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    Unhappy Merry Christmas To Those Who Wont Be

    Coming Home.... Many families around the world are missing someone who didn't come home on the "Regular Flights".

    'Reeling' family plans Victoria funeral for fallen soldier, en route home

    By Katie DeRosa, with files from Joanne Hatherly, Times Colonist; with files from Canwest News Service December 26, 2009

    The body of Canada's latest casualty in Afghanistan, Lt. Andrew Richard Nuttall of Victoria, will be repatriated during a ceremony at Canadian Forces Base Trenton Monday.

    His parents will fly from Victoria today to receive their son's body, which will emerge from a military aircraft in a flag-draped casket.

    The 30-year-old army officer died Wednesday when an improvised explosive device detonated as he led a foot patrol in the dangerous Panjwaii district southwest of Kandahar City. An Afghan National Army soldier was also killed and an Afghan interpreter was injured.

    Nuttall is the 134th Canadian soldier to die in Afghanistan.

    His body was transported on a military aircraft from Kandahar Airfield after a sombre Christmas Eve ramp ceremony attended by thousands of NATO soldiers.

    It will arrive at CFB Trenton in Belleville, Ont., and from there will be sent to Toronto for an autopsy, which is standard procedure.

    Capt. Darin Guenette, spokesman at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, spoke to Nuttall's brother John on Christmas Eve and said the family plans to have the funeral in Victoria. It still hasn't been determined when or where the service will be held, but Guenette said it will likely take place in the new year.

    The family "is still reeling," said Guenette, adding that they have declined to speak to the media.

    Nuttall is the son of a prominent Victoria doctor and nurse, Richard and Jane Nuttall, and has extended family in Ontario.

    He left for Afghanistan in October for a six-month tour with the Edmonton-based 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. It was his first tour of duty after joining the military in 2007.

    According to a letter sent by Nuttall's family, "he was attracted to joining the Canadian Forces through his personal ideals to help others, plus his love of adventure, physical fitness, and the outdoors. In his almost three years in the Army, his spirit embraced the camaraderie, and he developed a second family."

    Nuttall moved to Victoria with his family in 1997 to study engineering at the University of Victoria.

    He was born in Prince Rupert, but his family moved to Edmonton when he was four weeks old. Nuttall also lived in West Vancouver, Yellowknife -- where he joined the air cadets -- and Regina, where he attended high school.

    His family said in the letter that Nuttall had an "adventurous personality" and enjoyed surfing, snowboarding, hiking and working as a disc jockey.

    After university, Nuttall held a number of jobs in the computer industry before becoming a trainer at Crossfit Vancouver, where he met members of the military, which sparked his interest in joining the Forces.

    At the ceremony in Kandahar, Nuttall's commanding officer, Lt.-Col. Jerry Walsh, remembered him as a popular and well-respected young leader who was operating in one of the most difficult areas of Afghanistan.

    "Andrew had an infectious personality and always had a smile on his face, attributes which the soldiers under his command appreciated when times were tough," said Walsh.


    Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist


    Soldiers carry the casket of Lieut. Andrew Richard Nuttall (inset) who died during a foot patrol, Dec. 23, 2009, in the Panjwaii district of Afghanistan.Photograph by: Michelle Lang/Canwest News Service

    May their service, where ever it may be, never be forgotten.
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    Last edited by MalahatTwo7; 12-26-2009 at 08:20 PM.

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    Default Some Are Luckier Than Others

    Having spent two deployments over the Christmas period, all I can say is "hats off" to them, not everyone is so fortunate.
    Married soldiers celebrate first Christmas together in Afghanistan

    By Michelle Lang, Canwest News Service December 26, 2009

    He is an aviation maintenance officer working in Kandahar. She is a naval logistics officer based in Ottawa.

    But Canadian Forces Maj. Wesley Cunningham and Lt.-Cmdr. Daphne Dale were together in Afghanistan yesterday, where they spent their first Christmas as a married couple under sunny winter skies.

    "It's definitely a special Christmas," said Cunningham before they ate a turkey lunch at this small forward-operating base in the Panjwaii district.

    Following their wedding last summer, Cunningham was deployed to Afghanistan, where he has been working for the past three months. When Dale had the opportunity to come here on a brief four-day assignment, she jumped at the chance to see her husband for the holidays.

    Most Canadian soldiers weren't so lucky. Many of the men and women serving in Afghanistan said they were thinking of family back home as they ate Christmas dinners in mess halls around Kandahar province, where most of Canada's 2,800 soldiers in the country are based.

    "Christmas brings home the fact that you're not with your family," said Trooper Tim Gallagher, who tried to get into the spirit of things by wearing a red Santa hat around Masum Ghar, the base where he is stationed.

    Indeed, soldiers here made the best of Christmas in southern Afghanistan. The officers served dinner -- turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes with gravy.

    Soldiers were even allowed to have two beers on the normally dry Canadian bases.

    At Kandahar Airfield, a sprawling military base near Kandahar City, the Canadian Forces held two Christmas dinners to accommodate the volume of soldiers stationed there.

    "Everyone walked away full and happy," said Capt. Glen Parent.

    Like many here, Parent called his family on Christmas Day and talked to his two children. "I miss my family very much," he said. "They were excited about Christmas but sad I won't be there."

    Holiday celebrations were also tempered by the death of Canadian Forces Lt. Andrew Richard Nuttall on Dec. 23. A homemade bomb killed the 30-year-old army officer from Victoria as he led a foot patrol in the Panjwaii district.

    At the best of times, Canadian Forces padres say, Christmas is an emotional time for soldiers serving away from home.

    "It's a sacrifice on both sides -- for the soldier here and the family back home," said Padre Andre Gauthier.

    He said people do their best to give the military bases a Christmas feel, and the chaplains, who are stationed at Kandahar Airfield and five forward-operating bases, hold Christmas services. Talking with family back home, through mail or phone calls, also helps, he said.

    Dale and Cunningham were happy to connect in person in Afghanistan for Christmas, even if it's only for a few days and under circumstances that offer
    little privacy.

    The couple said they're excited at the prospect of taking a vacation together -- alone -- in the new year.

    "We're looking forward to our leave," said Cunningham. "We're going on a Caribbean cruise."

    Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

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