Who is Joseph Hildebrand? Ashes of Canadian who died fighting in Ukraine return home

Canadian soldier’s ashes who died in the Ukraine war return home. Let’s see about the soldier Joseph Hildebrand in detail.

Who is Joseph Hildebrand?

A 33-year-old veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, Joseph Hildebrand relocated from his home in Saskatchewan to join Ukraine’s war effort against Russia.

After graduating from high school, Hildebrand joined the Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry in the Canadian Armed Forces. He served there between 2009 and 2010.

Joseph Hildebrand attempted to volunteer as a combatant in Syria during its civil war after leaving the army, but he was unable to do so because of border restrictions.

He then went back to Saskatchewan to work on the farms of his relatives and neighbors.

In response to the question of why he wanted to fight for Ukraine, Mr Hildebrand reportedly stated that he thought “the whole world needs to stand up against Putin and Russia’s aggression” and that “this is the best way I can support and uphold my morals and beliefs.”

The source in the International Legion, who knew the Canadian personally, said that Mr Hildebrand had applied to join the organization. Along with having experience in close-quarters warfare, he claimed to have “a high pain tolerance with a calm demeanour,” in his application.

Soldier’s remains returns home

His family campaigned for weeks after his death in November to have his remains carried home in a dignified manner.

To bring Joseph Hildebrand’s remains home in this manner, negotiations with Ukrainian and Canadian authorities lasted for weeks.

If Ottawa doesn’t alter how it assists in the return of volunteer soldiers, the family fears that more Canadians will have to take similar measures.

Since Carissa and Joseph Hildebrand moved to Ukraine, she and her daughter Jovi, who is almost 14 years old, have changed.

In the early days of December, Carissa told CBC News in her Swift Current, Saskatchewan, apartment,

“When Joe went, that’s when we started to grieve.”

They spent almost eight years together.

Joseph Hildebrand adopted Carissa’s daughter, who he called “Jovi Bear,” in 2020 as his affection for her developed.

They were evolving into a true “family unit,” according to Carissa. Russia then attacked Ukraine.

she added,

“When he found out we weren’t sending Canadian soldiers to go help, he was blown away,”

She supported his decision to go, but she didn’t comprehend it.

“He always was in a constant pull,” she claimed.

“He wanted the farm life and the family life, but he also wanted to constantly go be with his brotherhood and go help. It’s two different worlds.”

Soldier Dead

A 33-year-old veteran of the Canadian Forces named Joseph Hildebrand was killed in the front-line city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region.

According to a battalion source, his unit of foreign fighters had carried out a successful assault mission in the city, although many soldiers suffered minor wounds.

While transporting their wounded to an on-the-front-lines medical facility, the battalion came under Russian artillery bombardment. Both Mr Hildebrand and another foreign combatant killed.

Around 7 a.m. on November 7, Carissa’s phone rang.

She replied,

“I just instantly kind of knew.”

Joseph Hildebrand had passed away, a man with a strong Ukrainian accent informed her. She is still unsure of who called.

Joseph Hildebrand died on November 7 in the eastern city of Bakhmut, dragging dead and injured fellow soldiers to a safe area, according to chats with Hildebrand’s fellow soldiers that Carissa overheard.

The love of Carissa’s life was reportedly killed by an artillery strike.

Carissa stated,

“I want to open people’s eyes to what happens to a volunteer that goes to fight for a different country.”

Repatriation process

Canadians are highly discouraged by federal officials from visiting Ukraine while it is at war.

“Your safety is at high risk, particularly if you engage in active combat, Our ability to provide consular services in Ukraine is severely limited. You should not depend on the Government of Canada to help you leave the country.”

Therefore, after Joseph Hildebrand passed away, Ukrainian authorities decided what should happen next.

The repatriation procedure was launched by Assist Ukraine, a third-party organization collaborating with the Ukrainian army.

The group coordinated the cremation after transporting his remains to the crematorium. Additionally, it organized papers like death certificates.

The corporation typically ships leftovers back to the country of origin.

Carissa remarked,

“That just feels wrong.”

“He’s all alone on a cargo plane. It’s hard to trust.”

The Swift Current Funeral Home director, Crystal Martens, and Carissa then collaborated to request an escort to bring the remains back to Canada.

The business insisted that the original strategy must be followed. Assist Ukraine, the Canadian Embassy, Global Affairs Canada, and the International Legion of Defense of Ukraine, the group Hildebrand fought with, were among the organizations Carissa and Martens were emailing at the time.

Martens described herself as a “relentless” liaison because it appeared that none of the groups was interacting with one another.

“Some people were very uncaring and wondered why we were arguing about this.”

“We didn’t want him alone being shipped in a box like an Amazon package”

Steve Krsnik was also battling to get his friend back from Ukraine in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Joseph Hildebrand had enlisted with his assistance.

