03/03/2011

Explosives Sniffer Dog Handler Killed

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed the death of Lance Corporal Liam Tasker, The Royal Army Veterinary Corps, 1st Military Working Dog Regiment, who died in Afghanistan on Tuesday.

Lance Corporal (L/Cpl) Liam Richard Tasker deployed to Afghanistan on 8 September 2010 as part of 1st Military Working Dog Regiment.

On 1 March, LCpl Tasker was taking part in a patrol with his dog, Theo, when they were engaged by small arms fire, during which LCpl Tasker was struck and died from the injuries he sustained and then - on return to Camp Bastion, Theo his dog, suffered a seizure and died, (both pictured).

Having trained as an Arms Explosive Search handler he was attached to 1st Battalion Irish Guards on 19 February 2011.

LCpl Liam Tasker was born on 11 December 1984 in Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland. He joined the Army in 2001 and was originally a vehicle mechanic in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. His passion though, was always dogs which led to his transfer to the Royal Army Veterinary Corps in 2007.

A trainer who had a natural empathy with dogs, he was a rising star within the Dog Training group. In 2010, he was posted to 104 Military Working Dog Squadron, St Georges Barracks, North Luffenham, Rutland, part of the 1st Military Working Dog Regiment.
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From the onset of his operational tour in Afghanistan, he provided strong search and clearance capability for units across Helmand Province. In a short period of time, he had significant success locating improvised explosive devices, weapons and bomb making equipment. His success undoubtedly saved many lives.

Lance Corporal Tasker was an outgoing, jovial and friendly character. He was extremely popular within the Squadron. His easy going, confident approach belied a consummate professional.

He always strived to be the best and within the Squadron he was one of the best and he will be sorely missed by all in the Squadron. He can never be replaced and will always be remembered. He was a fun, friendly, talkative character who always wanted the best from his dog, his troops, and himself.

He leaves behind his mother Jane Duffy, his father Ian Tasker, his brother Ian and his two sisters, Laura and Nicola, and girlfriend Leah.

Liam's family said: "There are three words that best describe Liam, larger than life. He lit up every room he walked into with his cheeky smile. He was the best son, grandson, brother and friend you could ever wish to meet. He died a hero doing a job he was immensely passionate about. We are so proud of him and everything he's achieved. Words can't describe how sorely he will be missed."

(BMcC/GK)

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