Always in Our Hearts
It is with sadness that today I announce that one Canadian soldier was killed and four were injured in a training accident on a range located approximately 4 km northeast of Kandahar City. The accident took place at about 5:00 p.m., Kandahar time, on 12 February 2010.
Bless Cpl Joshua Caleb Baker
Killed in the accident was Corporal Joshua Caleb Baker, a member of The Loyal Edmonton Regiment (4th Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry), from Edmonton, Alberta, and serving with the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team.
Brigadier General Daniel Menard said Baker had a laugh that lightened any situation.
"Joshua had a laugh rumoured to cure cancer," he said. "No matter where you were or how down you got, his laugh would find your ears and bring a smile to your face."
Baker, from Edmonton, was "an extremely positive, passionate" person, Menard said.
"He had a deep love for his family and worried constantly about them."
In offering his condolences to Baker's family, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Baker "served valiantly in order to build a better future for Afghanistan."
This accident is non-battle related and an investigation by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) is under way to determine the circumstances.
The four injured soldiers were evacuated by helicopter to the Role 3 Multi-National Medical Facility at the Kandahar Airfield. They are reported to be in stable condition and their names will not be released.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of our fallen comrade at this sad time. The commitment and sacrifice of our soldier and his loved ones will always be remembered.
Ramp Ceremony in Afghanistan
Comrades of Cpl. Joshua Caleb Baker said goodbye in a sombre ramp ceremony on Saturday.
Padre Maj. Shaun Yaskiw led the service to honour the 24-year-old Edmonton-based soldier, described as “mentally tough, physically robust and (having) a personality that made him a natural leader.”
A bagpipe played as the soldiers paid their respects to their fallen comrade. Baker's casket was loaded on a plane for the return to Canada, home to his family.
If you wish to leave condolences, please enter them into the comment section and I will transfer them here. With Regards, m.m.
Rest in Peace, Cpl. Baker.
My prayers for all who love this fine young Canadian.
Thank you so much for your heartfelt words. They mean the world to us, Josh's family. He really was a wonderful young man and we concur with you, our lose is deep but our hearts are grateful. We would not trade our sorrow for having known Josh. He left us better because of how truly genuine he was. Genuine in his faith, love for his family, love for his colleagues and friends. He was easy to love, a likeable guy. We will truly miss Josh. Canada will miss Josh.
I happened to be on the Royal Canadian Legion website to look into the Remembrance Day Poster contest information as my 10 year old son came in 2nd place with his poster. I saw the special section for soldiers lost in Afghanistan this year and read each one. Josh's caught my attention and I had to look into finding out more about him. As I read the statements about him, the immensity of his loss resonated with me. As a mother of 2 boys, I cannot imagine the strength it takes to have your son deliberately put himself in harm's way to protect the beliefs in freedom and respect Canada has. I am humbled by you and at the same time, pray I never have to experience the loss you have.
Susan Mladenovich, Whitby Ontario
My heart bleeds for you and your family. After a full year has gone by, I have to share this with you...On the day that your son Joshua was killed in Afghanistan, my husband Keith, was watching the news when he saw the information going across the bottom of the TV screen; "A Canadian soldier was killed today in Afghanistan. Corporal Joshua..." He almost died with fright seeing the name "Corporal Joshua..." on the screen, because, you see, our son "Corporal Joshua Collins" was also on the front lines of Afghanistan, serving in the SAME PRT, at the same time, as your son. For a split second, Keith thought that it was our son Joshua that was killed, until he saw the name "Baker"instead of "Collins" on the screen. He was filled with instant relief which was replaced by instant grief for you and your son Joshua. He came upstairs to tell me what had happened and we were both beside ourselves with grief. As I watched it later on, on the TV, your sons name going across the screen, it broke my heart. All we could think about is that there is a family out there that had just lost their son and it could have easily been ours. Keith and I are both retired from the Canadian Forces and served our Country for many long years. Keith is the president of "Kemmel Ridge" Canadian Army Veteran Motorcycle Unit (CAV) here in Placentia, NL and he just recently found out what the CAV means to you. Our son Joshua, who is now a Master Corporal, knew your son, though, not well. He too was affected deeply by the day that Joshua was killed. Our thoughts and our prayers are always with you. God Bless you and give you the strength to carry on. "MAY JOSHUA'S SUPREME SACRIFICE NEVER BE FORGOTTEN!" REST IN PEACE JOSHUA!!!! xoxoxoxox
Keith & Karyn Collins
"We grieve the loss of Corporal Joshua Caleb Baker who died yesterday in Afghanistan. This brave soldier died as a result of a training accident. I want to take this opportunity to wish a speedy recovery to the four soldiers who were injured in the same incident.
My heartfelt sympathies and thoughts are with the family and loved ones of Cpl Baker, who should be proud of this professional, dedicated soldier. This is a tragic loss for Canada and for the Canadian Forces.
Cpl Baker gave his life helping to create the secure conditions needed to re-establish Afghanistan and carry out reconstruction efforts such as the building of schools, hospitals and roads. We will honour this sacrifice by continuing our efforts to bring freedom, democracy and respect for human rights and the rule of law to Afghanistan.
Canada’s participation in this United Nations-mandated NATO-led mission is a true reflection of the Canadian values of helping those in need and defending the interests of those who can’t yet defend themselves.
His sacrifice will inspire those who give of themselves to create a vibrant, safe and democratic Afghanistan.” - Peter MacKay
An accident in Afghanistan has taken the life of Corporal Joshua Caleb Baker, a member of The Loyal Edmonton Regiment (4th Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry), based in Edmonton, Alberta, and wounded four of his comrades. My husband Jean-Daniel Lafond and I are deeply saddened by this loss, as are all Canadians.
Faithful to the values of caring and solidarity that our country holds so dear, Corporal Baker volunteered to support the mission in Afghanistan that Canada is carrying out alongside other NATO member countries. Together with his brothers and sisters in arms, he was prepared to take on a difficult and dangerous environment.
Corporal Baker served bravely and generously to support Afghans’ hopes for security, justice and a better life. He merits our wholehearted admiration.
Our sincerest condolences go to his family, friends and colleagues. May they take comfort in knowing that we share their pain and that they are not alone.
We also offer our wishes for a speedy recovery to those who were wounded. Our thoughts are with them in these difficult times.~Michaëlle Jean, Governor General