Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Warrant Officer Class 2 Sean Upton killed in Afghanistan

It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Warrant Officer Class 2 Sean Upton was killed in Afghanistan on Monday 27 July 2009.

Warrant Officer Class 2 Upton from 5th Regiment Royal Artillery was killed as a result of an explosion whilst conducting a foot patrol in Sangin district, Helmand province. He was serving as second-in-command of Sangin's Police Mentoring Team.

Warrant Officer Class 2 Sean Upton

WO2 Upton was born on 29 November 1973 in Nottinghamshire. He enlisted into the Army in June 1990. A career Royal Artillery weapon locator specialising in RADAR systems, he served operationally in Iraq, Northern Ireland, Cyprus and Bosnia, and previously in Afghanistan.

He was a natural leader and intensely professional soldier who rose sharply through the ranks, quickly gaining trust from, and the confidence of, colleagues wherever he served.

At the start of Operation HERRICK 10 he commanded the Counter Fire elements at Kandahar Airfield, protecting it from insurgent rocket and mortar fire. It was the sort of job in which he revelled, needing a sharp technical intellect and a calm and decisive manner he was yet again superbly effective.

On transfer to Sangin district, Helmand province he approached his duty with the same energy and intelligent attention to detail that characterised his career.

WO2 Upton was one of the central figures that make 53 (Louisburg) Battery so effective. He was absolutely key to the life and ethos of the unit, whether on Operations or at home.

Always approachable, and hugely capable, he inadvertently became a role model to a generation of junior soldiers. His character was self-effacing and generous, and he lived his life through an unimpeachable set of values.

Throughout the build-up to this tour WO2 Upton was always at the heart of training activity; cajoling and encouraging soldiers, and sometimes prodding the junior officers and imparting wisdom in the diplomatic and avuncular manner required; he seemed always to be in exactly the right place.

His popularity across the wider Regiment marked him as a man whose company was always fun and who could be relied upon to deliver; he was consequently relied upon heavily, in particular by his Battery Commander and Battery Sergeant Major.

Despite all of his professional achievements, WO2 Upton remained a devoted family man and was hugely proud of his young family; he leaves behind his wife Karen and two children Hollie and Ewan.

Lieutenant Colonel John Musgrave, Commanding Officer 5th Regiment Royal Artillery, said:

"WO2 Sean Upton was a naturally gifted soldier, the complete professional, noted for his light touch in command and dedication to his solders. He specialised in the defeat of enemy rockets and mortars – an art he had practiced in the Balkans, Iraq and on both his Afghanistan tours, always remaining calm under fire, and decisive and effective in his response.

"His rapid progression through the ranks was testimony to what would have been the brightest future in the Army. 5th Regiment has lost a truly dedicated and exemplary soldier and man, who was a role model to all he met and worked with; always living and working to the highest standards, but also always with a smile on his face and a ready laugh, true to his belief that soldiering should be a rewarding way of life.

"He will be sorely missed by the soldiers of 5th Regiment Royal Artillery and by all in the Royal Artillery who had the privilege of knowing him and working alongside him. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, particularly his wife Karen and his son, Ewan, and daughter Hollie."

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