Sapper Brian Collier

7 July 1986 - 20 July 2010


My Brother My Hero

Sister remembers her hero - photo

Town to honour Sapper Brian Collier

Firefighters salute Sapper Brian Collier

Facing Christmas without Brian


Heartfelt thank you, from Brian's Family

Bradford Times, 12 August 2010

To the editor: Brian Collier was not the only hero on the highway on Friday, July 23. We cannot express in words how we have been affected by the outpouring of support from our country and our community, beginning with the loving care and tender mercy shown for Brian by his military family. They are truly brothers who are grieving the loss of Brian as much as we are.

Our family has been surrounded by love and care from our relatives both near and far. We have the best neighbours in the best community we know. We would like to thank our parish community of Holy Martyrs of Japan Church for their grace and compassion during such a difficult time for us. We were all able to celebrate a beautiful funeral mass together. Our municipal officials and employees led by our Mayor Doug White attended to all sorts of details, and led a fabulous contingent to the highway bridges. Our Legion offered great support to all who needed it. Our employers have offered us great assurance and support. Sobeys grocery store nourished our hearts with their wonderful sign, and our bodies with fabulous food. Brian's friends at The Village Inn provided a bounty of chicken wings at the lunch reception that our Legion Auxiliary and our CWL worked so hard to prepare. The flowers and cards, which we have received, were truly works of art. All of our community paying tribute to Brian at the side of the road was heartwarming. Skwarchuk funeral home provided gentle guidance, when we were blinded by grief; their ability to co-ordinate a military funeral with our Catholic church was inspiring. Thousands of people shared their love of Brian with us at the visitation wake and also at the funeral mass. When our choir led us all to sing O Canada, we can honestly say we have never heard it sung so beautifully. Our firemen, police and emergency personnel dedicated so much time to our son's needs.

We have been truly blessed by all. When our community started to applaud the life of Brian Collier as we drove away from the church, I know he would have been so grateful, and filled with pride and joy. However, as much as many of us have done, none of this equals the ultimate sacrifice Brian has made. We shall remain forever grateful. God Bless all of you.

Heartfelt thanks from the Family of Sapper Brian Collier, 1CER

- Jim, Carol, Shannon, Jennine and Lauren Collier


Thousands take part in farewell to fallen soldier

Jay Gutteridge, Jul 29, 2010 - 3:41 PM, Simcoe.com

Thousands of people gathered at Holy Martyrs of Japan Catholic Church and lined the streets of Bradford to pay tribute to Sapper Brian Collier earlier today.

Sapper Collier's funeral took place this morning at the church, where people who couldn't get a seat inside stood outside and listened to the service on speakers.

"Brian knew what was right and honourable and was never hesitant to let people know," Father Larry Leger said, reading a statement from the Collier family. "So for Brian, let's always do what is right. Always honour Brian's memory and live life to its fullest; to your full potential."

Before the service, Sapper's Collier's body was taken in a procession from Skwarchuk Funeral Home to the church, with people lining the route holding Canadian flags.

Reading the Collier family's statement, Father Leger spoke of the time leading up to Sapper Collier's deployment overseas.

"Brian had spent the last year reconciling with everyone he thought that he may have wronged," he read aloud. "It was important to him that he was healing any wounds in others and in himself.

"His great concern was to protect all whom he knew."

In his homily, Father Boniface Perri spoke of the difficulty of finding consoling words for Sapper Collier's family and friends.

"What do you tell his friends and his family of faith when they ask, 'Why now? Why this way?', and all you really want to say is, 'I don't know'," he said.

"But here's one thing I do know: Brian's life mattered; it mattered a lot," Father Perri continued. "If the value of a man is how many people will remember him well, and how many people he touched and loved, and how many people loved him back, then, my dear friends, look around to all those people that he touched and he loved, and now each in their own way love him back.

"Brian was successful in every sense of the word."

Sapper Collier, 24, who was raised in Bradford, was killed July 20 by an improvised explosive device while on foot patrol in the Panjwa’i District, 15 kilometres southwest of Kandahar City, Afghanistan.

After the service, the vehicle procession took Sapper Collier's body through the heart of Bradford and past his family home before heading to the cemetery for a private family service.

People gathered with flags on the streets once again for the second procession, paying tribute to one of Bradford's own.


Sapper Brian Collier Returning Home

Bradford West Gwillimbury Times, 26 July 2010.

