7:00am Monday 29th October 2012
By Tom Jennings
A MARINE who was “one of the best” and a medic devoted to helping others will be repatriated tomorrow from Afghanistan.
Corporal David O’Connor, 27, from 40 Commando Royal Marines, and Corporal Channing Day, 25, from 3 Medical Regiment, were killed last Wednesday. They were on their way to conduct training with Afghan Local Police in Helmand Province when they came under small arms fire.
They will be repatriated to RAF Brize Norton where hundreds are expected to line the route to pay their respects.
Cpl O’Connor, of Havant in Hampshire, joined the Royal Marines in May 2002 and was deployed Afghanistan – his third tour of the country – on September 29. The marine, who also served in Iraq, was awarded a Commander Joint Operations’ Commendation for his steadfast dedication and bravery in 2009.
He leaves his mother Rosemary, brother Phil and father Roy.
Lieutenant Colonel Matt Jackson, commanding officer of 40 Commando Royal Marines, said: “Corporal David O’Connor was one of the best; he was loved and respected by those around him and was relentless in the pursuit of excellence in his duties.”
Captain Steve Taylor, Officer Commanding 8 Troop, Charlie Company, 40 Commando Royal Marines, said: “More than anyone, Cpl Dave O’Connor embodied the history and ethos of everything we stand for: utterly professional and exceptionally sharp when it counted and the social epicentre of the troop.”
Cpl Day was born in Swindon and grew up in Newtownards, County Down, Northern Ireland, before joining the Army in 2005.
A veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, she was deployed on October 2 as a combat medic and provided medical support to 40 Commando Royal Marines.
She played football for Northern Ireland, was the country’s Gymnastics Pairs Champion, played ice hockey and was a qualified ski instructor. Her family said: “Channing was bubbly, sporty, beautiful and lived her life for the Army. She died doing what she lived for and in the life she loved.
“She will be remembered by all who knew her as a wonderful girl who never stopped smiling and who had an infectious laugh.”
She leaves parents, Leslie and Rosemary, her sisters, Lauren and Laken, and brother Aaron.
Lieutenant Colonel Phillip de Rouffignac, commanding officer of 3 Medical Regiment, said: “Cpl Channing Day was a star for the future. Diligent in every respect of her preparation, she had worked hard all the way through the build-up training and led by example in all that she did.”
Sergeant Karl Hinton, of 3 Medical Regiment, said: “Channing was a great medic and deeply cared about the lads’ welfare . She was a perfect example of the Royal Army Medical Corps’ ethos.”
The bodies of the personnel will land at RAF Brize Norton at about 1.30pm and the cortege will pass the memorial garden on the edge of Carterton at about 4pm.
It will arrive at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford for the post mortem examination at about 5pm.
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