OTTAWA – Two Canadian soldiers, and one Afghan interpreter were killed at approximately 12:00 a.m. Kandahar time on 17 November, 2007 when their Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV III) struck a suspected Improvised Explosive Device approximately 40 km West of Kandahar city in the vicinity of Ma’sum Ghar. Three Canadian soldiers were also injured in the explosion and immediately evacuated from the scene by helicopter to the Multinational Medical Unit at Kandahar Airfield where they are receiving medical care and have informed their families.

Hundreds of soldiers attended a twilight ramp ceremony Sunday at Kandahar Air Field to pay tribute to two Canadian soldiers killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. Cpl. Nicolas Raymond Beauchamp, 28, and Pte. Michel Levesque, 25, were riding in a Light Armoured Vehicle that drove over a large improvised explosive device early Saturday.

The blast, 40 kilometres west of Kandahar, also claimed the life of an Afghan interpreter and injured three Canadian soldiers. Maj. Pierre Bergeron, who serves as padre at the Kandahar base, spoke to Canadian, U.S., Dutch and British soldiers who lined the tarmac. "Courage is not manifested in easy circumstances, but is found in tragic and difficult circumstances," he said. The two fallen soldiers, he said, chose to serve in Afghanistan and their fellow soldiers should not become "victims of this tragedy, but survivors."

The flag-draped casket of Cpl. Beauchamp of the 5th Field Ambulance in Valcartier, Que., was first to be loaded onto a waiting Hercules transport plane.His common-law wife Cpl. Dolorès Crampton carried his beret as she walked behind the coffin and later boarded the plane for the long journey home. For the past three years, Beauchamp and Crampton, an ambulance technician in the Armed Forces, had lived in Pont-Rouge, near Quebec City. Pte. Lévesque, of Quebec's Royal 22nd Regiment at Valcartier, leaves an 18-year-old pregnant fiancée in Rivière-Rouge, a small village north of the Laurentians. Just last week, the young couple became engaged while Levesque was on a two-week leave.

The bodies of Levesque and Beauchamp were to be flown to Canadian Forces Base Trenton in eastern Ontario. Their deaths bring to 73 the number of Canadian soldiers who have died in Afghanistan since 2002.