He explained, “We didn’t want him alone being shipped in a box like an Amazon package.”

Joseph Hildebrand was given military training assistance by the Princess Patricia veteran. In Afghanistan, they both served at roughly the same time.

Krsnik said,

“Many guys that served overseas, when they come back, they have trouble adjusting to civilian life because it’s so drastically different.” 

“Guys always strive to experience those highs again because they’re so addictive. The amount of endorphins rushing through your body when you’re at those peaks — it’s euphoric in a way. Guys will supplement that feeling with thrill-seeking activities … but it doesn’t work. It doesn’t answer the call that we want.”

While Joseph Hildebrand was in Ukraine, they remained in contact. According to Krsnik, Hildebrand felt he was “doing the right thing” and had made progress against the Russians.

Krsnik was aware that volunteer troops are not accorded ramp ceremonies or convoys along the Highway of Heroes when Joseph Hildebrand passed away.

He said,

“The Canadian government didn’t really step in to do much as far as the repatriation was concerned.”

They also don’t receive a lot of assistance from Ottawa.

Through online fundraising, Krsnik was able to earn more than $27,000 to cover costs associated with repatriation, legal, funeral, and accounting fees, as well as additional unforeseen expenses. Joseph Hildebrand’s daughter will receive whatever is left over.

Veterans Help

Throughout November, Krsnik, Martens, and Carissa worked to persuade the authorities to hand over the remains to their escort, which was already in Ukraine.

Josiah Napier, a fellow veteran of Princess Patricia who knew Joseph Hildebrand, was serving in Ukraine for the second time voluntarily.

Napier put off his journey by a month so that he could be Joseph Hildebrand’s escort, even though he was getting ready to head back to his own family in Alberta.

Napier told CBC News from Kyiv in early December,

“If it had been me and there had been no advocate here, it would have been a pretty hellish process.”

“So I stayed. It’s the right thing to do.”

The four Canadians organized documents for their trip every day, including copies of passports and a letter of approval for the escort from the Canadian Embassy.

On December 2nd, everybody agreed that Napier may take Hildebrand home. According to Martens, completing such a repatriation process in just a few weeks was “phenomenal” given that it typically takes months.

The only significant catch was that the family had to cover the expense of returning home, a sum they have not yet calculated.

Federal Government paid for the return

Carissa claimed that she never anticipated that the federal government would pay the bill for the return of her partner’s remains, but she did desire better organization.

She stated, remembering his experience in the Canadian Forces, “Joseph Hildebrand would be severely disappointed in his government right now.”

“He fought for Canada.”

Joseph Hildebrand came Home

Napier made the roughly 550-kilometre trip from Kyiv to Lviv to retrieve the urn. He then took a ride with another foreign soldier out of Ukraine.

On December 10, in a funeral home in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Crystal Martens, Carissa Hildebrand, Jovi Hildebrand, and Josiah Napier stood behind Joseph Hildebrand’s urn.

(Usama Farag for CBC)

The group decided Napier would take a trip from Frankfurt to Calgary, Alberta, as direct international flights to Saskatchewan are uncommon.

Carissa, Jovi, and Martens travelled to pick up Hildebrand on December 10—nearly six months to the day after he left for the war—meeting Napier at a funeral home in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

The Last Post finishes as Napier makes steady progress toward Carissa and Jovi.

“Hi, Josiah,” Carissa murmurs.

Jovi encircles Napier in her arms as he gives Carissa the urn in a black velvet bag. She grabs it firmly in both hands. Carissa is embraced by Martens.

The only sounds are gentle tears interspersed with breaths of air.

Officials Statement

Assist Ukraine claimed in an email to CBC News that it went above and above what was required under Ukrainian law to return Hildebrand’s ashes to Canada without delay.

Veterans Affairs Canada, according to a spokeswoman, is unable to comment

“on the files of individual veterans, even after they have passed away.”

Lawrence MacAuley, the minister, was unavailable for comment.

According to a representative for Global Affairs Canada, the agency is offering the family consular assistance and taking the necessary steps to ensure that the family is well supported and treated with compassion.

Mélanie Joly, the minister of foreign affairs, refuses to comment on the behaviur of the embassy or whether the government is taking action in response to the complaint.

Canada expresses its sorrow at Mr Hildebrand’s demise, according to a statement from her press secretary Adrien Blanchard.

“Our thoughts are with the family and the loved ones of the Canadian who lost his life. This is a tragic loss, and we want to convey our most sincere condolences.”.

“Global Affairs Canada officials are in contact with the family and are providing consular services. GAC is taking the necessary steps to ensure that the family is well supported and treated with compassion.”

One of the worst things anyone can go through in life is losing a loved one. Any journey must have a destination at the end. The person’s time on earth has regrettably come to an end now that they have died.

We wish him eternal peace and send our thoughts and prayers to his loved ones, family, friends. May he rest in peace.


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