Senior Canadian Forces soldier killed, 4 injured in training accident in Wainwright
WATCH: As Global National’s Shirlee Engel report, the Light Armoured Vehicle III (LAV III) that killed Lt.-Col Dan Bobbitt has a history of rollovers.
EDMONTON – The Department of National Defence (DND) has confirmed a Canadian Forces soldier was killed in an accident during a training exercise in Wainwright, Alberta Wednesday morning.
Daniel Le Bouthillier, head of media operations with the DND says four other soldiers were injured when a Light Armoured Vehicle III (LAV III) rolled over.
Bouthillier says Lieutenant-Colonel Dan Bobbitt, Commanding Officer of the 2nd Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery (2 RCHA) was killed in the roll over. He was based in Garrison Petawawa, Ontario.
“I would like to extend my heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Lieutenant-Colonel Bobbitt,” says the Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence and MP for Niagara Falls. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones as they deal with this tragic loss, and with the families of the four soldiers who were seriously injured.”
Watch: There is devastation within the Canadian Military after a decorated soldier was killed and four others injured in a training exercise in Wainwright, Alberta.
“The Canadian Army cares deeply for each and every member. It goes without saying that we take every death seriously and as such we will explore all facets of these situations to try and learn from them while also providing the best support to the Army family whenever a death does occur. I express my heartfelt condolences to his wife and loved ones,” said Lieutenant-General Marquis Hainse, Commander, Canadian Army.
Bobbitt began his military career in Nova Scotia, joining the Canadian Forces Reserves in 1988. He enrolled as a Private in the West Nova Scotia Regiment and served two years as a rifleman and later Platoon Commander before transferring to the Regular Force in 1990 as an Artillery Officer.
“Lieutenant-Colonel Bobbitt was loved dearly by his family,” said Major Jennifer Causey, Second in Command of the 2 RCHA, on Thursday.
“He’s left behind a wife, three teenage children and … his parents.”
“[He] was loved and respected by a much larger circle of extended family and friends both inside the military and well beyond.”
Causey described Bobbitt as the kind of leader “we all aspire to be.”
“He was humble, compassionate, personable, firm but fair, and a war-tested commander.”
“He was an outstanding commanding officer, and the look on the faces of the soldiers yesterday as I broke that news, I think quite clearly speaks to that.”
The four injured soldiers were also members of 2 RCHA. The DND says two of the soldiers were taken by military helicopter to medical facilities in Edmonton. Their condition is listed as fair.
The other two injured soldiers were treated by Canadian Armed Forces medical personnel in Wainwright and have been released.
“They are all stable. They have all made contact with their next of kin. The last soldier is likely to be released from hospital today,” said Causey.
Watch: CFB Petawawa devastated by the loss of commanding officer Lt.-Col. Dan Bobbitt
The DND says the roll over happened during Exercise MAPLE RESOLVE 14 (Ex MR 14) in the Wainwright Training Area around 11 a.m. MST.
Wainwright is located about 200 kilometres southeast of Edmonton.
“There’s no denying that the military is part of us,” said Wainwright Mayor Brian Bethune. “And there’s no denying that whenever a thing like this happens, it hurts and affects everybody in our community because it’s just like someone in our community had the accident.”
About 5,000 military personnel are participating in the exercise, which is being held at the Wainwright Garrison from May 5 to June 1. As the largest Canadian Army exercise this year, Ex MR 14 includes operations including tactical moves, deliberate attacks, mobile defense and assistance to Non-Governmental Organizations.
“The LAV was navigating through some terrain in the training area and it appears it just rolled over,” said Brig.-Gen. Omer Lavoie, commander of the 4th Canadian Division, from Wainwright on Thursday.
He described the terrain as hilly.
“We train as we fight,” he added. “The exercise puts our soldiers through various scenarios that we may encounter if and when we’re asked to go into high readiness.”
Ex MR 14 includes about 4,000 Canadian Army soldiers, 450 Royal Canadian Air Force members, 450 American troops, and 100 soldiers from the United Kingdom.
Lavoie knew Lt.-Col. Bobbitt for about eight years, and served with him in Afghanistan.
“He’ll certainly be remembered as a dedicated professional and leader within the Canadian Army and the Canadian Armed Forces.”
“First and foremost, I’ll remember him as a family man: extremely devoted husband and father to his three children, beaming with pride in the last month or so on the acceptance of his son into Royal Military College, following in his father’s footsteps as an artillery officer.”
WATCH: Brigadier-General Omer Lavoie addresses the death of Lt.-Col. Dan Bobbitt during a training exercise and if any extra precautions have been taken in training as a result of the accident
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