3 January 2012
Congratulations to 26-year-old Ryan McCready, formerly a Cadet with 1st (Northern Ireland) Battalion Army Cadet Force, who was named Britain's Most Outstanding Soldier at The Sun Military Awards 2011 last month. Sergeant McCready received his award from The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Presenting the award, His Royal Highness Prince William said: You exemplify the unique qualities that make the British soldier second to none - courage, steadfastness, sense of humour, professionalism and a deep sense of humanity".
Sergeant McCready, who is based at Tern Hill near Market Drayton, was honoured for his service in Afghanistan with 1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment.
During his tour of duty last winter, he led daily skirmishes against Taliban fighters and in a single battle wiped out eight enemy troops and wounded five more after pursuing them relentlessly.
Although he was hit by a rocket propelled grenade and had shrapnel in his neck, Sergeant McCready continued his duties. He still has shrapnel embedded in his body.
He was also recognised for his efforts in winning the trust of the local Afghan community to keep the Taliban at bay.
Sgt McCready was a member of Faughan Valley detachment, Army Cadet Force, as a teenager where he also excelled. In 2001 he was named Best 3-Star Cadet during his Battalion's annual summer camp.