Ranger Aaron McCormick
Ranger Aaron McCormick, serving as part of Combined Force Nad 'Ali (South), was killed in Helmand, southern Afghanistan, on Sunday 14 November 2010. He had been helping to clear an area of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) during a security patrol in Nad 'Ali when he was killed in an explosion.
Rgr McCormick, aged 22, came from Coleraine in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. On completion of his recruit training, he joined 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment (1 R IRISH) at Tern Hill, Shropshire, in January 2008.
Rgr McCormick was posted to A Company, where he served with distinction for two-and-a-half years. His professionalism, selflessness and enthusiasm were well known across the Company and the Battalion. Rgr McCormick had served once before in Afghanistan on Operation HERRICK 8, and was quickly identified as a quality soldier. Voluntarily, he took on the responsibility as the lead Vallon (mine detection) man. He would be the first man on any patrol, showing the strength of character and courage that he would come to be known for.
Faugh-A-Ballagh! ('Clear the way!'), is the Regiment's motto, and Rgr McCormick was a man who truly cleared the way.
Despite a relatively short time in the Army he was able to offer guidance and advice to the newest members of his unit, often over a brew and having a chat about 'Star Wars'; he was a huge fan.
Rgr McCormick was very well educated and had aspirations to complete a degree in education in the future, a career to which he would have been well suited.
Always ready with a smile, Rgr McCormick was at the centre of the 'craic' and he will be sorely missed by all members of The Royal Irish Regiment. He leaves behind his mother, Margaret, his father, Lesley, his sisters, Callie-Ann and Tammy, his brother, Michael, and his girlfriend, Becky. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
Lieutenant Colonel Colin Weir MBE, Commanding Officer, 1 R IRISH, said:
"Ranger Aaron McCormick was the epitome of the Irish Infantry soldier: tough; selfless; good-humoured and full of compassion. Today, there is a gap in our ranks which no ordinary man could fill. He was the best of his country and we mourn his loss. Today, we have a heavy heart. Tomorrow, in his honour and because it is right, his brother Rangers will steel themselves once again, will step out on patrol, and will face down the enemy. This place is already better for Aaron having been here; we will now build on his good work with renewed determination to win."
"At 22, Ranger McCormick was something of an Afghan 'old-hand', looked up to by the more junior Rangers and relied upon by his commanders. In his many battles he was unfailingly brave, and perhaps more tellingly, he was brave even when the adrenaline was not flowing. In full knowledge of the danger, he was determined that he would be the front man on every patrol, and the first man out of the gate of the checkpoint. He died as a result of an operation to confirm the presence of an IED; a vital first step to clearing it and protecting the lives of local civilians and soldiers alike."
"Ranger Aaron McCormick was a son, brother and companion of whom his heartbroken family and friends can feel intensely proud. This regiment does not forget, and we will continue to pray for him and his loved ones."
"Faugh A Ballagh"