First Minister Peter Robinson has said he was inspired by the dedication of troops being deployed to Afghanistan.
The DUP leader praised the courage of soldiers from the 1st Battalion The Irish Guards whom he met during a visit to the regiment's Victoria Barracks in Windsor.
Mr Robinson, together with junior minister and party colleague Robin Newton, visited the regiment which traditionally recruits large numbers of soldiers from Ireland.
The ministers were briefed by Commanding Officer Lt Colonel Chris Ghika on the regiment's preparations for deployment to Afghanistan later in the year.
Mr Robinson said: “The Irish Guards have a proud and honourable tradition of serving their country around the world.
“The six Victoria Crosses won are a testament to the bravery of the regiment and I have no doubt they will face the challenges of serving in Afghanistan with the same courage and determination.
“It has been a privilege to visit the regiment's barracks today to witness at first-hand their professionalism and dedication.”