Major's tribute to 'rising star' soldier

A MAJOR has praised the efforts of a teenage Colchester soldier who was a “rising star” and died “making a difference” in Afghanistan.Nineteen-year-old Private Damien Jackson, from Third Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, is the sixth British servicemen to be killed in the troubled southern province of Helmand in the past month.

By Sharon Asplin

A MAJOR has praised the efforts of a teenage Colchester soldier who was a “rising star” and died “making a difference” in Afghanistan.

Nineteen-year-old Private Damien Jackson, from Third Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, is the sixth British servicemen to be killed in the troubled southern province of Helmand in the past month.

In a public statement at Colchester Garrison yesterday, Major Murray Mcleod-Jones, Regimental Adjutant Of The Parachute Regiment, described Pte Jackson as an extremely experienced and reliable Paratrooper, who had been recommended for promotion to Lance Corporal.


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He said: “Popular, hard working and pro-active, Damien was an extremely competent and reliable Paratrooper.

“His strength of character and level-headedness helped him to maintain a focused and professional attitude to any task he was given and his infectious sense of humour allowed him to conduct his duties always to the best of his abilities and always with a smile.

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“He was a superb sportsman and extremely popular and highly regarded for his professionalism and dedication by all those who had the privilege to serve with him.

“Among many things he will be remembered for the time he took to look after others, especially those who were newly arrived in the battalion.

“Utterly selfless, he often put his comrades before himself and it is no surprise that he died fighting to save the lives of the fellow members of his platoon when they were engaged in a firefight with the Taliban during a patrol.”

Major Mcleod-Jones said the private was “one of the best” young soldiers serving in the regiment and that his company commander recently described him as being 'simply fantastic'.

He added: “There is no doubt that Damien was one of the rising stars in 3PARA. He will be fondly remembered by those who served with him and those who knew him and will be sadly missed by us all. “Damien serves as an example to all of us in 3PARA and the Regiment.”

The major said 3PARA felt the loss of one of their comrades but were focused on operations and morale within the battalion and regiment remained high.

“Ultimately, this young man gave his life making a difference to the peace and stability of a country that has suffered through conflict - there can be no greater sacrifice,” he said.

Team medic Pte Jackson joined the Army in November 2003, joining the Paras in June 2004. He was taking part in a 3PARA Battle Group foot patrol in Sangin town on Wednesday when his unit came under attack.

On Thursday, his father Daniel said he supported the British Army in Afghanistan but criticised the Government for putting the troops in “dreadful danger”.

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