Sapper Brian Collier will return to Bradford via police escort on Tuesday afternoon. The family has requested this be low key as the family wants to pay their respects but would prefer there not be a large crowd along Holland St. W. at that time.

The visitation will be Wednesday 2-4 pm and 7-9 pm at Holy Martyrs of Japan Church, 167 Essa St.

The funeral will be Thursday, July 29th at 11 a.m. at Holy Martyrs.

The processional route to the cemetery has yet to be finalized.


Community pays tribute to fallen soldier

The Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury organized buses to take people

Jay Gutteridge, Simcoe.com, July 23, 2010

Three buses and a train of other vehicles headed from Bradford to the Highway of Heroes today to pay tribute to Sapper Brian Collier.

"We're really feeling for the family and the community's loss," Bradford Legion president Frank Lotto, who was among the people boarding the buses, said.

Sapper Collier, 24, who was raised in Bradford, was killed July 20 by an improvised explosive device while on foot patrol in the Panjwa’i District, 15 kilometres southwest of Kandahar City, Afghanistan.

Since then, the community has been rallying around Sapper Collier's family and paying tribute to the soldier.

The Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury organized the bus trips, which left from Bradford and District Memorial Community Centre, and the Bradford Board of Trade is encouraging businesses to put up Canadian flags in their storefronts.

Sapper Collier's repatriation ceremony took place this afternoon in Trenton. Like all of Canada's fallen soldiers, his body then left in a motorcade down the Highway of Heroes, Hwy. 401.

Many young people were among those boarding the buses, including Mac, Allie and Jaimee-Lisa Cotter, 9, 14 and 17, respectively, Michael Dilosa, 12 and Jon Minnema, 17.

Jaimee-Lisa said it was important for her to pay her respects in part because many Canadians who are close to her age are involved in the war in Afghanistan and the soldiers are fighting for the rights of not only Canadians, but people in other countries.

"I think also, because it's a small town, when someone this close to us is killed in the line of duty, we should all respect that," Allie said.

Mr. Minnema, who is a member of Queen's York Rangers in Aurora, said his older brother was friends with Sapper Collier.

"It's a personal thing for me to go down and show my respects," he said.

Irene James of Cookstown said her son died at a young age, so she knows what it's like for parents to lose a child.

"It's just the support of the people in that time that helped see us through," she said.

She also spoke of the large amount of people boarding the buses.

"I think it's wonderful," she said of the community support. "I think it's really good for the family."

Bradford West Gwillimbury Deputy Mayor Dennis Roughley, whose father died in the Second World War, said he could empathize with the Collier family.

"It's a very tragic time, unfortunately," he said. "At the same time, to see the community rally behind the family, it's a good thing to see that support."

Flags around Bradford West Gwillimbury were lowered to half-mast with the news of Sapper Collier's death, including those at the Legion hall.

Sapper Collier is the 151st member of the Canadian military to die in Afghanistan, and the Legion lowers its flags for every Canadian soldier who dies in the line of duty.

"We want to keep our flag raised, but for some reason, we keep dropping it to half-mast," Mr. Lotto said of the desire to see soldiers come home safely.

The original plan for the buses was to head to the Hwy. 401 overpass at McCowan Road, but organizers decided to head for the overpass at Victoria Park Avenue before the buses left.


Latest Afghan casualty honoured as hero

Defence minister delays departure to attend ceremony

By Matthew Fisher, Postmedia News July 22, 2010

Sapper Brian Collier was bid adieu Wednesday night by Defence Minister Peter MacKay, Canada's top soldier Gen. Walt Natynczyk and several thousand fellow soldiers.

Collier's casket, adorned with a Canadian flag and his green engineer's beret, was slow marched by eight grim sappers past long lines of mourners and then placed in a CC-130 Hercules transport aircraft for the 11,000-kilometre journey home.

But before the 17th Canadian combat engineer to die in Afghanistan began his final journey, his commander, Maj. Jim Smith, praised him as "absolutely selfless, "a true warrior" and "a true hero" who "put his friends and section mates first."

Smith recalled how in early June, Collier had only been metres away when an improvised explosive device blew up, killing another combat engineer, Sgt. Martin Goudreault of Sudbury, Ont.

"He was thrown to the ground with damage to his hearing and was knocked unconscious," Smith said of Collier.

"Regardless of his own injuries," when Collier regained consciousness, "he immediately took command of the situation, telling those nearby to stay still as he cleared a lane to Sgt. Goudreault so that first responders could react. He then grabbed one of his section mates and, on his own, he cleared a helipad, an emergency helicopter landing zone for the evacuation of the sergeant."

