Canadian soldier found dead at Mideast base
Published Saturday, July 5, 2008 1:59PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, May 18, 2012 8:33PM EDT
Canada's military is describing the death of a Canadian soldier found dead at an undisclosed Middle Eastern military base as being unrelated to combat.
Cpl. Brendan Anthony Downey, a military policeman based in Dundurn, Sask., had been found dead in his sleeping quarters on Friday.
"No further details are available at this time, although enemy action has been ruled out," a military statement said.
"Cpl. Downey's immediate family has no comment at this time." The family is reportedly asking for privacy.
"It's tragic," said Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Walter Natynczyk. "We grieve for the family of Cpl. Downey. Any loss in our operations is difficult for us. It's difficult for the military family and for his family."
Prime Minister Stephen Harper released a statement Saturday calling Downey "a valued member of the Canadian Forces" who was helping provide aviation, logistics and technical support to Task Force Afghanistan.
"His contributions will not be forgotten," Harper said in the statement. "On behalf of all Canadians, I would like to offer my deepest sympathies to (his) family and friends."
Graeme Smith, a Globe and Mail reporter in Afghanistan, said the military hasn't told the news media very much. Results of any investigation might not come for months, he said.
A non-combat related death can mean suicide, but it can also be the result of an accident such as the discharge of a weapon, he said.
Downey was posted to a Canadian base in the Arabian desert that provides logistical support to Canada's military operations in Afghanistan.
The base, located in the Persian Gulf region, has had its location previously reported. However, under the terms of the Canadian Forces' embedding rules, it cannot be revealed at this time.
The Canadian government avoids publicly mentioning the base.
Downey is the 12th reported Canadian military death so far this year in connection to the Afghan mission.
Since 2002, 86 Canadian soldiers and one diplomat have died in Afghanistan. Including Downey, 11 of those deaths are unrelated to combat. The last death occurred June 7, when Capt. Jonathan Sutherland Snyder fell down a deep well while on night patrol in Kandahar province.
Downey's name will be added to Kandahar Airfield's memorial honouring the fallen Canadians, and he will be given a military tribute.
With files from The Canadian Press