RAF airman killed on patrol is named

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THE serviceman killed on patrol in Afghanistan on Monday has been named as 21-year-old Ryan Tomlin, of Hemel Hempstead.

Mr Tomlin was a member of 2 Squadron, Royal Air Force Regiment. He was taking part in a partnered patrol to reassure and interact with the local population in the Western Dashte area on the edge of Nad-e Ali district in Central Helmand Province when he was fatally wounded by small arms fire from an insurgent attack. He was evacuated by air to the field hospital at Camp Bastion where sadly he succumbed to his wounds.

Senior Aircraftman Ryan Tomlin joined the Royal Air Force in October 2008, completing his Trainee Gunners Course in April 2009 before moving on to the Phase One Field Gunners Course. He was selected to join 2 Squadron, Royal Air Force Regiment, based at Royal Air Force Honington, in June 2009.

He arrived at an incredibly busy time for the Squadron and launched straight into Afghanistan pre-deployment training. Ryan completed his first tour in Afghanistan in 2010 as a specialist driver on a rifle flight (the RAF Regiment equivalent of a platoon), defending Kandahar Air Base. After returning from this successful deployment, he showed promise and desire to develop new skills.

He deployed on a second tour to Afghanistan with No. 3 RAF Force Protection Wing at Camp Bastion in October 2011. From the start of the tour, he and his section supported Squadron operations out on the ground around Bastion with great skill and determination, often deploying for several days at a time through the harsh Helmand winter.

He was highly professional and skilful gunner who achieved all he set out to do in his three years in the Royal Air Force Regiment, and became one of the rising stars of his squadron and regiment, showing great potential for what promised to be the brightest of futures.

He leaves behind his mother and father, Diane and Kevin, and a sister, Michelle.

In a statement, the family of SAC Tomlin said:

“Ryan loved and lived life to the full. He gave his life at a very young age doing the job he loved. Ryan will be sorely missed by his family and friends and everyone who loved him.

“We will remember his cheeky grin and great sense of humour. Ryan will be forever young and never forgotten. Our true hero and shining star.”

Did you know Ryan? Post your tributes below.