Collier of Bradford, Ont., and 1 Combat Engineer Regiment in Edmonton was just past two months into his first tour in Afghanistan when he was killed. The 24-year-old is survived his mother, Carol, and his father, James, as well as a sister.

He died Tuesday morning when a homemade landmine exploded while he was on a foot patrol 15 km southwest of Kandahar City. He was the 151st Canadian soldier to die in Afghanistan since Ottawa first sent troops here in 2002 and the 13th killed here this year.

"He gave his life bravely in Afghanistan for a cause he and Canadians feel strongly about," MacKay said at the end of a four-day visit that he and Natynczyk had with the troops. The minister, who spoke with Collier's family by telephone on Wednesday, delayed his departure so that he could attend the ramp ceremony.

Combat engineers have one of the most dangerous jobs in Afghanistan. With improvised explosive devices the Taliban's weapon of choice, engineers are frequently called out to find and neutralize them.

After Goudreault's death "Brian knew exactly how dangerous his job was," Padre Carol Bateman told the several thousand soldiers gathered on the tarmac for the ramp ceremony. "In spite of his own involvement and most likely fear, Brian was convinced that he should carry on with the mission."

His commander, Smith, concurred. After the first explosion which killed his friend, Goudreault, Smith said he had several conversations with Collier and that "once he recovered from his injuries, he was very eager to get back out and join his section on the battlefield."

The last ramp ceremony before Wednesday was on June 27 when Master Cpl. Kristal Giesebrecht and Pte. Andrew Miller of CFB Petawawa in the upper Ottawa Valley were similarly honoured.

The medics had been killed a day earlier as Canadian troops responded to a call for help from an Afghan family in Panjwaii whose doorway had been rigged by the Taliban with a homemade bomb.

Copyright (c) The StarPhoenix


Soldier his family’s hero: sister

Brian Collier joined the military because it let him “be his own person; be a leader,” his sister, Shannon, said.

Jay Gutteridge, Simco.com, July 22, 2010

Sapper Brian Collier loved his family and friends, the family dog, the military, sports and his car, his sister, Shannon, said.

Sapper Collier, 24, was killed Tuesday by an improvised explosive device while on foot patrol in the Panjwa’i District, 15 kilometres southwest of Kandahar City, Afghanistan.

He was born in Toronto but his family moved to Bradford when he was an infant.

“He was very protective. I always wanted to be with my older brother,” Shannon, 21, said.

“He was the best.

“He was our big brother and our hero.”

Sapper Collier is also survived by his father, Jim, mother, Carol, and sisters Jennine, 19 and Lauren, 12.

He joined the military because it gave him many options and career choices, Shannon said.

“He could be himself; be his own person; be a leader,” she said of why he joined.

Sapper Collier is a graduate of Bradford District High School.

He was adventurous, loved snowboarding and played hockey, rugby, baseball and other sports, Shannon said.

In fact, when he joined the military, he had a choice of being stationed in Edmonton or Petawawa and he chose Edmonton because it was close to the prime snowboarding locations in the Rocky Mountains, she said.

“Brian had to have the best of everything.”

He also loved his car, an Audi, and was always tinkering with it, she said.

While serving in Afghanistan, Sapper Collier would often phone and e-mail home. Shannon said she last spoke with him Sunday.

“We didn’t like talking about (his experiences in Afghanistan),” she said. “It was a way to get his mind off it.

“He ended every phone call with, ‘I love you’.”

Sapper Collier was a member of the 1 Combat Engineer Regiment. He was serving in Afghanistan with 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group.

“Sapper Brian Collier was a remarkable Canadian and a dedicated soldier,” Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay said in an official statement. “He made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and has earned the recognition and respect of us all.”

Sapper Collier was injured earlier in his tour of duty by another IED, but recovered and went back to active duty.

“Our town is incredibly proud of this young man and the way he dedicated his life to this country,” Bradford West Gwillimbury Mayor Doug White said.

The town has offered the family use of its facilities for a memorial service, he said.

Sapper Collier’s repatriation ceremony is planned for tomorrow in Trenton.

This article is for personal use only courtesy of Simcoe.com - a division of Metroland Media Group Ltd. 


STATEMENT FROM THE FAMILY OF SAPPER BRIAN COLLIER

Wed, Jul 21 2010

We are thankful for all of the support that our family has received over the past few days. We are deeply saddened by the loss of our young son, brother and great friend. He lived and died as a hero, and will always be in our hearts. At this time it would be greatly appreciated if all could respect the privacy of the family at this point in time. 

