Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

March 20, 2009 18:55 ET

Statement by the Minister of National Defence on the Death of Four Canadian Soldiers

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 20, 2009) - The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway, issued the following statement today on the deaths of four Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan:

"It is with utmost sorrow that I extend my condolences, and those of all Canadians, to the friends, families, and colleagues of Master Corporal Scott Francis Vernelli, Corporal Tyler Crooks, Trooper Jack Bouthillier, and Trooper Corey Joseph Hayes, who were killed today in two separate IED attacks in Afghanistan. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this time of grief.

These brave soldiers were participating in a joint operation in Kandahar province during the time of the incidents.

My sympathies also go to the eight other brave soldiers who were injured in the same attacks. We are thinking of you and your families during this difficult time. Our condolences also go to the family of the Afghan interpreter who lost his life in one of the incidents.

These dedicated soldiers were doing their part to ensure that Afghanistan will one day achieve and maintain peace and stability. Their loss was not in vain and Canada and the Canadian Forces are committed to this UN-sanctioned, NATO-led mission.

The Canadian Forces family and Canadians everywhere will remain forever grateful for their sacrifice.

Master Corporal Vernelli is a member of the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment and Corporal Tyler Crooks is a member of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment based at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa. Trooper Bouthillier and Trooper Hayes are members of The Royal Canadian Dragoons based at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa.

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