Valcartier Soldiers Are Demonstrating Their Bravery

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Private Jonathan Couturier from the 2nd Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment, based in Valcartier, Quebec was serving as a member of the 2nd Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment Battle Group.

A Canadian Forces chaplain spoke of the fragility of life, as family members of the latest Valcartier-based soldier to die in Afghanistan were quoted as saying that Private Jonathan Couturier felt less than totally committed to the war effort.

"We note, once more, how life is fragile," Chaplain Bonnie Mason was quoted as saying during a final prayer before nearly 3,000 people, most of them military personnel, present at a ceremony last week at the Kandahar base. "Suddenly and sometimes brutally, we leave this world without saying a word, without saying goodbye."

Couturier's brother and sister-in-law were quoted as saying the Canadian Forces private was "fed up" and "didn't want to go" to Afghanistan.

Couturier last Thursday became the 131st Canadian Forces soldier to die in Afghanistan, yet another victim of a roadside bomb. Couturier was a member of the 2nd Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment Battle Group.

Couturier was killed when an improvised explosive device detonated in the vicinity of his vehicle while on patrol in Panjwai District. The incident occurred approximately 25 kilometres southwest of Kandahar City at around 10:15 a.m., Kandahar time, Thursday.

Eleven other soldiers on foot patrol in the vicinity of the explosion were also injured. The injured soldiers were evacuated by helicopter to the Multi-National Medical Facility at the Kandahar Airfield and are in good condition. The identities of the injured soldiers will not be released.

Couturier's body arrived at the Canadian Forces Base in Trenton, Ontario Sunday afternoon.

Gouvernor General Michaëlle Jean, Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay and Chief of the Defence Staff General Walt Natynczyk.

As he has done following the deaths of other Canadian Forces soldiers in Afghanistan, Peter MacKay, issued a statement today eulogizing Private Couturier's sacrifice.

"I would like to express my profound condolences to the family and friends of Private Jonathan Couturier, who died as the result of an improvised explosive device detonating near his vehicle on a road in Panjwai District, southwest of Kandahar City," said MacKay.

"I would also like to express my support to the family and friends of the soldiers injured in the same incident, and wish them a quick recovery. Canada is in Afghanistan at the request of the democratically elected Afghan government and as part of a UN-mandated, NATO-led mission.

"While the mission remains challenging, our men and women in uniform are meeting these challenges on a daily basis. We remain steadfast in our objective to help Afghans build a brighter future for themselves so they may live in freedom.

"Private Jonathan Couturier was an exceptional Canadian and soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. He has earned the recognition and the respect of his country."