The Collier Family


Our Soldier

By Miriam King, Bradford West Gwillimbury Times, 21 July 2010

Bradford West Gwillimbury has sent a number of soldiers to serve in Afghanistan.

For the first time, a Bradford resident is listed among the casualties.

Brian Collier, a 24 year old Bradford native, a Sapper with the 1 Combat Engineer Regiment out of Edmonton, was killed by an improvised explosive device on July 20 after he stepped from his armoured vehicle in Nakhonay, about 15 km. west of Kandahar. Nakhonay is located in the volatile eastern Panjwaii District, an area of strong Taliban insurgency.

Collier began his tour of duty just months ago, on the weekend before Mother's Day, with the 1st Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group. Three weeks after arriving in Afghanistan, he was injured in an IED explosion. He worked hard to recover, and return to duty.

"He loved being a soldier," said his mother, Carol Collier. The family is grieving, devastated by the loss of a son and brother for whom family was all-important.

"His concern was for everybody here," Carol said. "He's just going to be missed by a lot of people."

Brian Collier played minor hockey and baseball growing up in Bradford, and graduated from Bradford District High School. He worked for Jonkman & Sons Greenhouses, and as a landscaper, before deciding to enter the military 3 years ago.

"He was extremely proud to be a soldier," said Carol.

Bradford West Gwillimbury Mayor Doug White spoke with the family. "Our Town is extraordinarily proud of this young man and the way he dedicated his life to his country... It's an incredible loss," White said.

Flags in the municipality are flying at half-staff.

Sapper Brian Collier will be returning to Canada on Friday, and travelling the Highway of Heroes. A wake will be held at Holy Martyrs of Japan Catholic Church, after his body is released to the family.

"The military, and our church and our community, have been wonderful," said Carol.

Collier, who celebrated his 24th birthday on July 7, is survived by his parents, Jim and Carol, and three sisters.

(With notes from Marge Bruineman).


Ramp ceremony for Canadian sapper in Kandahar; MacKay, defence chief present

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - Canadian troops and their NATO allies attended a ramp ceremony Wednesday night to say good bye to Sapper Brian Collier, the latest Canadian soldier to die in the Afghan mission.

It's become a familiar sight: hundreds of NATO troops standing quietly, silhouettes in the night _ a time chosen not only to avoid the scorching daytime heat but to minimize the risk of insurgent attack during the summer fighting season.

Collier, 24, who had escaped death once after an encounter with an improvised explosive device on his current tour of Afghanistan, lost his life Tuesday.

He was out of his vehicle on a foot patrol in the village of Nakhonay, 15 kilometres southwest of Kandahar city, when he was killed by an IED blast.

His commanding officer, a fellow combat engineer, disclosed some details about Collier's earlier brush with death on June 6.

"There was an explosion that led to the death of Sgt. Martin Goudreault, and Sapper Collier took command of that situation," said an emotional Maj. Jim Smith. "He was only metres away from that blast and he was thrown to the ground with damage to his hearing and he was knocked unconscious."

"But regardless of his injuries, he ... took command of the situation, telling those who were nearby to stay still as he cleared a lane to Sgt. Goudreau so the first responders could react," he added.

"He is one of those guys that we all admire," Smith said. "He was absolutely selfless. He put his friends and those section mates first _ a true hero."

Some 1,500 Canadian, Dutch, American and British troops marched smartly onto the tarmac, then stood at rigid attention while the light armoured vehicle transporting Collier's body slowly made its way onto the airfield.

Spotlights on the runway lit up a narrow pathway for the guard of honour, to the familiar skirl of bagpipes. The casket _ shrouded, as always, in a Canadian flag _ was carried to a waiting military transport plane by eight of Collier's fellow soldiers.

The Panjwaii district, in which Nakhonay is located, has long been a thorn in the side of the Canadian soldiers in Kandahar province. Countless operations have taken place in Panjwaii, but the Taliban have returned after the Canadians left.

The region remains something of a Taliban refuge, with mud-walled compounds, grape orchards and vast fields of marijuana and poppies offering abundant hiding places _ both for foot soldiers and for the IED-making operations.

On hand to pay tribute at the ramp ceremony were Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Gen. Walter Natynczyk, the chief of defence staff. They were visiting Kandahar Airfield.

"I want to express our sincere condolences and our respects to the family of Sapper Brian Collier who gave his life bravely in Afghanistan for a cause that he and we in the Canadian Forces and Canadians believe in very strongly," MacKay told reporters.

