Captain Stephen Healey, who survived a bomb explosion in Helmand province in
2010, was killed on Saturday while on patrol in the north of the Nahr-e
Captain Healey, 29, had been a semi-professional footballer and played for
Swansea City in his native Wales before attending Swansea University to
study sports science. He was commissioned into the 1st Battalion, The Royal
Welsh (The Royal Welch Fusiliers) in 2008.
After signing up with the regiment, he was honoured with a Mention in
Despatches for his actions in the face of enemy fire.
The Cardiff-born platoon commander was cited as showing outstanding leadership
during an enemy attack while protecting a team clearing a road of bombs.
Captain Healey drew enemy fire three times to expose their location and allow
troops to return fire.
Speaking shortly afterwards to the Western
Mail, he spoke of the camaraderie between the soldiers: "I came
back feeling I knew every single thing about my lads. When you spend that
amount of time in a close environment with people, you’re bound to.
"In the time we were there we noticed significant improvements in the
area where we were. Shops were opening, the farmers were confident to talk
to us out in the open, and were telling us where IEDs were planted.”
He also escaped injury when a bomb detonated under the Mastiff armoured
vehicle in which he was commanding a convoy.
In an MoD interview, he said: "The responsibility is huge but it is also
very satisfying and I am proud of them doing what they do out here."
On his return, Captain Healey led a group of 26 soldiers on a 224-mile charity
run across Wales to raise money for the Army Benevolent Funds.
He was redeployed to Afghanistan in March. He was the 415th member of the UK
forces to have died since operations started in October 2001.
He leaves behind his parents John and Kerry, and brother Simon. His family
said: "Stephen was all you could wish for in a son, brother, uncle and
friend. He will be sadly missed by us all. He managed to do more in his 30
years than most people do in a lifetime."
He also leaves behind his girlfriend, Thea, who said: "Stephen will
always be in my heart. I will miss him so much, he was my love, my life and
my everything. Now he rests in peace, he was living the life he wanted to do
with his men."
Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Webb MC, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion The
Royal Welsh, led the tributes and said: "He was a brilliant Army
Officer and a truly outstanding individual.
"He was a brilliant Army Officer and a truly outstanding individual. As
the Recce Platoon Commander he cared deeply for his soldiers and they, in
return, loved and respected him. And it was very easy to respect him.
"He had a calm, assured nature, an understated charm and the sort of
personality that made it so easy to warm to him so very quickly –
quick-witted and sharp his personality lightened any conversation."
Captain Adam Libbey, Second in Command, B Company, 1st Battalion The Royal
Welsh, added: "Steve epitomises everything good about the Royal Welsh
and the Army, fun, up for anything and fiercely loyal to his men and
"Ever reliable and honest, I cannot imagine a better officer and friend.
Steve was a true winner of a bloke in every sense of the word. He will be
sorely missed by all the battalion and his best mate."
Tags: Former Swansea City, player Captain Stephen, Healey killed in Afghanistan
Location: Afghanistan (load item map)
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