Page last updated at 13:28 GMT, Thursday, 4 March 2010

Soldier shot in Afghanistan 'lived life to the full'

Cpl Richard Green
Cpl Green was part of 3 Rifles Recce Platoon

A British soldier shot dead in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday has been named as Cpl Richard Green.

The 23-year-old, from Reading, who was part of 3 Rifles Recce Platoon, died after an incident at a checkpoint near Sangin in Helmand province.

His family said he had recently told them: "If anything happens to me, know that I've lived life to the full, have no regrets and love my job."

The death means 268 UK troops have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001.

Cpl Green, who joined the Army at the age of 16, deployed to Afghanistan in September 2009.

At the time of his death he was working at a patrol base, alongside the Afghan National Army.

It was not connected to the ongoing Operation Moshtarak offensive, aimed at clearing the Taliban out of strongholds in Helmand.

'Large gap'

Lt Col Nick Kitson, Commanding Officer, 3 Rifles Battle Group described Cpl Green as a man at the "very top of his game" and "up to any challenge that the Army could throw at him".

Cpl Richard Green was simply an outstanding rifleman who was flying through the ranks and destined for the top
Maj Mark Melhorn

He said: "The Battle Group has lost one of its most capable young commanders and his sudden absence leaves both a large gap and a heavier burden.

"Cut down by a gunman hiding in the shadows, Cpl Green died whilst standing firm and proud alongside the Afghan Warriors, who are increasingly taking security responsibility from the British troops here."

Cpl Green's family said: "Richard was a larger-than-life character who packed so much into his short life.

"He wouldn't want any of us mourning his death, rather he would want us all to celebrate his life.

"We are so proud of him and will miss him more than words can ever say, but we do take comfort from the thought that, if there is a heaven, he is now having a laugh with his friends whose lives have been taken, just like his, over the past year."

'Personal pride'

Maj Mark Melhorn, officer commanding of fire support company, 3 Rifles Battle Group, said Cpl Green had completed the tough course to qualify him for promotion to the rank of serjeant in the Rifles and had wanted to join special forces.

Most recent UK fatalities

Total deaths 2011: 32

Updated: Dec 18 2011

He added: "Cpl Richard Green was simply an outstanding rifleman who was flying through the ranks and destined for the top."

A reconnaissance platoon comrade, Cpl Cove, said he had lost a best friend.

"He was by far one of the best soldiers I have ever seen and was the one who always set the standards high for Recce Platoon: 'Personal pride' he always used to say.

"Someone like Greeny is such a big loss to the Army. One thing I can honestly say is he lived his dream and died doing what he loved best."

Warrant Officer Class 2 Paul Kelly, said: "Not only a Recce NCO through and through he was a football nut, and this is where I take my fondest memory of him from.

"The banter that went on in the TV room was second to none, no-one could have a pop at his beloved Spurs because he would defend them to the end."

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