Corporal Christian Bobbitt

  1986 - 1 August, 2009


Two Canadians die in bloody Kandahar weekend

August 03, 2009 

Toronto Star

A hardworking, 23-year-old soldier who had just been promoted to corporal was one of two Canadian soldiers killed in a roadside bomb blast in Afghanistan on Saturday.

The deaths of Cpl. Christian Bobbitt – one of the younger Canadians to be killed there – and an as yet unnamed soldier brings to 127 the number of Canadians killed on the Afghan mission since it began in 2002.

Both soldiers were based in Valcartier, Que. Their bodies are on the way back to Canada, following a ramp ceremony in Kandahar. A third soldier was seriously injured but remains in stable condition in hospital. 

These casualties hinted that August may be no respite from July, which was the bloodiest month for coalition casualties since the Taliban were overthrown in 2002. Seven Canadians were killed last month, and six U.S. soldiers were killed in a 48-hour period ending yesterday.

The two dead Canadians were part of a group of engineers who specialize in clearing the roads of improvised explosive devices and were said to likely have been involved in defusing IEDs found in Kandahar during July.

In a brief phone interview yesterday, Bobbitt's cousin, Donald Joncas, yesterday described him as an enthusiastic and courageous young man who had a strong personal belief in Canada's Afghan mission.

"He'd always step up to the challenges despite the persistent danger in Afghanistan," Joncas recalled from the family home in Sept-Îles, Que. "Participating in this mission was important to him, bringing peace at an international level. In the end, he went for all of us, for his family. And he died there for all Canadians and its government."

Brig.-Gen. Jonathan Vance told reporters in Kandahar the soldiers had dismounted from their vehicle to secure the area in Zhari district after an initial attack, when another IED exploded. But International Security Assistance Force sources in Kabul suggested the secondary strike involved small arms fire.

Bobbitt was a member of the 5th Combat Engineer Regiment. All the men had been in Kandahar since March, as part of the 2nd Battalion of the Royal 22nd Regiment, known as the Van Doos.

"These soldiers are brave, honourable Canadians who deserve the gratitude and respect of this nation," Peter MacKay, Canada's minister of national defence, said in a statement. "Their commitment to service demonstrates Canadian values and traditions in the finest sense."

Vance said Bobbitt was a well-liked soldier with technical expertise who was always there to help his comrades. "He was a hard worker and a great competitor,'' the Canadian commander noted. "He excelled in all that he did, whether it was at Guitar Heroes or on a rink.''

Bobbitt is survived by his wife, Felicia, his brother Jonathan and his parents, Liane and Yvan.

Maj. Yannick Pepin, commander of the 51st Field Engineer Squadron, offered his condolences to both families. "He was kind of the clown of the section."

Bobbitt was also a good friend of the other as yet unidentified soldier, Pepin added. "They were very brave men, very courageous and very proud of what they were doing.

"I can say with confidence that these two brave engineers saved the lives of dozens of innocent people last month alone,'' Vance said.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper extended his condolences to the families and friends of the two slain soldiers. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of these soldiers during this difficult period." Several coalition countries lost troops over an active weekend of insurgent attacks across the country, as the Taliban carries through on their threat to escalate assaults in the run-up to presidential elections on Aug. 20.

In July, at least 74 foreign soldiers were killed here, most of them American and British. For Britain, it was also the worst month for battlefield casualties, with 22 killed, bringing their total losses in Afghanistan since 2001 to 191. France has lost 29 troops in Afghanistan.

With files from Rosie DiManno and The Canadian Press


Soldier's idealism faded through mission, aunt says 

Hours before Christian Bobbitt died, he sent messages home ‘to thank the good Lord' for allowing him to get through close calls

Les Perreaux and Omar El Akkad, Globe and Mail

Montreal and Kandahar, Afghanistan —

Christian Bobbitt went to Afghanistan determined to help civilians, but an aunt says it wasn't long before the young soldier's idealism ran up against harsh reality.

A couple of hours before Corporal Bobbitt died, Geneva Bobbitt says her nephew sent messages home “to thank the good Lord” for allowing him to get through some close calls after a bloody month.

Thoughts of helping Afghans had long since shifted to hope of survival, Ms. Bobbitt said.

“I'm pretty sure he would have come home, given the chance,” she said. “He went to help, but he didn't find what he expected when he got there. They never tell us everything, of course, but you can't imagine what it must be like to see your friends getting blown up.”

Cpl. Bobbitt, 23, vividly described the oppressive heat while wearing heavy equipment, but the young man wasn't one to complain, his aunt said.

