Body of Canadian soldier returns home

Pallbearers carry Bombardier Karl Manning's flag-draped casket to a hearse, during a repatriation ceremony held at 8 Wing CFB Trenton Tuesday.



TRENTON, Ont. - U.S. Army Sgt. Cindy Curtis had never seen a repatriation ceremony.

But Tuesday, Curtis, a member of the 861st Quartermaster Company based in Nashville, Tenn., and nine of her parachute rigger colleagues, watched as the flag-draped casket of Bombardier Karl Manning came home.

For Curtis, seeing hundreds of people standing along the fence along a highway to pay their respect to the fallen soldier, as well as news photographers covering the ceremony up close and personal on the tarmac, was "more than an unfamiliar sight.

"We don't hear much about the repatriation of our fallen soldiers in the United States," she said, while keeping an eye on the C-17 Globemaster pulling up on the hot tarmac.

"Unless you were serving with the man or woman who lost her or his life on mission, or are a family member, or a close friend ... People know about it, but locally. The local newspaper and TV network of the town or city where the fallen soldier was from will cover the ceremony and report it the next day, but they (media) don't publish any advance stories or anything as well documented as the work you guys do here today."

The body of the 31-year-old gunner from Battery X, the 5e Regiment d'artillerie legere du Canada and Chicoutimi, Que., was found shortly after dawn last Friday by fellow soldiers at a base in the Horn of Panjwaii.

Manning was the 156th Canadian soldier to die in Afghanistan.

Neither hostile fire, nor foul play is suspected in Manning's death, which is under investigation.

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