Warrant Officer Gary O'Donnell GM of the Royal Logistics Corps
He worked gently, cooly and with immense skill to defuse bombs and neutralise IEDs. For fifteen years Gary 'Gaz' O'Donnell had served in Afghanistan and Iraq, Sierra Leone and Northern Ireland, demonstrating "persistent bravery on numerous occasions, rendering safe devices that were intended to kill and maim". One of 17 military recipients of the George Medal, "He saved lives while risking his own."
His last mission was serving with British forces, NATO, in Afghanistan. Lt Col Dave Wilson, his commanding officer, described him as "hugely talented" and "unbelievably brave". A month ago, Gary O'Donnell held his youngest son, just four weeks old, in his arms.
He was a man who "showed selflessness and composure" in facing bombs.
On 10 September,
WO2 Gary O'Donnell was blown up as he walked towards the device outside the town of Musa Qala. The soldier was part of a team ordered to clear the way for the infantry during an operation outside the town on Wednesday. In a five week period earlier this summer he dealt with 22 bombs including eight Taliban landmines in one day. . .
In a statement his wife Toni, mother of their other son Aiden, eight, said: 'Gary was living the dream and we are all very proud of who he was and he will be missed greatly.'
Words fail me.
Ave atque vale.