“He was always very calm, he was not one to whine if he had a problem,” Ms. Bobbitt said.

The soldier joined the military out of school at 19. In his hometown of Sept-Îles, Que., he was remembered as a young man full of life who was devoted to family.

He is survived by his spouse, Felicia, his brother, Jonathan, and his parents, Liane and Yvan.

An avid video-gamer and hockey player, Cpl. Bobbitt was young but a leader among his fellow soldiers. He earned a promotion just before his arrival in Afghanistan.

Brigadier-General Jonathan Vance, the Canadian task force commander, said Cpl. Bobbitt – known as Bob to his friends – was known for his technical expertise and competitive spirit.

“He was a hard worker, and a great competitor,” Brig.-Gen. Vance said. “He excelled in all that he did, whether it was at Guitar Hero, or on a rink.”

Cpl. Bobbitt was also known for his good humour and teasing jokes.

“He was a very happy guy who made fun of everybody, so he was kind of the clown of the section, but a really good man,” said Major Yannick Pepin, commanding officer of 51 Field Engineer Squadron.

“He made disagreeable situations agreeable.”


Two Canadian soldiers killed by roadside bomb

Updated Sun. Aug. 2 2009 1:21 PM ET, CTV.ca News Staff

One of the soldiers has been identified as Cpl. Christian Bobbitt, 23. The second soldier's name has not been released.

Bobbitt was a member of the 5th Combat Engineer Regiment. The two soldiers had been in Kandahar since March with the 2e Batallion of the Royal 22e Regiment, also known as the Van Doos, based in Valcartier, Que.

A third soldier was seriously injured and taken to hospital, where he is in stable condition.

Brig.-Gen. Jonathan Vance said the soldiers were killed Saturday when their re-supply convoy was hit by two improvised explosive devices in the Zhari district, west of Kandahar City.

The two soldiers had left their vehicle to secure the area after an initial explosion, when a second IED detonated around 3:20 p.m. local time.

According to Vance, Bobbitt, known as "Bob," was both well-liked and well-known for his technical knowledge.

"He was a hard worker, and a great competitor," Vance said. "He excelled in all that he did, whether it was at Guitar Hero, or on a rink."

Bobbitt had just been promoted to corporal.

He is survived by his spouse, Felicia, his brother, Jonathan, and his parents, Liane and Yvan.

The bodies of the two soldiers are already on their way home after a ramp ceremony at the NATO base in Kandahar.

Maj. Yannick Pepin, commander of the 51st Field Engineer Squadron, told reporters that Bobbitt had a great sense of humour.

"He was kind of the clown of the section," said Pepin, who also noted that Bobbitt was close friends with the unnamed soldier.

"They were very brave men, very courageous and very proud of what they were doing," Pepin said. "It's very difficult for us, the loss of these two."

Canadian Press reporter Dene Moore said the troops who worked with the two soldiers will take some time to mourn their friends before continuing with their mission.

"We hear from the fellow soldiers and the commanders who worked with these young men that while they're saddened and they will take some time obviously to deal with the loss of their friends, that these soldiers were proud of what they were doing and in fact they're not going to allow their deaths to be in vain," Moore told CTV News Channel on Sunday.

According to Vance, the two soldiers were part of a group of engineers who clear roads of IEDs. The two likely helped defuse half of the roadside bombs found in Kandahar province in July, Vance said.

"I can say with confidence that these two brave engineers saved the lives of dozens of innocent people last month alone," Vance said.


Two Canadian soldiers killed and one injured in an explosive device strike

CEFCOM NR–09.021 - August 2, 2009

OTTAWA– Two Canadian soldiers were killed and one injured when an improvised explosive device detonated near a patrol in the Zhari District. The incident occurred approximately 15 kilometres west of Kandahar City at around 3:20 p.m., Kandahar time, on 1 August, 2009.

Killed in action was Corporal Christian Bobbitt from 5e Régiment du génie de combat serving as a member of the 2nd Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment Battle Group based in Valcartier, Quebec. The next of kin for the second soldier killed has been notified; however, they have asked for more time to inform other family members. Until such time, the name of the second soldier will not be released.

The injured member was evacuated by helicopter to the Role 3 Multi-National Medical Facility at the Kandahar Airfield and is in stable condition. The identity of the injured member will not be released.

Our thoughts and condolences go to the family and friends of our fallen comrades.

Canadian soldiers and their ANSF partners work together for the greater good of Afghanistan. Security operations sometimes require a heavy price to be paid, but the challenge we face cannot deter us from our ultimate goal and commitment we have toward Afghans.

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