Twenty-nine-year old Cpl James Choi, passed away last week after sustaining a gunshot wound during a training exercise at CFB Wainwright.
Lieutenant Ryan Bartlette, Public Affairs Officer for the 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, said that exercise SPARTAN RESCUE is a fall continuation training exercise hosted by the 3rd Battalion of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (3 PPCLI).
Exercise SPARTAN RESCUE is held annually, and approximately forty reserve force soldiers from across Western Canada were taking part.
“Soldiers practiced their proficiency with small arms, as well as core infantry skills such as patrolling, and section attacks,” said Lt Bartlette.
“The soldiers were participating in live-fire trench clearing drills at the time of the incident. The training was taking place in low light conditions, under the supervision of unit leadership and with safety staff in place.”
An investigation into the incident is being conducted by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service.
Bartlette said exercise SPARTAN RESCUE helps members prepare for more complex infantry maneuvers, such as platoon or company level attacks that contribute to Army readiness for missions in the defence of Canada and Canadian interests.
As a trained infantry soldier, Cpl Choi augmented the 3rd Battalion of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and was undergoing continuation training at the time of the incident. Choi joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 2016, and was a member of the Royal Westminster Regiment in British Columbia.
With Cpl Choi no longer by their side, this battalion and augmented reservists will go on to participate in an exercise at the United States Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk, Louisiana in February 2021.
“The loss of Cpl James Choi – a dedicated, hard working and highly respected soldier is devastating. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and fellow soldiers at this most difficult time. The entire Canadian Army family grieves with his loved ones and will support them in any way they need,” said Lieutenant-General Wayne Eyre, Canadian Army Commander.