Cpl. Nolan Caribou 'loved a challenge,' family says of soldier killed on Manitoba base

A soldier killed during a training exercise Saturday at CFB Shilo 'loved a challenge' and was determined to help create a more peaceful world through his work in the Armed Forces, family says of Cpl. Nolan Caribou.

Canadian Armed Forces investigates after corporal dies during defensive training at CFB Shilo

Cpl. Nolan Caribou died Nov. 18, 2017 at CFB Shilo during a training exercise. (Canadian Forces)

A soldier killed during a training exercise Saturday in Manitoba was determined to help create a more peaceful world through his work in the Canadian Armed Forces, family of Cpl. Nolan Caribou says.

Caribou was an infantryman with the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, who died Saturday during patrolling, raid and defensive routines exercises at CFB Shilo, about 205 kilometres west of Winnipeg.

"He was very determined despite some challenges that he faced in joining the military and he did it with integrity," the Caribou family wrote in a statement Monday.

He had a future and he's just one of those kids that would have made the world better.- Michael Russell

"He was very focused on his job as an infantryman, and Nolan took great pride in being able to do so."

Caribou graduated from the University of Winnipeg in October with a bachelor of arts.

His family said he "loved a challenge" and cited financial barriers Caribou encountered that he met with determination and desire to serve.

Cpl. Nolan Caribou, left, had served in the Canadian Forces reserves for five years, officials said. (38 Canadian Brigade Group/Facebook)

"Nolan wanted people to get along," the statement from family reads. "Being in the military was a way for Nolan to contribute —  a way for him to seek resolution to address the challenge of society's inability to be peaceful, not just for himself but for everyone."

Caribou had been an infantryman and member of the 38 Canadian Brigade Group, a spokesperson for the group said over the weekend. He was never deployed during his five years of service. 

Military members mourn reservist killed in training exercise

5 years ago
Duration 2:07
As an investigation into the death of Cpl. Nolan Caribou gets underway, people in Winnipeg remember the reservist as kind. Austin Grabish reports.

'Such a good kid'

The owner of the Winnipeg gym where Caribou used to be a member described the corporal as respectful and eager to learn.

"He kept talking about how much he wanted to learn so he could be in shape for doing his military aspirations and future, toward police work," said Michael Russell, owner of 9Round Fitness Waverley. "He brightened up when he talked about that stuff.

Michael Russell is the owner of 9Round Fitness Waverley. Cpl Caribou attended the gym for about a year before he died, Russell said. (CBC)

"He was just such a good kid. He had a future and he's just one of those kids that would have made the world better."

Canada's Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, and Conservative member of Parliament James Bezan (Selkirk–Interlake–Eastman), extended condolences to the Caribou family Monday in Ottawa.

"Anytime there's a death of any Canadian Armed Forces member it hits very hard," Sajjan said.

"The loss of Cpl. Nolan Caribou is a large blow for the Royal Winnipeg Rifles. … He'll be missed at the armoury, at the parade hall and in the lives of the men and women he served with," Bezan said.

The Armed Forces previously told CBC News that no live ammunition was used during the training exercise Saturday. The military has released few other details surrounding Caribou's death; a spokesperson refused to confirm Caribou's age, citing the Privacy Act.

The military's internal investigation service is reviewing what happened leading up to Caribou's death, the third time this year a soldier has died while training on a Canadian Forces base.

A reservist died during a training exercise at CFB Shilo, about 205 kilometres west of Winnipeg, on Saturday. (Riley Laychuk/CBC)

With files from Austin Grabish, Chris Rands, The Canadian Press