It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of Major Kevin McCool who has tragically died while off-duty in Kenya on 29 November 2023.
Major Kevin McCool was born on the 16th of November 1991. He commissioned from Sandhurst on the 9th of August 2014.
Kevin thrived in the military environment. He was at his best when deployed, and at his very best when the conditions were at their very worst. He saw service in Europe, the Middle East, the Falklands and Africa. Wherever he went he left his mark.
As well as a glittering operational record, he also aced many of the military’s hardest courses. His fitness was legendary, once beating the whole Battalion on a two miler, as was his endurance.
His enthusiasm was infectious. He had a mischievous twinkle in his eye, that made him tremendous fun to be with. Yet his professionalism and sense of purpose was paramount, and clear to all those lucky enough to serve with him. Whether it was his recruits in his Catterick Platoon or those in his Rifle Company, he had their unwavering loyalty.
Kevin was a big family man, from a big, loving family. He is survived by his mother and father, Joseph and Joan, his brothers, Fergal and Brendan, his sisters, May, Alice and Margaret.
Maj McCool’s Commanding Officer said:
Kevin McCool was living his best life, doing a job he loved, with people he loved. A man of the utmost integrity, he was fearless and oozed moral courage. I will never forget my final memory of him, which was on operations; he had just come off the ground having slept a handful of hours in as many days. We discussed the possibility of having to deploy another team into the operational furnace from which he had just come. He stopped me mid-sentence, fixed me with his piercing blue eyes, and simply said, “send me”.
A bright light has gone out amongst our ranks. He will be missed, but never forgotten.
Major McCool’s Officer Commanding said:
Kevin McCool’s eyes shone with his spirit of adventure and with his focussed, determined nature. He was a pilgrim soul in the truest sense. Intelligent, pro-active and selfless, he was at his best and at his happiest whilst serving others and whilst facing challenges “in the arena”.
As a soldier, his courage and talent were proven on operations. As a leader, he had a compelling character and easy charm that all who met him warmed to. And as a man, he had a deep humility which displayed a wisdom beyond his years. Spotting opportunities, restless to serve and to seek out challenges, pushing himself to the frontiers, helping others; that is how we will remember him. He was the best of us.
The Secretary of State for Defence, Grant Shapps, said:
It’s clear from the tributes of those who knew him that Major McCool was an exceptional person and an exceptional soldier, loved and respected in equal measure, who served his country with distinction.
My thoughts and sympathies are with his family, friends, and colleagues currently coming to terms with this most tragic loss.