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|In the service of our country : WO2 Charles Henry Wood|
Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2) Charles Henry Wood from 23 Pioneer Regiment RLC (Royal Logistic Corps), serving with the Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Task Force, was killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday 28 December 2010.
WO2 Charles 'Charlie' Wood deployed on Operation HERRICK 13 on 6th November 2010 as an Advanced Search Advisor. Trained to coordinate all aspects of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detection, he was assigned to lead the clearance of a route through the Khushdal Kalay area of the Helmand River Valley to increase the freedom of movement and safety of the local population. In the early afternoon of 28 December 2010, with the task nearing completion, Warrant Officer Class 2 Wood was caught in the blast from an IED and killed.
WO2 Charles Henry Wood
WO2 Charles Wood, aged 34, joined the Army in August 1994 and moved to 23 Pioneer Regiment RLC, then part of the Queen's Division. His leadership abilities were recognised early and he gained rapid promotion and subsequent postings to the more prestigious and demanding jobs in his field. Operationally experienced, he completed deployments to Iraq in 2003 and Bosnia in 2007. He was posted from the Army Training Regiment Pirbright to 518 Pioneer Squadron as Sergeant Major in June 2009, and volunteered to lead his Squadron through their search training and on to their deployment to Afghanistan. A talented and successful Warrant Officer with masses of potential, he had Late Entry commissioning firmly in his sight.
An ardent supporter of his home town football club, Middlesborough, he also represented his Regimental team on numerous occasions both on the pitch and, more recently, behind the scenes as trainer and manager. He was a successful fundraiser and raised many thousands of pounds for forces charities. He leaves behind his wife, Heather, his mother, Barbara, his father, John, and his sisters, Samantha and Amanda.
Charlie's wife, Heather Wood, said:
"The family have lost a son, a brother and an uncle and I have lost my loving husband who was also my best friend. Charlie had an infectious personality who made a positive effect on everyone he met; he had a heart of gold and endeared himself to everyone. He will be sorely missed by those who had the good fortune to have met and known him.
"He will be forever in our thoughts for the rest of our lives."
Lieutenant Colonel Mark Davis GM RLC, Commanding Officer Counter-IED Task Force, said of him:
"The death of WO2 Wood has rocked the Counter-IED Task Force; it has taken us all by surprise and the corresponding sense of loss is massive. He was a huge character – a complete live wire – a man who never rested. He was always on the go, constantly thinking ahead, planning the next stage and working out how best to achieve the mission. And who did he do this for? Certainly not for himself; he did it for his men. His Pioneers looked up to him with the utmost respect; he was the archetypal Sergeant Major – firm but always impeccably fair and his 'kids', as he termed the soldiers, all loved him. He was completely selfless and led others as he expected to be led himself, a future RSM if ever I saw one.
"I find it difficult to accept that this fine man has been taken from us; it only seems like yesterday that we sat together in a Forward Operating Base, drinking coffee while he spoke to me of his pride in being one of the first Pioneers to become a Search Advisor and telling me how he couldn't wait to get out onto the ground to complete his first task – he loved what he was undertaking and died in the process of doing his bit to bring normality to Afghanistan.
"It is not I that say this of the Searchers, 'they are exceptional and they display a special type of bravery', they are the words of those they support and those who respect them for the unique and dangerous challenge they face on a daily basis. Our hearts, thoughts and prayers, at this most difficult of times, go out to his adored wife Heather, his parents Barbara and John, his sisters Samantha and Amanda and to his two nieces who he deeply cared for."