Belfast Telegraph

Royal Irish hero receives top award

By John Mulgrew

A Royal Irish Ranger from Co Londonderry has been named Most Outstanding Soldier at a Military Awards ceremony in London.

Sergeant Ryan McCready (26) received the award from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Paying tribute to the soldier’s bravery, Prince William said: “You exemplify to an extraordinary degree the unique qualities that make the British soldier second to none — courage, steadfastness, professionalism, sense of humour and a deep humanity.”

Upon receiving the accolade, Ryan said he was “taken aback” and dedicated it to three “fallen comrades” in his battalion.

Rangers Aaron McCormick and David Dalzell and Lance Corporal Stephen McKee were all killed while on a recent tour of Afghanistan.

Ryan was up for the award alongside other soldiers from across the UK.

He served in a village in Helmand province in Afghanistan where he was under constant attack, and led daily skirmishes against Taliban fighters — in one single battle wiping out eight of the enemy’s troops and wounding five others.

During his tour he was also hit by a rocket propelled grenade but despite having shrapnel embedded in his neck continued his duties.

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