Brave soldier Captain Stephen Healey was one of best of his generation - inquest hears
A BRAVE army officer killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan was "one of the best of his generation", an inquest heard today.
Captain Stephen Healey, 29, was commanding his platoon from a lead vehicle when it ran over and detonated the improvised explosive device (IED).
The inquest heard the armoured Jackal patrol vehicle was thrown into the air and landed on its side where Captain Healey was sitting.
He died in a Chinook helicopter taking him to military hospital.
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Former Swansea City footballer Captain Healey had survived an IED blast in Helmand Province two years earlier.
His commanding officer Major Charles Carver told the inquest: "Professionally Captain Healey was one of the best of his generation.
"Not only that, he was gregarious and fun to be around — he was able to get on with anybody."
The inquest was told Captain Healey was protecting a road in the north of the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand when the tragedy happened.
He was in the front passenger seat on the way to check a canal crossing point on a gravel track, which had only been used once before, when the bomb exploded beneath him.
Driver Lance Corporal Ian Lane said: "It took a couple of seconds to realise what had happened.
"I looked and saw signs of injury to Captain Healey and we went automatically into what we were trained to do — give first aid to him.
"But I could see the circumstances were not good."
Captain Healey, from Cardiff, was commissioned as an infantry officer into the 1st Battalion, The Royal Welsh (The Royal Welch Fusiliers) in 2008.
At the end of the inquest Captain Healey's parents John and Kerry, and brother Simon 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".
The coroner, Mary Hassel, recorded a verdict of death by blast injuries on active service.