A British soldier shot dead in Afghanistan while on patrol has been named by the Ministry of Defence.
Guardsman Michael Roland, 22, from 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, had been in Afghanistan for less than four weeks when he was shot during a patrol in the Nahr-e-Saraj North District of Helmand Province on Friday.
The father of twins, from Worthing, Sussex, was on the second day of a three-day operation to disrupt insurgent activity in a contested area in the north of the district when he was fatally wounded and he died later in Camp Bastion.
The Guardsman's family paid tribute to him in a statement, saying: "Michael was a loving and caring son loved by his huge extended family and friends who are devastated by their loss. We are still coming to terms with losing him. Michael always wanted to join the Army and was so proud to be part of Queen's Company Grenadier Guards. Michael loved us all so much; with us he was not big and tough, just gentle. We will miss him so much."
Lieutenant Colonel James Bowder, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, said: "Guardsman Roland's death is a tremendous loss to a close Battalion. Sparky, diligent and super-fit, he was a terrific soldier with a bright future. That he achieved so much in his short life is testament to his drive and ambition. He was an absolute pleasure to command and will be missed hugely by the Battalion and the regimental family as a whole.
"We are all extremely proud of Guardsman Roland's selfless commitment to this important mission. Moreover, we are resolved to finish the job that he so bravely started. Finally, our prayers are with his baby twins, his parents, girlfriend and broader family; we share their great sense of loss and will never forget this most extraordinary of Guardsmen."
Major Piers Ashfield, Captain of The Queen's Company, said Guardsman Roland was one of the "leading lights of The Queen's Company". Major Ashfield added: "His stoic devotion to duty and the generous friendship he offered to all those he met epitomised the man for whom no hardship was worthy of complaint."
Lieutenant Alex Budge, Platoon Commander, 3 Platoon, said: "Guardsman Roland epitomised a Grenadier Guardsman. Fit, tenacious and a character; he was liked by all for his sense of humour and respected by all for his skill as an infantry soldier. I would say he was one of the best Guardsman in the Company. His passing brings sorrow to us all, but we can take comfort that he died doing a job that he loved."
Lance Sergeant Mooney, Section Commander, The Queen's Company, said: "Guardsman Roland was part of both my platoon and the Company Search Team. He knew he would be at the front of patrols and searching compounds. Even knowing the tasks he would be given would place him in danger, he never complained or even mentioned it for that matter. He was an integral part of the team and the platoon. He will be sorely missed by all members of The Queen's Company."
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: "I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of Guardsman Michael Roland. It is clear that he was a brave man and highly professional soldier. The circumstances of his death by all accounts sum up his Army life: in the thick of the fight and looking out for his comrades. I can only endorse the tributes paid to him by his family, for whom he was a hero. They have my deepest sympathy."