In Remembrance: Mark Fitzpatrick

Mark Fitzpatrick—“Fitzy” to his friends—was killed during a weapons demolition operation in Afghanistan’s Parwan province on 20 November 2010. Fitzy, a 34-year-old British deminer, worked with DynCorp International, a global government-services provider, as part of its weapons removal and abatement team.

Mark Fitzpatrick
Photo courtesy of the Fitzpatrick family.

“Mark gave his life working to support a safer and more secure Afghanistan,” said DynCorp International Chairman and CEO Steve Gaffney. “Thousands of brave men and women put their lives on the line each day to support our operations in remote and hostile areas around the world—their courage and sacrifices cannot be measured. We are deeply saddened by this loss and our hearts go out to all of Mark’s family, friends and colleagues.”

The Shropshire Star, a paper serving Fitzy’s Telford hometown, quoted his father, Ian Fitzpatrick, as saying, “It’s a tragic loss for the family to lose such a loving young man …. He has made us immensely proud with the work he did and from the recognition he has had from around the world ….”

Evidence of Fitzy’s worldwide impact is clear from the messages on his Facebook wall, which is blanketed with condolences from places like Afghanistan, Lao PDR, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Comments noted his “camaraderie” and “dry humor.”

Fitzy spent about 11 years in the Royal Air Force before leaving it to join DynCorp, where he continued with explosive ordnance disposal in the field. He spent time in Cambodia, Guinea Bissau, Lebanon and Vietnam before his final tour of almost two years in Afghanistan. He is survived by his parents and three older sisters. Mark Fitzpatrick’s funeral was held 6 December 2010, at St. John’s Church in Bishops Wood, Staffordshire. J

This report was compiled by Dan Baker, a member of The Journal’s editorial team.