The family of slain Kiwi soldier Jacinda Baker has paid
tribute to their "special" girl, who would have celebrated her
27th birthday today.
Army medic Lance Corporal Baker, 26, died instantly along
with comrades Corporal Luke Tamatea, 31, and Private Richard
Harris, 21, when a roadside bomb destroyed their Humvee in
Afghanistan's northeast Bamiyan Province on August 19.
Their bodies were flown home last week, and given a full
military farewell at Burnham Military Camp, where they all
served, on Saturday.
Ahead of Baker's private family funeral tomorrow, her
Christchurch parents Peter and Joyce have remembered their
"much loved" daughter on what would have been her birthday.
"Jacinda, my beautiful girl, today we celebrate 27 years of
knowing you," they wrote in a death notice published today.
"You are such a special girl and more precious that you'll
"You are an inspiration to us and will remain firmly planted
in our memories forever.
"We will never forget your smile and your spirit.
"You were and will always be loved. Love you, Snoepje, Mum,
Dad, and Laura. xxx."
Baker is the first female New Zealand soldier to die in
service since the Vietnam War - and the first to be killed in
combat since World War Two.
Auckland nurse Sister Lesley Cowper died of tuberculosis in
Saigon Hospital in 1966 while serving in the Vietnam War.
A celebration of Baker's life will be held tomorrow at St
John's Anglican Church in Rangiora, north of Christchurch.