Thursday, May 27, 2010

Gunner Zak Cusack killed in Afghanistan

It is with sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Gunner Zak Cusack from 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, serving as part of Combined Force Nahr-e Saraj (South), was killed in Afghanistan on 26 May 2010.

Gunner Cusack was participating in a routine reassurance patrol when he was killed during a small arms fire engagement with insurgent forces in an area around Enezai Village.

Gunner Zak Cusack

Gunner Zak Cusack was born on 16 September 1989 in Stoke on Trent. He joined the Army in September 2006, attending the Army Foundation College, Harrogate.

Upon completion of his training, he was posted to 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, then based in Osnabrück, Germany.

He joined 97 Battery (Lawson's Company) and deployed to Afghanistan on Operation HERRICK 7 as a member of a light gun detachment. Upon return from Afghanistan, he moved with the Regiment to Topcliffe, North Yorkshire.

Having impressed with his fitness, aptitude and enthusiasm, Gunner Cusack was selected to transfer to a Fire Support Team and undertook extensive training in Canada between June and July 2009 before commencing Mission Specific Training for Operation HERRICK 12 in September last year.

His Fire Support Team moved under command of 129 (Dragon) Battery at the beginning of 2010 and he deployed to Afghanistan in March based in Nahr-e Saraj (South) with Malta Company, 1 MERCIAN, supporting 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles.

During his time in Afghanistan, his Fire Support Team has conducted dozens of joint patrols with the Afghan National Army to reassure the local population in Nahr-e Saraj and prevent intimidation of villagers by the insurgents.

It was on one of these reassurance patrols in an area around Enezai Village when he was killed in action during a small arms fire engagement with insurgent forces.

A keen sportsman and fitness enthusiast, Gunner Cusack thrived on life. Whether boxing, football or in the gym, he gave his all.

He excelled in his position as Fire Support Team signaller and was a key personality within his crew. Socially gregarious, he was an extremely popular member of his Battery, and his energy and enthusiasm were contagious.

An only child, he leaves behind his mother Tracey and father Sean.

Gunner Zak Cusak's Family said:

"Zak was a courageous, compassionate and charismatic young man. We are justly proud of not only the job that he did, but of the complete person we all knew and loved. For such a young man, Zak's infectious sense of humour, appetite for life and truly romantic heart inspired so many others.

"Zak's loss leaves a hole in our hearts, a chasm in our lives and many, many other broken hearts behind. He had a fire in his soul that will burn brightly in all our memories. He is our beautiful boy, loving son and best friend, in Zak's own words, ‘he is a ledge' (Legend)."

Lieutenant Colonel Chris Squier RA, Commanding Officer 4th Regiment Royal Artillery said:

"Gunner Zak Cusack was a big man with the personality to go with it. Young, fit and with a healthy love of life, he was always close to, or at the heart of, the action.

"A Stoke City fan in the North East Gunners will always have his work cut out, but his combination of cheeky charm and buoyant character always won out.

"As a soldier he had already given more than most in his short life. This was his second tour of Afghanistan having deployed in 2007 on his 18th birthday. True to his character and commitment he fought hard to move from the Gun Line to become a member of a Fire Support Team.

"Here his true potential shone through – he was a man made for the role. He fell as he had lived life, in the thick of things and with his mates in 97 Battery (Lawson's Company) and B (Malta) Company 1 MERCIAN.

"My thoughts and condolences go out to his parents Tracey and Sean and his many friends at home whose true loss we can only imagine. He will remain Forever Fourth."


  1. R.I.P Hero - lost but never will be forgotten.