The Military Museums

Corporal Nathan Hornburg

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Corporal Nathan Hornburg

Corporal Nathan Hornburg was a leader and a warrior and deployed to Afghanistan with a clear understanding of the risks. He told his family that no matter what happened, he was ready for it. He wanted to help. Nathan grew up in Calgary and attended the Calgary Waldorf School, Bishop Carroll High School and Mount Royal College.

As a youngster he was fascinated by the military and he thrived in the outdoors in the forests and on the Alberta ranchland. He joined the King’s Own Calgary Regiment when he was eighteen years old. An accomplished athlete, Nathan won The Calgary Junior Athlete Award.

While he was in training at Camp Wainwright, he excelled at calisthenics and on the firing range. He was a strong competitor built for physical action with large capable hands. As a military reservist, Nathan travelled to bases in Canada, the United States and Germany. In 2004, he volunteered and participated in Operation Peregrine to fight forest fires in Kelowna, British Columbia.

He was chosen by Senator Hays to carry Canada’s flag into a joint session of Parliament and at the Calgary Saddledome, he was reviewed by Queen Elizabeth II. Nathan volunteered to train with the Lord Strathcona Horse (Royal Canadians) in Edmonton, Alberta to learn to operate a Leopard 2 Armoured Recovery Vehicle and was deployed with the regiment to Afghanistan.

Nathan was killed by a mortar shell while attempting to repair the track on a Leopard 2 Armoured Recovery Vehicle (ARV). The vehicle was off the road and tilted at a difficult angle. Accordingly, Cpl Hornburg applied his skill, training and courage to fix the tank while endangering his life. Cpl Nathan Hornburg was 24 years old at the time of his death on September 25, 2007.


Family statement

It is the death of hope, not the death of
people that is actually a stinging blow
towards our growth as a planet.

The globe will be ONE place.
Humankind will be ONE.

On Leaving Afghanistan
Suppose you fell into a chasm.
You were injured, hopeless.
I came by with my fine, long rope
And stopped to help (that’s OK, it’s what we do).
Some bullies were throwing rocks at you.
I chased them away, and held you on belay.
Slowly, painfully you began to climb.
Just when I could see your face,
Your eyes locked on mine,
I glanced at the time.
Sorry, I said, I have to go!
I told them I’d be back by five.
Oh, and I’ll need to take the rope. Good luck.
The bullies began to gather,
Picking up stones.

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