Described as charismatic, articulate and an astute journalist who was often a voice for Canada’s soldiers, long-time Canadian war correspondent, Adam Day, passed away earlier this month.
Day was a reporter with the Legion Magazine, based in Ottawa, from 2004 to recently. During this time he travelled to Afghanistan on multiple occasions as an embedded journalist, often travelling with the troops to Forward Operating Bases in Kandahar.
“He was one of those few writers who could sort of bridge the gap between the written and spoken word. Reading his articles is like listening to someone talk, but someone exceptionally articulate,” said Maj. Ed Stewart, a Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) member who had known Day for many years.
Stewart met Day in Oct. 2006, at Kandahar Airfield (KAF), at the height of the War in Afghanistan.
“He was extraordinarily well-read, and while a lot of journalists who cover the defence beat are, he tended to go farther afield than most, I thought. He would delve into biographies and even our own doctrine to try and get a handle on things, and he was always, always up for a debate. It's quite possible that debating was one of his favourite things. He was witty, clever and well-spoken and he had real knack for describing the improbable clearly,” recalled Stewart.
Stewart remembers that as soon as Day arrived, he was itching to get out in the field and, so, he was sent to Forward Operating Base MARTELLO, north of Kandahar City.
Although Day continued to return to Afghanistan over the years, he did not reconnect with Stewart until the summer of 2007, when Day was working on articles about Op MEDUSA. Stewart had been the Public Affairs Officer for 1st Battalion, the Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group.
“After that, we never had a call to work together again, but became pretty good friends, I think it is fair to say,” said Stewart.
Through Stewart, Day was introduced to many other soldiers including LCol. Kyle Keffer.
“Adam was a very charismatic individual, he had a way of drawing people in. He had an infectious personality. His happy, positive energy made it easy for people to want to be around him and enjoy his company,” said Keffer.
Day’s time in Afghanistan led him to write a number of hard-hitting articles that unveiled the true face of the Canadian involvement in Afghanistan and the impact it had on soldiers. Besides writing many articles on Op MEDUSA, he wrote several pieces about the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) battle many soldiers faced on returning home.
“I would say that Adam, especially in his later embeds, became particularly focused on what he saw as the human cost of the mission; which really comes out in his later articles, particularly 'Go Down Nightmare.' His work was always a pleasure to read -is a pleasure to read,” said Stewart.
The body of work produced by Day from his experiences in Afghanistan led him to win the Ross Munro Media Award in 2012.
Day passed away at the age of 42 on July 5. According to his obituary, he is survived by his parents Wilfred Day and Margaret Cavan Day, sister Alexia, and niece Emilia, all of Port Hope, and sister Patricia Ferrari, niece Lia, and nephew Alex of Whitby.