"We are thinking of his parents and his comrades. We had a chance to pay our respects to him a short while ago."

In a statement released by the military, the Collier family said:

"We are thankful for all of the support that our family has received over the past few days. We are deeply saddened by the loss of our young son, brother and great friend. He lived and died as a hero, and will always be in our hearts."

"At this time it would be greatly appreciated if all could respect the privacy of the family at this point in time."

Collier was born in Toronto and raised in Bradford, Ont.

A member of 1 Combat Engineer Regiment based at CFB Edmonton, he was serving in Afghanistan with the 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group. It was his first deployment to Afghanistan.


Toronto-born soldier killed in Afghanistan

Jasmeet Sidhu, Toronto Star July 21, 2010

Carol Collier heard the doorbell ring in her Bradford home at 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

Even before she got to the door, she knew.

Her son, 24-year-old Sapper Brian Collier, had been killed in Afghanistan from an improvised explosive device in the village of Nakhonay, 15 kilometres southwest of Kandahar city.

“I don’t sleep anymore . . . I just kind of had a sick feeling in my stomach when the doorbell rang,” Carol said.

Collier had escaped death earlier in his tour when another roadside bomb left him hurt, but not seriously injured. That incident made his family even more worried for Collier.

“I didn’t want to open the door,” she said, knowing that the men in military garb who stood at her doorstep could only mean one thing.

“I knew that’s what it would be.”

Toronto-born Collier, the eldest brother to three younger sisters in a tight-knit family, a man who would “end every conversation with I love you,” began his first tour of Afghanistan the weekend before Mother’s Day.

He is the 151st Canadian soldier to die in the Afghan mission since it began in 2002. Collier was leaving his vehicle in Nakhonay, when he was killed by the roadside bomb.

“We’re still in shock, we’re surrounded by everyone who loved him,” Carol told the Star on Tuesday from the Bradford home where Brian grew up, where family and friends gathered to provide support.

Collier graduated from Bradford High School and joined the military about three years ago, fascinated by the sense of physical challenge, camaraderie and family that the Canadian military represented.

“He was his sisters’ hero, he was just wonderful. He was so proud to be a soldier,” Carol said, struggling to keep her tears at bay. She said she had trepidation when Collier left for Afghanistan, but nonetheless was proud of him.

Shannon Collier, the eldest of Brian’s three younger sisters, spoke about how much she looked up to her big brother along with her sisters Jennine, 19, and Lauren.

“My brother was a hero to us all. We are all very proud of him and love him so much,” she said.

Shannon said that Collier was an adventurous man who loved sports including skydiving, white water rafting, snowboarding and hockey.

“He loved the thrill. He was full of life.” she said.

Carol added that on the weekend Brian left in early May, he didn’t want a big family gathering to send him off.

“He didn’t want all of us there, he was afraid his sisters would get too upset,” Carol recalls.

“We went down to Petawawa, and he was proud to introduce us to his sergeants. He was excited and calm, and he was very proud of himself.”

A member of 1 Combat Engineer Regiment based at CFB Edmonton, Collier was serving in Afghanistan with the 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group.

Collier had been actively posting updates and photos to his Facebook account. It gave a glimpse into the hardships and joys of serving as a soldier in Afghanistan.

“Leavin for afghan tomorrow catch ya on the flipside!” he wrote on May 6.

On July 7, he wrote: “thanks for the birthday wishes ya’ll... my cake was food from a bag... my suprise was gettin shot at by taliban..... awesome!”

Collier had recently joined the Facebook group “Canadian Combat Engineers: Remembering the Fallen” and wanted to take a trip to Bali in November.

Collier’s last post was on Monday at 12:35 p.m.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered his condolences on behalf of all Canadians to Collier’s family and friends.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time,” he said in a statement. “The bravery and remarkable commitment of Canadians like Sapper Collier are bringing safety and stability to the people of Afghanistan.”

Brig.-Gen Jonathan Vance, commander of Task Force Kandahar, said Collier was known for his easygoing nature and sense of humour. He said Collier was an automobile enthusiast who loved to spend time with his Audi.

“Today, the entire task force, both military and civilian, is mourning our fallen comrade. Any Canadian who could have seen Brian in action would have been proud of him and proud of our country for the work being done with and for Afghans,” Vance told reporters in Kandahar.

