Body of RIR soldier is repatriated
Parents of an RIR soldier killed in Afghanistan paid tribute to their son after his body arrived back in the UK.
Ranger Aaron McCormick, 22, from Macosquin, Londonderry of the Royal Irish Regiment, died in Helmand province on Remembrance Sunday.
His body was repatriated to RAF Lyneham, Wiltshire, for a private service before his coffin passed through Wootton Bassett.
His father Lesley and mother Margaret paid tribute to their "perfect son".
"We were so proud of Aaron and stood by him knowing the commitment he gave to everything he wanted to do," Mrs McCormick said.
"Aaron was the perfect son, brother and uncle. He gave so much of himself in everything he did and he loved to be here (at home) with his family and friends.
"He also loved being with his many friends in the Royal Irish Regiment," Mrs McCormick added.
Ranger McCormick was killed in an explosion as he helped to clear roadside bombs in the Nad-e Ali area of Helmand.
Mr McCormick said his son, a star pupil throughout school, had the opportunity to go through officer training at Sandhurst but was determined to join the ranks as soon as he could.
"Aaron always made friends wherever he went," he said.
"He never wished harm for anyone and loved to be with his friends, both at home and those within the Royal Irish Regiment."
Mrs McCormick said the rest of the family were devastated.
"His brother Michael, sisters Tammy and Carrie-Ann are shattered and feel such a loss," she said.
"And there's also his niece, four-year-old Tamara, who carries Aaron's photograph proudly telling everyone it's her uncle."
The soldier also leaves behind his girlfriend Becky.
It was Ranger McCormick's second tour of duty in Afghanistan, where he was involved in detecting mines.
Lt Col Colin Weir, commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, the Royal Irish Regiment, said: "Ranger Aaron McCormick was the epitome of the Irish infantry soldier - tough, selfless, good-humoured and full of compassion."