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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 March 2008, 16:01 GMT
MoD names airman killed in Iraq
Sergeant Barwood
Sergeant Barwood died after a rocket attack at a base in Basra
An airman killed in Iraq on Friday has been named by the Ministry of Defence as Sergeant Duane 'Baz' Barwood.

Sergeant Barwood, 41, from Carterton, Oxfordshire, was based at RAF Brize Norton, and attached to 903 Expeditionary Air Wing.

He was killed after a rocket attack on his base in Basra, southern Iraq, and leaves behind a wife and two daughters.

Defence Secretary Des Browne said: "I am deeply saddened by the death of such a brave and exceptional leader."

And he added: "The tributes from his colleagues are testament to his courage and popularity. My thoughts are with Sergeant Barwood's family, friends and colleagues. He will be sorely missed by all those who knew him well."

Sergeant Barwood joined the RAF in 1985 as a regiment gunner and was promoted to sergeant in nine years, which the MoD said was "exceptional by any standard".

His senior officers spoke of his "strong judgment and exceptional courage" in fulfilling his duties as the airfield motor transport officer at the air base.

Loyal and dedicated

He was recently commended for his bravery in dealing with the aftermath of a serious rocket attack on the base.

His death takes the number of UK troops killed in Iraq to 175.

British troops transferred control of Basra province to the Iraqi authorities in December 2007, four-and-a-half years after the US-led invasion of the country.

Sergeant Barwood was admired and respected by all those he led
Group Captain Malcolm Brecht

The handover was considered a significant milestone towards Britain's final withdrawal from operations in Iraq.

In a statement, Sergeant Barwood's family said: "He was a much loved husband, father and friend.

"Baz will be greatly missed by all those who knew him. He was a very proud and dedicated member of the Royal Air Force who gave his life for the job he loved."

It added: "Baz lived life to the full and will never ever be forgotten. We would ask that our privacy is respected during this difficult time."

'Respected by all'

Group Captain Malcolm Brecht, commanding officer at Brize Norton, described Sergeant Barwood as "a true professional".

"An enthusiastic, loyal and dedicated member of the Royal Air Force, he was a willing volunteer for his tour of duty on operations in Iraq," he added.

"A caring and diligent man, with a larger-than-life personality, Sergeant Barwood was admired and respected by all those he led... he displayed natural leadership abilities, strong judgement and exceptional courage."

Group Captain Mike Wigston, Commander of 903 Expeditionary Air Wing, said: "Sergeant Barwood was an outstanding senior non-commissioned officer who was loved by his people and respected by all."

There are more than 4,000 British troops in Iraq, now employed in a role focused on training Iraqi forces.

The government has said it plans to reduce that number to 2,500 during the spring of this year.

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