Cpl. Brian Pinksen died at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany Monday, more than a week after being wounded by the device during a routine patrol in the Panjwai District, southwest of Kandahar City, on Aug. 22.
Pinksen, 20, was serving as part of Joint Task Force Afghanistan when he was wounded. He was evacuated to the medical facility at Kandahar Air Field and moved to Landstuhl via nearby Ramstein Air Base last Wednesday.
He was serving in Afghanistan with the 1st Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment battle group, but was a reservist with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment.
Kerry Pittman, Pinksen’s uncle, remembered him as a true soldier. He’d won the top soldier award at the Gallipoli Armouries in Corner Brook and at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown.
Pittman described himself as his nephew’s uncle/father figure. He spent a lot of time with the young man after his father left.
At eight years old, Pinksen was left to be the father figure for his brothers Brandon, who is now 17, and Blair, who is 12.
“He was very protective and he always had genuine concern for his family and friends,” Pittman said. “If you met him your first impression probably was ‘what a good guy.’ That’s what everybody’s impression of Brian was.
“It’s hard to put in words what he was. To me he was everything.”
He recalls his nephew’s upbeat attitude and how he always made time to do things with his brothers.
A church-going young man, he appreciated what his mother Debbie did for him.
He had a mischievous side, though. A birthday tradition for them was a pie in the face as a present. He enjoyed a good prank and would do almost anything for a laugh.
“He saw me go into the ATM machine one day and whispered to his mom, ‘I’m going to give Uncle Kerry a fright,’” Pittman said. “He jumped aboard the back of my pickup.
“He was very protective and he always had genuine concern for his family and friends,” - Kerry Pittman
“When I came from the ATM machine, he grabbed me from behind and said, ‘This is a stickup.’ These are the little things he would do. He was a little prankster, always looking for a laugh. … It was a good chuckle, I must say.”
Wanda Eddison is the mother of his best friend, Cpl. Justin Eddison.
Her son, who returned to Afghanistan Monday after a week’s leave, and Pinksen signed up together and went through all their training together.
“He was a sweetheart,” Eddison said. “He was the nicest young man you could ever meet in your life. He was so kind.”
She said his love for his mother stood out.
He also believed in what he was doing in Afghanistan. Her son does, too.
“We supported them,” she said. “We didn’t want them to go, but we supported them in what they were doing, for sure.”
In a Feb. 16, 2009, article in The Western Star, Pinksen, then a private with the regiment, spoke about his intention to go to Afghanistan. As soon as he heard about the opportunity, he wanted to put his name in for the overseas assignment.
He said he loved the reserves.
“I’m so glad I joined,” Pinksen said then. “I did BMQ (basic military qualification) while I was in school. I’m glad I did it. I have no regrets.”
After Afghanistan he was hoping to go into the regular forces and he had no hesitation about what he wanted to do.
“Infantry’s the backbone of the army,” he said. “Without the infantry, you’re nothing.
“I like the ground-pounding aspect — no matter where, you go. No matter what the environment or the weather’s like, we go.”
The Western Star