Statement by the Minister of National Defence on the Deaths of Four Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan

NR-06.055 - September 3, 2006

OTTAWA The Honourable Gordon O'Connor, Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement today from Japan on the deaths of four Canadian soldiers:

"It is with deepest sympathy that I extend my condolences to the families and friends of Warrant Officer Richard Francis Nolan and Warrant Officer Frank Robert Mellish, who were killed today along with two other Canadian Forces members during an ongoing offensive operation in Afghanistan."

Both were members of 1st Batallion, Royal Canadian Regiment, based in Petawawa, Ontario. The identities of the remaining two soldiers are being withheld at the request of the next-of-kin.

The MND also added: ''My thoughts and prayers are with their loved ones, and the nine comrades who were also injured. We pray for their swift recovery.

These soldiers died in an ongoing effort to force Taliban insurgents from a region west of Kandahar City so that displaced villagers can return to their homes and re-establish their livelihoods without living in constant fear.

The resolve and courage of these brave men will not be forgotten. Together as Canadians we stand proudly behind our men and women in uniform and we honour the risks they took, in the name of Canadian security and the values of freedom, on our behalf."