Soldiers bring home fallen comrades
Wed, 22 Aug 2012 6:18p.m.
By Hamish Clark and Kim Choe
A group of soldiers from Burnham Military Camp has flown to Australia to bring home the bodies of their fallen comrades.
Among them are Lance Corporal Leanne Corbett and Sergeant Mark Anderson, who will be at the side of their friend and colleague, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker.
L/Cpl Baker, 26, Corporal Luke Tamatea, 31, and Private Richard Harris, 21, were killed by a roadside bomb in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, on Sunday.
L/Cpl Corbett is one of six female soldiers who have been assigned to escort L/Cpl Baker back to Christchurch.
The two were close friends, who bonded in 2007 after being the only two girls on an army kayaking course. They kept in touch by emailing when they were overseas.
L/Cpl Corbett recounted the moment she found out about the bombing.
“I got a text from my girlfriend in the morning and she said that it was a medic over there… I said don't tell me it was Jacinda, just give me the name,” she said tearfully.
Sgt Anderson, who trained and mentored L/Cpl Baker when she joined the army, said she had been looking forward to going to Afghanistan, and had never displayed any sign of worry.
“She’s a professional… Absolutely we don't choose a career or profession lightly. You know exactly what you are prepared to going into,” Sgt Anderson said.
L/Cpl Corbett says L/Cpl Baker was a keen baker, and especially missed making chocolate brownies. She also enjoyed boxing, and had kept up her training with Cpl Tamatea, who was also killed in the blast.
“I encouraged her to go along to boxing a while ago so she has kept that up and Corporal Luke Tamatea was able to train her over there,” L/Cpl Corbett remembered.
“They got in some good training sessions so that was nice to know she was still having a punch on the bag.”
The contingent from Burnham will stay with the soldiers’ bodies until the military service on Saturday.
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