March 21, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The following statement on the deaths of Trooper Corey Joseph Hayes, Trooper Jack Bouthillier, Master Cpl. Scott Vernelli and Cpl. Tyler Crooks was issued today by Premier Shawn Graham.
"With very deep sadness, we learned last night of the deaths of Trooper Corey Joseph Hayes and Trooper Jack Bouthillier of the Royal Canadian Dragoons; and Master Cpl. Scott Vernelli and Cpl. Tyler Crooks of the 3rd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, all of CFB Petawawa, Ont.. These four brave soldiers died when their vehicles struck roadside bombs in separate incidents while serving with the Canadian mission in Afghanistan.
They were killed and eight of their comrades injured while taking part in the largest joint offensive between US and Canadian forces since the Korean War. This offensive was a massive push to engage the Taliban and disrupt their preparations for a spring offensive.
As Premier, I offer the condolences of all New Brunswickers to the family of Trooper Corey Joseph Hayes of Ripples and to the families of Trooper Bouthillier, Master Cpl. Vernelli and Cpl. Brooks for their great loss.
They gave their lives in the pursuit of peace and security for the people of Kandahar District and all of Afghanistan so that they may begin to enjoy lives free from war, fear and intimidation. We honour their sacrifice and mourn with their families, their friends and fellow soldiers here in New Brunswick, across Canada and throughout the world."