MONTREAL – A deadly improvised explosive device of the type that has slashed into the ranks of Canadian troops serving in Afghanistan has claimed another victim, bringing the Canadian military death toll in the war-weary country to 122.
Master Cpl. Philippe Michaud died in a Quebec City hospital from devastating injuries he sustained from a landmine while on foot patrol in the Panjwaii district on June 23, the Canadian Forces said Sunday.
Michaud’s death was announced as another family prepared to receive the remains of the 121st Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan.
The body of Cpl. Nick Bulger, who was killed last Friday by a roadside bomb in Zhari district, is due to arrive Monday afternoon at Canadian Forces Base Trenton.
Bulger, 30, from the 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry based in Edmonton, was raised near Peterborough, Ont.
Word on the repatriation of Bulger’s remains came on the same day the military announced Michaud had died from his wounds.
Michaud was praised Sunday as a model soldier who worked tirelessly to season his fellow troops.
“Nicknamed ‘Chuck’ by his friends, Master Cpl. Michaud had an enormous presence in the field and the garrison,” said Col. Jean Marc Lanthier, commander of the 5th Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, as he announced Michaud’s death at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier, near Quebec City.
“Very close to his men, he looked after their well-being constantly,” Lanthier said. “He was deeply involved in the development of his subordinates and was a mentor to younger soldiers.”
“He remains an example to be followed by all his fellow troops. His departure leaves a huge hole in the heart of his section, his platoon and his regiment.”
Michaud, who was on his third operational tour and his second in Afghanistan, was wounded southwest of Kandahar city. A member of the 2e Batallion, Royal 22e Regiment based at Valcartier, he never regained consciousness.
A helicopter raced him from the scene of the explosion to the coalition medical facility in Kandahar city. He was transferred to a military hospital in Germany before being returned to a Quebec City hospital on June 28.
He died of his injuries on Saturday afternoon.
Lanthier said Michaud is survived by his wife, his parents and a brother. The military said the family would have no immediate comment.
Tributes poured in quickly from Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Gov.-Gen. Michaelle Jean and Defence Minister Peter MacKay.
Harper extended his sympathies to Michaud’s family and friends and reiterated his commitment to Canada’s mission in Afghanistan.
“We honour his sacrifice,” Harper said in a statement. “We stand by our troops and allies in the struggle to bring Afghans a better future and make Canadians safer.”
MacKay described Michaud as “valiant and courageous.”
“Thanks to Master Cpl. Charles-Philippe Michaud, progress and change is taking place in Afghanistan.”
In praising Michaud, Jean noted that “attacks in Afghanistan are constant and merciless.”
“Our patrolling soldiers and those assigned to demining the country are acutely aware of this and yet go meet danger face to face every day,” she said.
“Their courage knows no limit.”