Pte. Colin Wilmot Medic (CANADA) KIA 06 Jul 2008 in Afghanistan
Corpsman.com’s hearts and prayers go out to the Wilmot family, friends and fellow Soldiers who are grieving for his Loss. We will be hosting a Condolence page for Colin in the Corpsman.com Forums.
Please Drop in and leave a line or 2. Maybe some of his loved ones will see that we “AMERICANS” repsect our Canadian Brothers and Sisters who are standing with us. –D/C
Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan remembered as dedicated medic
EDMONTON — The death of young army medic, Pte. Colin Wilmot, in a bomb explosion in Afghanistan reverberated across Canada Monday as family, friends and military comrades tried to cope with his loss.
The 24-year-old came from a family with a long history of military service. Wilmot’s stepfather, Eric Craig, a warrant officer with 2 Royal Canadian Horse Artillery at CFB Petawawa in Ontario, was given the news as he prepared for his own deployment to Kandahar.
The young man’s paternal grandfather, William Wilmot, said he’ll best remember his grandson as a little boy who used to tear around the yard in Haneytown, N.B.
“He was a real chum, a nice boy,” said Wilmot, who spent 25 years in the military himself. “Always easy to get along with.”
Soldiers at the Edmonton Garrison, Colin Wilmot’s home base, took the news hard, setting up a picture of their friend inside the entrance of the 1 Field Ambulance headquarters and lowering the unit’s colours to half mast.
“The hole it leaves is huge. We are a family. It is like losing a family member,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Linford, commanding officer of the unit, who said he has spoken with Laura, the soldier’s fiancee.
“She is clearly in shock and terribly upset at the loss of her fiancee Colin. I can’t help but feel for her. She is definitely suffering.”
Wilmot, who once joked that he decided to become a medic because of the television show MASH, died Saturday night while on a patrol with infantry troops in the volatile Panjwaii district. He was the 87th soldier to die as part of the Afghan mission, which started in 2002.
Medics share the same risks as their combat arms troops, ready to immediately rush in to help soldiers who are wounded in combat or badger them to drink enough water to avoid collapsing from the brutal heat.
“We are not sitting in tents well behind the front lines. They are fully loaded up, armed, including all of their medical gear. All medics who do this job are extremely aware of the dangers that they face,” Linford said.
“I’m impressed by their level of courage and commitment.”
In Kandahar City, at the reconstruction camp where Wilmot was posted, colleagues recalled how he was not originally scheduled to join the current rotation, but demanded to be sent after winning the top award at the Canadian Force’s medic course. He was to return home in September.
“He quickly marched in to see his regiment sergeant-major to indicate he was eager to serve,” said Brig.-Gen. Denis Thompson, Canada’s top soldier in Afghanistan.
“Colin wanted it known that, should a spot become available on the mission, he wanted in.”
As his coffin was loaded on a transport plane for the long journey to an air base in Trenton, Ont., rows of soldiers stood in silent tribute beneath a Canadian flag lowered at half-mast while the mournful skirl of bagpipes filled the evening air.
Cpl. Genevieve Dureau broke into sobs while eulogizing Wilmot at a memorial service at the military camp. She served in Wilmot’s unit.
“He was always there for you no matter what, always helped you, no questions asked – even if it wasn’t in his best interest,” she said.
“He’d walk around with this really goofy smile on his face all the time. I don’t know why. He just did. He was always happy, no matter what the situation was. Colin, you were the nicest guy I’ve ever met and you will be greatly missed.”
In Fredericton, high school friend Andrew Foreman said that Wilmot usually had a smile on his face and something positive to say.
Foreman said he wasn’t surprised by Wilmot’s decision to join the military after they graduated in 2002.
“He was eager, he was driven, he was outgoing – he was a great guy,” Foreman said.
“He was the kind of person who would want to go and help people. That’s probably why he became a medic, that’s just the way he was.”
Melissa Laagland-Winder of Oromocto, N.B., said the soldier, who grew up in the Fredericton area, always seemed to be in good spirits.
“He was just a really down-to-earth guy,” she said. “We always joked back and forth that he was going into the medical field to be something like a MASH doctor, and that was our little joke every time we spoke.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper expressed condolences on behalf of the federal government.
“Private Wilmot was strongly committed to treating members of both the Canadian Forces and Afghan National Security Forces injured in combat,” Harper said.
“He participated in numerous security patrols with his fellow soldiers to ensure that immediate medical assistance was available if someone got hurt. Tragically, he was critically wounded on such a patrol in the Panjwaii district when an explosive device detonated.”
The troops of 1 Field Ambulance are to provide an honour guard at Wilmot’s funeral later this month. Details and location were pending.
“Colin will be brought back to Canada on Wednesday. We will do what we can to support his family,” said Linford, who said a new group of medics is training to deploy to Afghanistan next year.
“We will come back to this base and we will carry on with our mission.”
– With files from Jennifer MacMillan in Halifax and Kevin Bissett in Fredericton