I had said that Jeremie had been overseas on his second rotation? If you see this on the posting, please let me know and I'll adjust it immediately. I'm trying to understand why you're upset with me?
I unfortunately did not know Jeremie.
Myself, I'm a mother of a soldier who served 2 tours. I saw my son leave on both rotations. It is so difficult to see them walk out the door. I cannot imagine anguish of them not coming home.

Jeremie had many good friends and family who will miss him dearly.
Canadians will remember him always.

Anonymous said...

I was Jeremy's friend as well as a member of his Gun Detachment. His loss was immensely sad for me. I know how hopeless and scared he felt, as I was the last person to say goodbye to him in the Patrol base, as we waited for the helicopter to arrive. I wish I could have done more to reassure him that things would be OK. Our leadership did not/chose not to understand him. I just want everyone to know that he was a truly wonderful person with many passions. He loved to draw, read history books, discuss the universe and was always there to make you smile if you were feeling down. He was quiet at times, but he voiced the injustices he saw and wanted more than anything to complete this tour to make everyone at home proud.
I will never forget my friend Jeremie or what happened to him. I can only pray that he is now in paradise, resting in peace and knowing that he is loved.
Goodbye my sweet friend and fellow soldier! I hope that I have done your grief some justice!
Peace Jeremie <3