Killed soldier 'perfect' - family
The parents of a soldier killed in Afghanistan on Remembrance Sunday have said they have lost a "perfect" son.
On the day the body of Ranger Aaron McCormick, 22, of 1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment, will be flown into RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire, his father Lesley and mother Margaret spoke of their immense pride and loss.
"We were so proud of Aaron and stood by him knowing the commitment he gave to everything he wanted to do," said Margaret McCormick.
"Of course we were concerned and anxious but we all supported him. 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."
The soldier, from Coleraine, Co Londonderry, had been helping to clear an area of improvised explosive devices during a security patrol in Nad 'Ali when he was killed in an explosion on November 14.
The family will hold a private ceremony at RAF Lyneham when Ranger McCormick is repatriated. The cortege will then pass through nearby Wootton Bassett.
As has become tradition, local people and Royal British Legion members are expected to join with his family and friends to line the high street in tribute.
His father Lesley revealed that 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," added Mr McCormick.
Paying tribute to Ranger McCormick, Lieutenant Colonel Colin Weir MBE, Commanding Officer of the regiment, said: "Ranger Aaron McCormick was the epitome of the Irish infantry soldier: tough; selfless; good-humoured and full of compassion."
Ranger McCormick had served once before in Afghanistan on Operation Herrick 8 and was quickly identified as a "quality soldier", according to the Ministry of Defence.