“Previously injured in a separate IED strike, Sapper Collier fought hard to overcome his injury in order to get back to doing his job with his comrades,” Vance added.

“We are working so diligently in the Panjwaii district so that we can bring about the sort of positive changes that have resulted from our operations over the past year in neighbouring Dand district. We seek to do the same in Panjwaii over the next year.”

With files from the Canadian Press


Canadian Sapper Brian Collier killed by IED blast in Afghanistan

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - A young Canadian soldier who had escaped death in an earlier encounter with an improvised explosive device was killed Tuesday while on a foot patrol southwest of Kandahar city.

Sapper Brian Collier, 24, had dismounted from his vehicle in the village of Nakhonay, 15 kilometres southwest of Kandahar city, when he was killed by an IED blast.

It's the first Canadian death in Afghanistan since June 26, when two medics — Master Cpl. Kristal Giesebrecht, 34 and Pte. Andrew Miller, 21 — died. Their vehicle had also detonated an IED.

"Canadian soldiers are in a constant struggle with insurgents in places like Nakhonay and elsewhere in the Panjwaii district," said Brig.-Gen. Jonathan Vance, the commander of Task Force Kandahar.

"We are working so diligently in the Panjwaii district so that we can bring about the sort of positive changes that have resulted from our operations over the past year in neighbouring Dand district. We seek to do the same in Panjwaii over the next year."

Collier had been wounded earlier on this tour of duty.

"Previously injured in a separate IED strike, Sapper Collier fought hard to overcome his injury in order to get back to doing his job with his comrades," said Vance.

"Today, the entire task force — both military and civilian — is mourning our fallen comrade. Any Canadian who could have seen Brian in action would have been proud of him and proud of our country for the work being done with and for Afghans," he added.

Collier was born in Toronto and raised in Bradford, Ont.

A member of 1 Combat Engineer Regiment based at CFB Edmonton, he was serving in Afghanistan with the 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group. It was his first deployment to Afghanistan.

Vance said Collier was known for his easygoing nature and sense of humour, and was an automobile enthusiast who loved to spend time with his Audi.

Since his arrival in Afghanistan in May, Collier actively posted updates and photos on his Facebook account, giving his friends a glimpse into his life there.

On July 7, he thanked his friends for birthday wishes.

"My cake was food from a bag... My surprise was gettin shot at by Taliban... awesome!," he wrote in a posting publicly accessible on the social networking site.

One of his final posts was about longing for a beer. A friend replied that a cold brew would be waiting for him upon his return to Canada.

Collier had recently joined a group entitled "Canadian Combat Engineers: Remembering the Fallen."

His profile indicated he planned to take a trip to Bali, Indonesia in November.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper extended his condolences on behalf of all Canadians to Collier's family and friends.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time," he said in a statement. "The bravery and remarkable commitment of Canadians like Sapper Collier are bringing safety and stability to the people of Afghanistan."

Harper said the government was proud of the Canadian Forces, whose dedication and work was protecting Canadian interests and values at home and abroad.

"Sapper Collier’s sacrifice will not be forgotten," he said.


Canadian soldier killed by explosive device

CTV.ca News Staff, Updated: Tue. Jul. 20 2010 8:00 PM ET

Canada has lost another soldier in Afghanistan in an IED attack.

Sapper Brian Collier dismounted from his vehicle Tuesday and was killed by an IED blast. He was 24 years old.

The attack happened near Nakhonay, about 15 kilometres west of Kandahar city.

Collier's death marks the 151st among Canadian military personnel in Afghanistan since Canada's mission began in 2002.

"Canadian soldiers are in a constant struggle with insurgents in places like Nakhonay and elsewhere in the Panjwaii district," said Brig.-Gen. Jonathan Vance, commander of Task Force Kandahar.

"We are working so diligently in the Panjwaii district so that we can bring about the sort of positive changes that have resulted from our operations over the past year in neighbouring Dand district. We seek to do the same in Panjwaii over the next year."

Collier had narrowly escaped death in a previous encounter with an IED earlier in this tour of duty.

Vance said Collier "fought hard" to overcome his injury so he could rejoin his comrades.

"Today, the entire task force -- both military and civilian -- is mourning our fallen comrade. Any Canadian who could have seen Brian in action would have been proud of him and proud of our country for the work being done with and for Afghans."

Collier was a member of 1 Combat Engineer Regiment based at CFB Edmonton. It was his first deployment to Afghanistan.

Born in Toronto and raised in Bradford, Ont., he was serving with the 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group.

2010 CTVglobemedia

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