Four of the six Canadian Armed Forces members killed when a Canadian military helicopter crashed off the coast of Greece were graduates of the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont.
Now, the college and those who knew the former RMC cadets during their time in Kingston are mourning in the wake of at least one confirmed death.
Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough graduated from the college in computer science in 2018. She is the only one of the six members aboard the helicopter whose body had been found.
Capt. Brenden MacDonald graduated from RMC in 2007, with a general science degree.
Capt. Kevin Hagen graduated in 2011 with an aeronautical engineering degree and Capt. Maxime Miron-Morin graduated in 2013, also in aeronautical engineering.
Sub-Lt. Matthew Pyke and Master Cpl. Matthew Cousins are also still missing.
On Thursday in a Facebook post, RMC’s Brigadier General and Commandant Sébastien Bouchard issued the following statement about the four former cadets that once studied in Kingston:
“They stood on our parade square and commissioned as officers in the Canadian Armed Forces. They marched with their classmates through the Memorial Arch, swords held high. Now, another name will join the names of our fallen who are immortalized on the Arch — forever honoured with those who gave their lives while serving Canada.”
One professor at the college, Michael Boire, remembers Cowbrough in particular from her time at the college.
“She is a… she was a fine example of what RMC produces,” Boire said. “A determined, no-nonsense young officer who wanted nothing more, when I knew her, then to get her education over with so she could go out and join the Navy, take her training and just do the business of being a naval officer.”
Cowbrough was from Nova Scotia, but she spent part of her youth as a cadet with the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment in Belleville, Ont., where she learned to play the bagpipes.
Boire remembers her as a strong student, an excellent highland dancer, a natural-born leader and overall someone with a level head.
“In fact, as I remember, she took more of the most-demanding courses in her program as opposed to taking lesser-demanding courses.”
Boire went on to explain how Canadian Armed Forces members are aware of the risks they will face at sea, in the air, and on the ground. With that in mind, Boire says the four former cadets acted professionally and did not disappoint.
“All four of the RMC cadets who perished were great examples of what we produce at the RMC,” Boire said.
“They were a credit to us all, and I wish they were here.”
Questions still remain as to what exactly caused the crash, and families are forced to mourn the loss of their loved ones with several unanswered questions.
As of Friday, the Canadian Armed Forces said they found additional remains during their search but have yet to identify the other five victims. They say they will be working to confirm details with the families over the next several days.
— With files from Global News’ Alexandra Mazur, Graeme Benjamin and The Canadian Press