Sunday, October 4, 2009

Senior Aircraftman Marcin Wojtak killed in Afghanistan

It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of Senior Aircraftman Marcin Wojtak of the Royal Air Force Regiment who was killed in Afghanistan on Thursday 1 October 2009.

Senior Aircraftman Wojtak was killed as a result of an explosion whilst commanding his vehicle in the desert to the south of Bastion Joint Operating Base.

Senior Aircraftman Marcin Wojtak

Senior Aircraftman (SAC) Marcin Wojtak was born on 13 December 1984 in Leicester. He joined the Royal Air Force in 2005 as a Gunner in the Royal Air Force Regiment.

On completion of his basic training at Royal Air Force Honington, he was posted to 26 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, where he served as a Rapier operator. During his time on 26 Sqn RAF Regt he completed operational tours in the Falkland Islands and Kandahar.

In May 2008 he was posted to 34 Sqn RAF Regt where he served on B Flight as a rifleman. He deployed to Kabul in August 2008 for 6 weeks to perform Force Protection duties.

SAC Wojtak, a Leicester City supporter, was a man who was blessed with a bubbly character and a soft side, so he was known by all as 'Big Ted', short for Teddy Bear.

It was, perhaps, for this reason that he volunteered to become one of the Squadron’s Trauma Risk Managers; anyone could feel comfortable talking to him. In short, he cared about his colleagues and his friends and was always prepared to help them.

During the Squadron's demanding pre-deployment training, SAC Wojtak rose to all the challenges placed before him. He was a highly skilled soldier who understood his role and executed it with diligence. He earned himself a reputation as a dependable and safe pair of hands.

His career as a leader was just beginning. During training, he had shown his ability to inspire his friends and so was a natural choice to appoint as a Fire Team Commander and Acting Corporal rank.

He was proud of his appointment and it was in this role that he deployed to Camp Bastion in Afghanistan with the Squadron in September this year. On his return home, he was due to attend a training course to make this appointment formal.

The thoughts and prayers of all ranks on 34 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment are with 'Ted's' family and particularly with his girlfriend Sam, with whom he was looking forward to setting up a home.

His family said:

"Marcin adored life and was loved by everyone around him. He was a gentle giant who was admired for his caring nature and endless kindness. He placed his happiness in the happiness of others.

"His love of the military led him to a career in the Royal Air Force where he remained loyal and courageous to the end. We are so proud of him. Marcin is a beloved son, grandson, brother, uncle and boyfriend. His life was short but well lived and he was loved by all. Always and forever."

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