'Don't tell me it's Jacinda' - friend
Wed, 22 Aug 2012 4:11p.m.
By 3 News online staff
A group of soldiers from Burnham Military Camp has flown to Australia to bring home the bodies of their fallen comrades.
Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, 26, Corporal Luke Tamatea, 31, and Private Richard Harris, 21, were killed by a roadside bomb in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, on Sunday.
Among the contingent of pallbearers are Lance Corporal Leanne Corbett and Sergeant Mark Anderson, who will be at the side of their friend and colleague, L/Cpl Baker.
L/Cpl Corbett is one of six female soldiers who have been assigned to escort L/Cpl Baker back to Christchurch.
She says she first met L/Cpl Baker during an army training course, where they were the only two women.
Sgt Anderson says he had the pleasure of taking L/Cpl Baker for her basic training.
“I got the fun of watching a pretty gutsy individual grow and develop as she started in the army,” he says.
“Nobody goes into any trade in the army with a half-hearted attitude, you go in full bore and Jacinda was exactly that – she went in full noise and did brilliantly.”
As well as having a working relationship, Sgt Anderson says he knew L/Cpl Baker as a neighbour. They used to live next door to each other, and L/Cpl Baker shared a love of cats with Sgt Anderson and his wife.
“Our cat used to visit her place and we used to find her cat in our lounge, so there was often – as my wife says – ‘meetings at the hedge’ in between the houses to swap cats.”
Sgt Anderson says L/Cpl Baker was not worried about going to Afghanistan as a medic.
“No, she’s a professional. You think about it, absolutely, but we don’t choose this career or profession lightly – you know exactly what you’re potentially going into so you go on with it.”
L/Cpl Corbett also says L/Cpl Baker was able to put any fears aside.
“It has its moments – I don’t think anyone goes over there not thinking they’re a little bit scared,” she says.
“I think it’s the same as anyone – she’s gone through a lot.”
When she first heard about the attack, L/Cpl Corbett says she feared her friend may have been one of the casualties.
“I was like, ‘don’t tell me it’s Jacinda, just give me the name’,” she says.
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