Family given dead soldier's medal
The family of a dog handler killed in Afghanistan have been presented with his campaign medal alongside his squadron colleagues.
Lance Corporal Liam Tasker, 26, from Kirkcaldy, Fife, was killed on March 1 when he was on patrol in Helmand Province with Springer spaniel Theo. The dog later suffered a seizure and also died - believed by many to be from a broken heart.
Soldiers from 104 Military Working Dog Squadron, part of the 1st Military Working Dog Regiment, received their campaign medals at a special parade at St George's Barracks in North Luffenham, Rutland.
Among them were L/Cpl Tasker's mother, Jane Duffy, stepfather, Jimmy Duffy, father, Ian Tasker, and sisters, Laura and Nicola.
Mrs Duffy received her son's campaign medal as the squadron was also given a commendation from the Commander of Joint Force Support Afghanistan, Brigadier Alister Davis, for "distinguished service in the support of Operation Herrick" in Afghanistan.
Forty-five soldiers from the squadron and four RAF police dog handlers who deployed to Afghanistan joined the parade. The squadron, which returned from a six-month tour last Tuesday, provided protection and search capabilities as well as helping to clear routes, buildings and vehicles.
Colonel Neil Smith, head of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, who presented the medals, told the soldiers L/Cpl Tasker was a real "star" who exemplified the "character and capability" of the squadron.
"Every one of you can be very very proud of all you have achieved in the last six months.
"Because of what you did, and I include L/Cpl Tasker in that, there are people, soldiers, who are alive today. There are people, soldiers, Afghan security forces and Afghan civilians who owe their lives to what you and your dogs achieved."
Wishing the soldiers a good leave period, he added: "Please take care - you may be brilliant but you are not invincible."