Canada Loses Female Soldier

May 18th, 2006  

Topic: Canada Loses Female Soldier


Nichola Goddard found joy in the small victories as Canadian soldier

Murray Brewster
Canadian Press

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Small victories were the ones that seemed to elicit the most excitement and the biggest smiles from Capt. Nichola Goddard, the first female Canadian soldier to die in front-line combat.

Whether it was successfully towing a gun up an impassable mountainside in the Rockies, the long-awaited completion of shower stalls at a remote outpost in Afghanistan, or - most importantly - being recognized as a Canadian by usually indifferent Afghans, each achievement meant a lot to Goddard.

"It's been really positive going in and meeting people who obviously haven't talked to Canadian troops before and presenting why we're here," Goddard told The Canadian Press in an interview last month in Afghanistan.

Goddard, 26, of 1st Royal Canadian Horse Artillery based in Shilo, Man., was killed Wednesday in a battle with the Taliban just west of Kandahar. Born in New Guinea, the Calgary woman was married, with no children.

"We've accomplished a lot of things in this area and we got showers the other day, which was really exciting," Goddard said recently at Forward Base Robinson, in Sangin district, where Pte. Robert Costall was killed in late March.

Villagers and tribesmen in sun-baked Afghan hamlets often have trouble distinguishing one coalition country's soldier from another, describing them simply as "white guys with guns."

It was that sort of stereotype that Goddard, an almost eight-year veteran of the army, enjoyed dispelling during visits with the locals.

"They just see a bunch of people in uniform," she said. "But once we actually get in and start talking to them, they definitely know we're Canadians at the end of it and they definitely know what we're all about."

It was making those kinds of inroads with Afghans that made serving in Afghanistan seem important and so satisfying to Goddard, she said.

"It's nice for us if they know we're Canadians and we're proud of that obviously," she said with a wide, genuine smile.

Goddard's death devastated her friends and family back home.

From her home base at CFB Shilo in Manitoba, Capt. Mark Batten remembered his friend fondly.

"My best memory of Nichola is actually her smile," Batten said. "She's a great personal friend, had a bubbly personality, and I won't forget her smile."

Goddard, sitting in the back ramp of her specially outfitted light armoured vehicle last month, spoke enthusiatically about her time dealing with Afghan villagers over their security and agriculture concerns.

She spoke with a precision and attention to detail that were the hallmarks of her job as leader of forward artillery unit. She helped to target the army's new M-777 howitzers by observing where the shells fell.

Throughout her four years with the unit, Goddard took on a protective attitude towards the dozen or so troops under her command - referring to them in the interview as "her crew."

A few years ago, an article in Legion Magazine highlighted her battery's mission in Rogers Pass area of British Columbia during an avalanche control program, where the army woud fire its guns to create controlled snow slides.

Goddard often fussed over her troops, keeping them occupied and entertained with maintenance duties, training films and games at an indoor volleyball court.

Her colleagues in Shilo remembered her as a dedicated soldier who had been marked for rapid future advancement.

Maj. Liam McGarry, the acting commander of 1 RCHA, told radio station CKLQ that Goddard was a keen, highly professional officer who had been marked for rapid advancement.

© The Canadian Press 2006
Found a pic:

May 18th, 2006  
Italian Guy
R.I.P., Nichola.

May 19th, 2006  
RIP, Soldier.
May 19th, 2006  
RIP troop.
May 19th, 2006  
Statement by the Minister of National Defence on the Passing of Captain Nichola Goddard

NR-06.021 - May 17, 2006
OTTAWA - Gordon O'Connor, Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement today:

"It is with deep sadness that I send my sincere condolences to the family, friends, and comrades of Captain Nichola Kathleen Sarah Goddard.

This brave Canadian soldier was killed today west of Kandahar, while engaged in an operation supporting Afghan authorities. Captain Goddard was a member of the 1 Royal Canadian Horse Artillery based in Shilo, Manitoba.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Captain Goddard's loved ones. She will be sorely missed, and while we mourn her loss, we can take comfort in knowing her sacrifice will not have been made in vain.

The brave men and women of the Canadian Forces are helping Afghanistan become a stable and self-sufficient state so that it will never again serve as a terrorist haven, and threaten global and Canadian security.

On behalf of the Government of Canada and as Minister of National Defence, I want to thank the men and women serving in Afghanistan. They are serving our country and its people with distinction. Canada will not forget their sacrifice."


We shall not forget your sacrifice.
May 19th, 2006  
Rest in Peace.
May 19th, 2006  
May 19th, 2006  
A very brave lady, she was just 26 years old. I read her story on Toronto Sun today and I feel sorry for her family.

may SHE rests in peace
May 20th, 2006  
May 24th, 2006  
May we never forget this remarkable women.