Canadian soldier’s death adds to Afghan toll

Capt Frank Paul from Badger, N.L.

CBC News

Capt. Frank Paul died following a sudden illness in February 2010 while on leave from Kandahar. (Department of National Defence)

The Canadian Forces announced Friday that Capt. Frank Cecil Paul, who died in Canada last February, is being considered as a casualty of the Afghanistan mission.

“Although his death came suddenly while on leave from his deployment in Afghanistan, he was still on duty and considered part of the mission, and therefore his death is no less important than any other CF member who served and died while in Afghanistan,” said Gen. Walter Natynczyk, chief of the defence staff, in a release.

Paul, who was from Badger, N.L., died in an Ottawa hospital on Feb. 10 while on leave from Kandahar, where he had been the adjutant for the health services support unit of Joint Task Force Afghanistan. He was 53.

Natynczyk said the decision to add Paul’s name to the list of military casualties sustained in the Afghan mission came “following a review of the Canadian Forces’ casualty policy.”

The military gave no details on Paul’s death other than to say it was a result of “natural causes” following a sudden illness. He was two days away from returning to Afghanistan.

Trained medics

Paul was a member of the 28 Field Ambulance unit in Ottawa. The military said Paul trained junior medical technicians and was “a driving force behind the creation of the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants.”

The 35-year veteran of the military leaves a wife and two children.

“All Canadians can be proud of the commitment shown by our Canadian Forces members,” said Gov. Gen. David Johnston in a statement expressing his condolences to the family. “Their steadfast dedication is to be extolled, as every man and woman taking part in this mission is doing so with the utmost professionalism and dedication to duty.”

A minute of silence will be observed at the Defence Department and Canadian Forces facilities in the National Capital Region on Monday, the military said. Paul’s family has been presented with the Memorial Cross.

His death raises the toll of Canadian troops from the Afghan mission to 153 since 2002.

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