Wife of Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan had prepared for his death

As friends and family paid their respects Friday to three Canadian soldiers killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, the widow of one of the fallen men said she had prepared for his death.

Repatriation ceremony at CFB Trenton

As friends and family paid their respects Friday to three Canadian soldiers killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, the widow of one of the fallen men said she had prepared for his death.

"I was expecting this — I was prepared for it," said Mishelle Brown, widow of Warrant Officer Dennis Brown. "Dennis and I talked about it often."

Brown, Cpl. Dany Fortin and Cpl. Kenneth O'Quinn died Tuesday when an improvised explosive device detonated near their armoured vehicle after they had defused another device northwest of Kandahar City. Two other soldiers were wounded.

Hundreds of people lined the stretch of Highway 401 from Trenton to Toronto, known as the Highway of Heroes, for their repatriation ceremony Friday.

Members of the Niagara Regional Police, where reservist Brown was a special constable, were at CFB Trenton when the three flag-draped coffins were unloaded on the tarmac.

Defence Minister Peter McKay and Vice-Admiral Denis Rouleau, the vice-chief of defence staff, were also in attendance.

The bodies of the three men were loaded onto a transport plane Wednesday night at Kandahar Airfield.

Canada's top soldier, Gen. Walter Natynczyk, travelled with the bodies on the flight back home.

Killed by second IED

The soldiers were in the area as part of Canada's Quick Reaction Force, which was responding to a call by the Afghan National Police after an IED was found on the main supply route.

The soldiers had defused that bomb and were returning to base when their patrol struck another roadside bomb.

The casket of Canadian soldier Warrant Officer Dennis Raymond Brown is carried on to a waiting Hercules transport plane in Kandahar on Wednesday night. ((Murray Brewster/Canadian Press))
The deaths bring the Canadian military's death toll to 111 since the Afghan mission began more than seven years ago. One Canadian diplomat and two Canadian aid workers have also been killed.

About 2,000 NATO soldiers participated in the emotional ramp ceremony on Wednesday night.

Brown served with the Lincoln and Welland Regiment, Fortin with 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron at 3 Wing Bagotville and O'Quinn with 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Headquarters and Signals Squadron.

'Outstanding soldiers'

Warrant Officer Dennis Raymond Brown. ((DND))
"Canada lost three outstanding soldiers," Brig.-Gen. Jon Vance said, "men who were dedicated to their country — to making a difference here in Afghanistan so that others could have hope of a peaceful and stable life."

Brown, a Niagara, Ont., area reservist, had been a police special constable in his civilian life. He is survived by a wife and four children.

His widow, Mishelle Brown, described her husband as a hero and said he had prepared the family for the possibility he may die in Afghanistan.

"I was expecting this. I was prepared for it. Dennis and I talked about it often," Brown told reporters on Wednesday.

Fortin, originally from Baie-Comeau, Que., but based in Bagotville, Que., since 2002, was a fan of the Montreal Canadiens and known to his comrades as "Dany-O."

Cpl. Dany Fortin. ((DND))
Fortin, 29, had been in Afghanistan since last September and was set to return in April.

"He took to heart his job as a soldier," Lt.-Col. Paul Prevost told a news conference at CFB Bagotville, about 200 kilometres north of Quebec City.

"In Bagotville, as in Afghanistan, he was one of those whose leadership contributed to motivating his peers."

Well-rounded student

O'Quinn, who was born in Newfoundland but grew up in New Brunswick, was based at CFB Petawawa.

Former high school teacher David McTimoney, said he remembered O'Quinn as a well-rounded student.

"Someone who worked hard at his schooling but, at the same time, enjoyed the socialization of school," he said. "He enjoyed being with friends and was someone who got the full impact of high school and participated in extracurricular, as well."

The wounded soldiers were taken by helicopter to the medical facility at Kandahar Airfield and are listed in fair and good condition, officials said. Their names are not being released.

There are about 2,500 soldiers currently serving in Afghanistan.

With files from the Canadian Press