Dead Canadian soldier called mother day earlier to say all was well: father
at 22:51 on April 11, 2007, EST.
HALIFAX (CP) - The father of one of the Canadians killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday recalled his son as a dutiful young man who wanted to follow in his footsteps as a soldier.
"He was just a quiet, fit soldier who died doing what he wanted to do," said Jim Pentland, 45, a retired soldier, of his son, Patrick James Pentland, 23, who was one of two soldiers killed after a roadside bomb detonated near an armoured vehicle in Afghanistan.
Patrick, based in Petawawa, Ont., had telephoned his mother on Tuesday, as he always did after bad news came from Afghanistan, to reassure her.
"He had just got in touch with his mother yesterday to let her know he was safe after the other soldiers were killed there," said the father in a brief interview with The Canadian Press.
"So any time something happened, he tried to get word home to let her know he was OK. He was very considerate towards his Mom for that."
In one small blessing amid the tragedy, the father noted that Patrick had seen his mother Gabriele, 43, and his German grandparents during a recent leave in Germany.
Sadly, his father had chosen to stay home and look after the dogs and cats at their home in New Brunswick.
Being in Gagetown, among other military families, will help his family cope, said Pentland.
"The community we're in, it's basically a military community. A lot of our friends are military or retired military. They've watched our son grow up, it's a tight-knit community and for coping that will make it a little bit easier for us."
Pentland said his son's passions were outdoor camping and martial arts.
But above all, he loved being a soldier.
"He always wanted to be a soldier, that was what he wanted to do," he said.
"He was a fit athlete. Other than that, he was a quiet, patient person."
Patrick Pentland was born on the Canadian military base in Lahr, Germany, and returned with the family to Gagetown, N.B. when he was young. The family returned for a second stint in Germany, before returning again to the base in Gagetown.
His father said the family doesn't question the conflict in Afghanistan despite his son's death.
"They're soldiers. They go over there to do a job, to try to make life better for other people," he said.
"We hold no animosity towards the people over there. They have enough animosity in their lives already. We look at it as Canadians trying to help another country that isn't as fortunate as our own."
He said it shouldn't surprise Canadians that so many Maritimers are among the recent dead in Afghanistan.
Pentland said many of the young men from New Brunswick join the military to see a wider world, "and to find adventure."
That's what he did himself as a young man, said the father.
"He followed in the same path I went."
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