Officer killed in training remembered

Lieutenant-Colonel Daniel R. Bobbitt, CD. (DND, Handout)

Lieutenant-Colonel Daniel R. Bobbitt, CD. (DND, Handout)

Sean Chase, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:48 PM ET

CFB PETAWAWA, Ont. - Lt.-Col. Dan Bobbitt was being remembered Thursday as an outstanding artillery officer, war-tested leader and devoted husband and father of three.

The gunners of 2nd Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery (2RCHA) were still reeling from the shocking loss of their commanding officer in a rollover during a major exercise at CFB Wainwright, south of Edmonton, on Wednesday.

Bobbitt, a 26-year veteran of the Canadian Forces, was crew commanding the LAV III that served as his mobile tactical headquarters when the light armoured vehicle rolled over. Four other members of 2RCHA were injured in the mishap which occurred at around 11 a.m. local time. Two of the injured soldiers were evacuated to an Edmonton hospital where they were still listed in fair condition. The other two were treated at the Wainwright garrison hospital and released.

Hundreds of Petawawa soldiers are currently in Wainwright as part of Exercise Maple Resolve, a month-long deployment to validate 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (2CMBG) as the Canadian Army's high readiness task force. After the accident, the exercise was suspended for one day.

In a statement, Col. Peter Dawe, commander of 2CMBG, called Bobbitt "a proven combat leader of remarkable skill and courage."

"He was also a loving husband and father, who in many ways, embodied the best in all of us," said Dawe. "We will honour his memory by rallying around his family and friends in this time of need."

Bobbitt had assumed command of the regiment last June.

"Lt.-Col. Bobbitt was the leader we all aspired to be," Maj. Jennifer Causey, the regiment's second-in-command, said Thursday. "He was humble, compassionate, firm but fair and a war-tested commander."

Enrolling in the Canadian Forces as a private in the West Nova Scotia Regiment in 1988, Bobbitt transferred to the regular force two years later. After holding several positions with 2RCHA, he was tasked to the Royal Canadian Artillery School as the senior instructor in gunnery. Causey noted that Bobbit was a respected, amiable teacher when it came to guiding his students.

"He would win them over with his personable demeanour, his sense of humour and put them at ease so that the conditions were set for their success," she said. "It was the true mark of a great instructor."

Causey said the troops were shocked and saddened when news of the accident broke. She added the regiment will now rally around Bobbitt's wife, Monica, and the couple's three children, Connor, Elizabeth and Katherine.

In 1997, Bobbitt acted as a liaison officer during the Red River floods in Winnipeg. He deployed twice to Bosnia and held positions at Canada Command. In 2007, he led 'D' Battery, 2RCHA during combat operations in Kandahar, Afghanistan and was promoted to his current rank in 2009.

The accident is currently under investigation by the military police and the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service.

 


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