Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Tributes to fallen military duo

Corporal Channing Day died while on patrol in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand Province (MoD/Crown Copyright/PA)
Corporal Channing Day died while on patrol in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand Province (MoD/Crown Copyright/PA)
Corporal David O'Connor of 40 Commando died while on patrol in Helmand Province (MoD/Crown Copyright/PA)

A soldier who was killed in Afghanistan had dreamed of joining the Army since she was a schoolgirl, a teacher at her former school said.

Corporal Channing Day, who served with the 3 Medical Regiment, died alongside Corporal David O'Connor, of 40 Commando, after being injured on patrol with C Company in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province on Wednesday, the Ministry of Defence said.

The pair were overseeing the training of Afghan Local Police when their patrol came under fire near the village of Char Kutsa. Royal Marine Cpl O'Connor, 27, and medic Cpl Day, 25, were fatally injured during the firefight, the MoD said.

Cpl Day grew up in Newtownards, County Down before joining the Army in 2005.

In a statement her family said: " Channing was bubbly, sporty, beautiful and lived her life for the Army. She has died doing what she lived for and in the life that 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."

Paul Maxwell, acting principal at her old school, Strangford College, said she had excelled at gymnastics, trampolining and netball, and achieved top grades in PE. Mr Maxwell said: "It was not just that she was good but that she always showed commitment, she stayed after school and did all the practice. She always said she wanted to join the Army, she was pretty much focused on wanting to join the Army."

An MoD spokesman said: "Cpl Day was a popular and well respected member of both 3 Medical Regiment, and Transition Support Unit Nahr-e Saraj... Her courage, selflessness and commitment in adversity embodied the ethos of the combat medic, and will be long remembered by all those who had the honour to serve with her."

Cpl O'Connor, 27, lived with his mother in Havant, Hampshire. A statement released by his family said: "David's family and friends are greatly saddened by his loss and hope to be left to grieve privately."

Cpl O'Connor was deployed to Afghanistan at the end of September as a Section Commander as an acting corporal. He served with Charlie Company, 40 Commando Royal Marines as part of Transition Support Unit Nahr-e Saraj, and was based in Patrol Base 1 in the southern part of Nahr-e-Saraj District, Helmand Province.

An MoD spokesman said: "Cpl O'Connor was an outstanding Royal Marines Commando. He displayed true Commando spirit in all that he did and was ferociously dedicated to his men, his Company and the Royal Marines. He was an inspirational leader and an excellent soldier; his loss will be felt not just at 40 Commando Royal Marines but throughout the Royal Marines Corps."

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