Canadian soldier killed by IED in Afghanistan
A Canadian soldier was killed Monday while on foot patrol in Kandahar, Afghanistan, the military announced.
Sgt. James MacNeil, 28, was killed at approximately 8 a.m. local time by an improvised explosive device, according to Brig.-Gen. Jon Vance, Canada's top commander in Afghanistan.
MacNeil was patrolling with the Afghan army near Nakhonay, a restive village southwest of the city of Kandahar, when the device exploded, Vance said.
The combat engineer is the 148th member of the Canadian Forces to die in the war in Afghanistan since 2002.
MacNeil, of Glace Bay, N.S., was "an extremely proud Cape Bretoner," Vance said in a statement. "He couldn't say no to a social gathering and was inevitably the life of the party."
A man "with a big heart," Jimmy, as he was known, was regarded as "the epitome of excellence and professionalism," Vance said.
MacNeil was a 10-year veteran of the Canadian Forces and was on his fourth deployment. He was based in Petawawa, Ont., and serving with the 1st Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group.
In a statement, Prime Minister Stephen Harper thanked MacNeil for his service and said: "We are all saddened by this loss."
His loss was felt at home in Nova Scotia, as well.
"My heart goes out to his family, and it certainly goes out to his comrades that he served with over there," said Royal Canadian Legion member Sheldon MacNeil, who is related to the soldier.
"It's really bad when you hear it on the news and it's British Columbia and Ontario," he said. "But when it hits home, it just tears the heart out of you."
- Sgt. James MacNeil's name was incorrectly reported as Macneil in an earlier version of this story based on information provided to media.Jun 23, 2010 5:37 PM ET