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15 February 2012, 06:00 | Updated: 15 February 2012, 06:55
The Ministry of Defence have named an airman from RAF Honington in Suffolk who was killed whilst on patrol in Afghanistan.
Senior Aircraftman Ryan Tomlin, of 2 Squadron, Royal Air Force Regiment was killed on the 13 February.
SAC Tomlin was taking part in a partnered patrol in the Western Dashte area on the edge of Nad-e Ali district in Central Helmand Province when he was fatally wounded by small arms fire from an insurgent attack.
He was evacuated by air but later died at a field hospital at Camp Bastion.
Senior Aircraftman Ryan Tomlin, 21, from Hemel Hempstead was born on 29 May 1990. He joined the Royal Air Force in October 2008, completing his Trainee Gunners Course in April 2009 before moving on to the Phase One Field Gunners Course. He was selected to join 2 Squadron, Royal Air Force Regiment, based at Royal Air Force Honington, in June 2009.
Ryan completed his first tour in Afghanistan in 2010 as a specialist driver, defending Kandahar Air Base.
He leaves behind his mother and father, Diane and Kevin, and a sister, Michelle.
His family said:
'Ryan loved and lived life to the full. He gave his life at a very young age doing the job he loved. Ryan will be sorely missed by his family and friends and everyone who loved him. We will remember his cheeky grin and great sense of humour. Ryan will be forever young and never forgotten. Our true hero and shining star.'
Wing Commander Jason Sutton OBE, Commanding Officer, No. 3 RAF Force Protection Wing, said:
'Senior Aircraftman Tomlin was one of the finest men on my wing and his loss has come as a terrible blow to all of us, especially his comrades on his beloved 2 Squadron, Royal Air Force Regiment. Bright, gifted and an absolute master of his craft, he had the complete trust of those who had the privilege of serving alongside him. When the task was hard, he would immediately rise to the challenge. When those around him were weary, he was the one to lift their spirits, and when the enemy threatened, he was the first to be ready to fight. In our grief, we take comfort that he fell doing the job he loved, protecting his mates and the Afghan National Army soldiers we work to support in our shared task of building a better future for Afghanistan.
'Senior Aircraftman Tomlin had the brightest future ahead of him, and his loss has deprived the Royal Air Force Regiment of one of its very best. In continuing our mission here to protect air operations and the people who work at Camp Bastion, we will strive to do justice to the fine example he set. His loss is deeply felt by us all, but our grief can never be deeper than that of Diane and Kevin and their family, with whom our thoughts and prayers are with at this most difficult time. He will never be forgotten. Per Ardua.'
Secretary of State for Defence Philip Hammond said:
'I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Senior Aircraftman Ryan Tomlin. The tributes of his colleagues in 2 Squadron, Royal Air Force Regiment speak of a popular member of the unit and a confident, respected gunner. My thoughts at this time are with his family and loved ones.'