FALLEN SOLDIER: Corporal Doug Grant.
The New Zealand SAS soldier killed in a firefight in Afghanistan was Doug Grant, a Linton-based father of two.
Corporal Grant, 41-years-old and known as Dougie, died after being shot in the chest while he and about 15 other New Zealand troops attempted to free hostages following a Taleban attack at the British Council diplomatic offices on Friday (NZT).
He was married with a seven-year-old daughter and five-year-old son. Prime Minister John Key visited the soldier's widow on Saturday. Grant lived in the small Manawatu town of Tokomaru, between Linton and Levin. The soldier had been in Kabul for only a short time, although it was not his first tour of duty in Afghanistan.
The 35 SAS troops are due to pull out in March next year but the Government is expected to come under international pressure this week to keep them there.
Grant's family, in a statement, said he knew what he was going into in Afghanistan. Grant was a man who didn't make a big deal about his accomplishments. The family were incredibly proud of his achievements, including being a soldier. Grant died doing one of the things he loved.
Grant will be brought back to New Zealand on a commercial flight for a private commemoration in Auckland. He will then be taken to Linton military base for a service. The family said some people might wonder why Grant put himself in harm's way, but he had absolute faith in his friends and colleagues and what he was doing in Afghanistan.
Grant believed in the goal of training local forces for Afghanistan's future. He once wrote in a school essay that he wanted to be in the SAS and he worked towards that goal from then on. He convinced the army he could do the job. Grant served in the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment, the Royal New Zealand Engineers and the NZ SAS.
He had previously left the SAS unit and returned to Linton to spend more time with his family, but later rejoined.
Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Rhys Jones said the New Zealand SAS had been given the task of rescuing hostages.
Grant climbed on to a building next to the British Council, where he was shot by what was believed to be a rifle or light machine gun. The bullet entered through Grant's armpit and went through his heart. He was then evacuated by medics but, in hindsight, would never have recovered from his injuries, Jones said.
There was discussion about whether to cancel the hospital transfer but Grant still had a pulse so it went ahead.
"We are confident that the protection we have ... is world class," Jones said.www.stuff.co.nzRIP Doug, gone but not forgotten.