Two young Canadian combat engineers lost their lives to IEDs while checking out another explosion Sunday, August 2, 2009. Cpl. Sapper Matthieu Allard and Cpl. Christian Bobbitt (in photo) of the 5th Combat Engineers Regiment, 2e Batallion of the Royal 22e Regiment, based in Valcartier, Que., were clearing roads of deadly improvised explosive devices to open the way for Afghans to travel to work more freely.
The two lads, the youngest casualties to date, were caught in a lethal refinement of the Taliban's hallmark IED attacks, where two bombs are detonated in succession – one to stop the convoy, the second designed to kill the troops after they emerge from their armored vehicle. A third soldier was also seriously injured but is now in stable condition and expected to survive.
Bobbit was known for his sense of humor. Major Yannick Pepin, commanding officer of 51 Field Engineer Squadron said, “He made disagreeable situations agreeable.”
In response to a remark made by Bobbit's aunt to the press that the young corporal had grown disillusioned with the mission, another soldier with two tours behind him commented in the Globe & Mail: "The majority of people in Afghanistan voted for its current democratic government. That government has requested NATO's help in trying to maintain a secure and stable environment so the government can continue to operate. Nothing is perfect, but I assure you, if NATO left, there would be no freedom or democracy in Afghanistan. As a side note, not once was I ever lied to as to what we were doing in Afghanistan. As an infantry soldier with 2 tours, I was fully informed as to what we were there to accomplish and how difficult it would be."