Corporal O’Connor and Corporal Day were participating in a patrol with C Company, 40 Commando to conduct low level training with the Afghan Local Police. While en route to conduct that training, the patrol came under small arms fire near the village of Char Kutsa. As a result of the engagement Corporal O’Connor was fatally injured alongside his colleague and patrol medic, Corporal Day.
Secretary of State for Defence Philip Hammond said: "I was deeply saddened to learn of the deaths of Corporal David O’Connor and Corporal Channing Day. Both have been highly praised by their colleagues for their courage and strong sense of duty. My thoughts are with their families, loved ones and colleagues in the Royal Marines and 3 Medical Regiment."
Corporal David O’Connor
Corporal David O’Connor deployed to Afghanistan on 29 September 2012 as a Section Commander in the acting rank of Corporal. He served with Charlie Company, 40 Commando Royal Marines as part of Transition Support Unit Nahr-e Saraj. He was based in Patrol Base 1 in the southern part of Nahr-e-Saraj District, Helmand Province.
Corporal O’Connor was born on 16 June 1985 and lived in Havant, Hampshire with his mother. He joined the Royal Marines on 13 May 2002 and after nine months arduous training passed for duty as a Royal Marines Commando on 17 January 2003.
In 2007 Corporal O’Connor deployed to Afghanistan with 40 Commando on Operation Herrick 7 where he worked with Charlie Company in the Kajaki District of Northern Helmand. In 2009, after this brief period away from 40 Commando, he returned to the Commando to prepare to deploy once again to Afghanistan on Operation Herrick 12, this time to the volatile Sangin District of northern Helmand. On this tour Corporal O’Connor was praised for his steadfast dedication and bravery and was awarded a Commander Joint Operations’ Commendation.
After attendance on the Royal Marines Junior Command Course in 2011 he immediately rejoined 40 Commando and started Mission Specific Training for what was to be his third operational tour to Afghanistan on Operation Herrick 17.
Corporal 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.
He leaves behind his mother, Rosemary; brother, Phil; father, Roy (known to all as George) and a loving family. He was 27 years old.
Corporal Channing Day
Corporal Channing Amanda Day deployed to Afghanistan on 2 October 2012 as a Combat Medical Technician Class One with the United Kingdom Medical Group. She was based at Patrol Base One in the Nahr-e Saraj District of Helmand Province, Afghanistan, where she provided medical support to 40 Commando Royal Marines.
Corporal Channing Day was born in Swindon, Wiltshire on 12 March 1987. She grew up in Newtownards, County Down before joining the Army in 2005. Following basic training she undertook specialist training as a Combat Medical Technician. In June 2007 she successfully passed her Class One Combat Medical Technician course. In January 2012 she was posted to 3 Medical Regiment and joined 63 (Force Support) Squadron, based in Preston, and in the build up to Operation Herrick 17 was selected to support 40 Commando Royal Marines as part of Transition Support Unit Nahr-e Saraj.
Corporal Day was a popular and well respected member of both 3 Medical Regiment, and Transition Support Unit Nahr-e Saraj. A veteran of previous Iraq and Afghanistan deployments, she was looked up to, especially by more junior soldiers in her Squadron, as a mature voice of experience and good advice.
Corporal Day clearly displayed the potential to go far within the Army. Her diligence, her loyalty to friends and comrades and the high opinion in which she was held by all ranks made her a natural medical leader. 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.
Corporal Day is survived by her parents, Leslie and Rosemary Day, her sisters, Lauren and Laken, and brother Aaron. She was 25 years old.