A soldier said to be an “expert dog handler” and responsible for saving a great many lives has been shot dead in Afghanistan.
Lance Corporal Liam Tasker’s life was taken during an exchange of fire last week, and Theo, his sniffer dog, suffered a seizure due to the stress of the incident and passed away shortly after.
Tasker, who hailed from Kirkaldy, Fife, was patrolling the Nahr-e Saraj area of the Helmand province with Theo when he became involved in a fire-fight and was shot.
Lance Corporal Tasker died at the scene, and a Ministry of Defence spokesman revealed that Theo was taken back to Camp Bastion, where he too passed away due to stress induced by the incident.
A statement released by Lance Corporal Tasker’s family said:
“There are three words that best describe Liam: larger than life. He lit up every room he walked into with his cheeky smile.”
“He died a hero doing a job he was immensely passionate about. We are so proud of him and everything he’s achieved.”
“Words can’t describe how sorely he will be missed.”
The 26-year-old landed in Afghanistan in September 2010, and became one of the top explosives and arms search dog handlers in the country. Commanding Officer of the 1st Military Working Dog Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel David Thorpe, paid tribute to him, commenting:
“He was a strong, reliable soldier and an expert dog man.”
“He was one of the highly qualified dog trainers in Afghanistan. The work he did in his 5 months in Afghanistan saved countless lives, of that I have no doubt.”
Lance Corporal Tasker leaves behind his mother, father, brother and two sisters.