Hertfordshire, England, UK
Captain, 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery
1/15/2009, Gereshk district, Afghanistan
Captain Tom Herbert John Sawyer, from Hertfordshire, was born on 20 January 1982. He was educated at Watford Grammar and Rickmansworth schools and, as a teenager, was a cadet with the Air Training Corps in Watford. A keen sportsman with a passion for outdoor pursuits, Tom decided at an early age to pursue a career in the Armed Forces. Settling on the Army, he was selected for training as an officer at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, and successfully passed out earning the Queen’s Commission as a Second Lieutenant in April 2002.
The next step in his career saw him selected by the Royal Regiment of Artillery for Young Officer training. On completion, he was posted to 32 Regiment Royal Artillery (subsequently 39 Regiment) as a Troop Commander. After this tour, Tom was posted to the Army Training Regiment at Pirbright where his flair for instruction and ability to communicate with all ranks were assets that helped him to excel. His final posting, to 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, came in September 2006, just in time for deployment to Afghanistan on Operation Herrick 5.
On Operation Herrick 5, Capt Sawyer was given command of an Afghan National Army outstation with a remit to oversee and facilitate Afghan Army mentoring and training. This responsibility again played to his strengths and he received a Brigade Commander’s Commendation for his performance under incredibly testing circumstances. On returning to the UK, he immediately passed the All Arms Commando course and in so doing earned the right to wear the Green Beret of Commando forces. Assigned to 7 (Sphinx) Commando Battery based in RM Condor, Arbroath, Capt Sawyer was appointed Battery Training Officer and charged with preparing his unit for its return to Afghanistan in October 2008.
As the training officer, Capt Sawyer organized and delivered a first class pre-deployment training package that ably prepared 7 (Sphinx) Commando Battery for operations; the high standards achieved by the men of the battery since bear testament to his endeavors.
Robust, fit and ever determined, Capt Sawyer was a keen sportsman who recently organized and led the Regimental Telemark Ski Team to compete at Army level in Austria. Looking to the future and the welfare of the men under his command, he had also planned to take his soldiers adventure training in Cyprus on completion of Op Herrick 9.
Captain Tom Sawyer was serving with 7 (Sphinx) Commando Battery, 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery. He was in Helmand province deployed on operations as a Fire Support Team Commander attached to Zulu Company, 45 Commando Royal Marines.
Socially, Capt Sawyer was a dynamo of good humour and fun; his company being thoroughly enjoyed by officers and soldiers alike. His intelligent wit and pleasant persona made him approachable by all ranks and one of life’s great characters. His death is a huge loss to the men of his Battery, his Regiment, 3 Commando Brigade and the Royal Regiment of Artillery.
Capt Sawyer is survived by his wife Katy, whom he married in March 2008, his parents Martyn and Susan and sister Wendy.