Today at Trenton, Ontario, was the repatriation ceremony for four Canadian soldiers and a journalist killed in Afghanistan on 30 December.

Quoting from the DND press release, these five are “Sergeant George Miok of 41 Combat Engineer Regiment, based in Edmonton, Alberta; Sergeant Kirk Taylor of 84 Independent Field Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery, based in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia; Corporal Zachery McCormack of The Loyal Edmonton Regiment (Fourth Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry), based in Edmonton, Alberta; Private Garrett William Chidley of The Second Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, based in Edmonton, Alberta; and Michelle Lang, a Canwest journalist from Calgary, Alberta”.

The four soldiers were part of a Provincial Reconstruction Team. PRTs are typically composed of reservists, and as their name suggests, provide the aid and civil liason work that combat operations are designed to make possible. Reservists in my experience are keen to volunteer for this duty, and they come from units that are typically small, close knit and highly linked to their local communities. I’m not sure but this may have been the heaviest loss of life from the Army Reserve in one day since we started the Afghan mission.

The four soldiers are:

Sergeant George Miok

Sergeant Kirk Taylor

Corporal Zachery McCormack

Private Garrett William Chidley, the one Regular Army soldier of the group.

The fifth Canadian to return to Canada today was Michelle Lang, a journalist with the Calgary Herald. She is the first Canadian journalist to have been killed in Afghanistan; three have been wounded covering the conflict. I haven’t found any data on Canadian war correspondents killed in earlier wars – she may be the first Canadian journalist killed in a war zone. Other Canadian journalists have faced danger to be sure – CBC journalist Melissa Fung was taken hostage by the Taliban last year.

As well, the funeral of Lt. Andrew Nuttall, killed in Afghanistan on 23 December, is scheduled for tomorrow in Victoria, BC.

Lt. Andrew Nuttall

DND maintains a list of our fallen Canadian soldiers here.

Rest eternal grant to them, O Lord, and may light perpetual shine upon them.