Monday, September 17, 2012

R.I.P. - Lance Corporal Duane Groom (UK)

A British soldier who was killed in Afghanistan on Friday when his vehicle hit a roadside bomb has been named as Lance Corporal Duane Groom from The Queen's Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards.

The Ministry of Defence said the 32-year-old, who was born in Suva City, Fiji, was protecting his Afghan and British colleagues as they extracted from a successful operation when he was killed in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand Province.

Lieutenant Colonel James Bowder, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, said: "Lance Corporal Groom was an outstanding soldier in every respect. Tough, keen, and unflappable, he was utterly committed to his fellows and the cause.

"We are all tremendously proud of what he achieved during his time in the regiment, and particularly out here in Afghanistan where he contributed so much.

"His many friends and the broader battlegroup will never forget this most talented of men. Moreover, we are determined to finish the mission that he so bravely helped to start.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends outside the regiment at this most difficult of times."

L/Cpl Groom joined the British Army in 2007. Having completed his combat infantryman's course, he moved to Nijmegen Company, Grenadier Guards, where he participated in public duties and ceremonial tasks at royal palaces.

Two years later he joined 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, training in Kenya before deploying to Afghanistan in September 2009 with The Queen's Company.

He also took part in the Infantry Skiing Championships in early 2011 and attended a Junior Non-Commissioned Officer Cadre in January 2012.

Newly-promoted, he deployed to Afghanistan for his second tour of duty in April as a member of the Operations Company for Combined Force Nahr-e Saraj (North).

As well as working with his parent company, for seven weeks of the tour he provided force protection for British military advisors to the Afghan National Army. He was performing this role when he was killed.

Corporal Joe Roligadra, 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh, said: "I have known Duane since I was 14 and he was always like a big brother to me.

"He was the sort of person who always had your back covered in good times and in bad times. We have been through a lot together before we joined the Army and he was always very decent and generous to me.

"The loyalty that he showed me was over and above that of normal brotherhood. I remember that when things got rough he would always tell 'Joe, everything is going to be okay,' and he always shared everything he had with me.

"He was a caring and honest person and was full of life; when growing up in Fiji together I always used to say that he had 'the best smile in paradise'.

"The more I think about him, the more I miss him. He was the perfect brother that I had always wished for.

"We always planned to join the British Army together and although we ended up in different regiments, he loved his new job and soldiering was everything to him.

"He loved it because it restored the virtues in life that we had lost and had always hoped to regain. He was the best friend, brother and soldier ever, and I will miss a true and great person."

Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond, said: "I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Lance Corporal Duane Groom and my thoughts are with his family at this very sad time.

"Lance Corporal Groom was a dedicated solider and well-respected serviceman, and his loss is a great tragedy.

"Lance Corporal Groom gave his life protecting Britain's national security; his efforts will not be in vain, and he will not be forgotten."
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