Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2008, Ranger Justin James Cupples, 1st Battalion, the Royal Irish Regiment, was killed in Afghanistan. He had been on foot patrol in Sangin when an IED caused him grievous injuries. Despite immediate medical aid, he could not be saved.
Ranger Cupples was born in the United States and served with the U.S. Navy during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He later joined the Royal Irish Regiment after training at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick. He took the Operational Language Training Course, having shown an aptitude for languages, and learned Pashtu before deploying to Afghanistan. Ranger Cupples is remembered by colleagues as a quiet, popular and motivated man. He impressed with his enthusiasm and maturity, and showed great pride in being a ranger.
Lieutenant Colonel Freely said of him: “Justin Cupples was a character. He stood out as such. He was drawn to the Battalion by the Irish fighting spirit and camaraderie. He was an intelligent, bright soldier. He was never shy to offer an opinion. Ranger Cupples was part of C (Ranger) Company, an element of 1 R IRISH that was detached to support 2 PARA, as Battlegroup North, in Sangin for Op HERRICK 8. He was loyal, strong and determined; a very good soldier. I had last seen him in Sangin several weeks ago, where I recall his professional, relaxed and confident assessment of the situation. For almost six months he and his fellow Rangers have fought hard to rid Sangin of the Taliban and bring security to the town and its troubled people. Ranger Cupples was a true Irish Ranger - tough, committed and dedicated to his comrades. His colleagues, mindful of the ultimate sacrifice made by Justin, and with him to the last, continue with his and their mission - with steadfast courage and reinforced purpose.”
Justin, from Cavan in Ireland, was 29 years old and married.