It is with regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Colour Serjeant Kevin Charles Fortuna from A Company, 1st Battalion The Rifles, was killed in Afghanistan on Monday 23 May 2011.
Colour Serjeant Kevin Charles Fortuna. Picture: via MOD
In the early evening of Monday 23 May 2011, Colour Serjeant* Fortuna was leading a patrol to disrupt enemy forces when he was killed by an improvised explosive device in the Sayedabad Kalay area of the Nahr-e Saraj (South) district of Helmand province.
Colour Serjeant Fortuna deployed to Afghanistan in April 2011 with Machine Gun Platoon, A Company, 1st Battalion The Rifles, in command of a multiple of twelve Riflemen. He was based in Check Point Sarhad in the Nahr-e-Saraj (South) district of Helmand province, Afghanistan.
Colour Serjeant Kevin Charles Fortuna
Colour Serjeant Fortuna was born on 18 June 1974 in Portsmouth, and attended Bourneside Comprehensive in Cheltenham. He joined the Army aged just sixteen, where his potential was recognised at an early stage. He joined the Gloucestershire Regiment in 1991 as a junior leader. Over the course of an exceptional career, Colour Serjeant Fortuna went on to deploy to Yugoslavia, Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. His vast experience, intellectual approach and calm manner led him to a position of great esteem within the Battalion.
Colour Serjeant Fortuna was a phenomenal, irreplaceable individual, who had already been selected for promotion and was very much a star of the future. He cared for those he commanded passionately, and had prepared both his men and himself flawlessly for this deployment. He will be very sorely missed by every man in the Battle Group.
Colour Serjeant Fortuna leaves behind his wife, Nia, mother, Sue, and brother, Kris. The thoughts of the Battle Group are very much with them at this tragic time.
Colour Serjeant Fortuna’s family paid the following tribute to him:
“Kevin was a true professional who loved his job and lived life to the full. He gave 19 loyal years to the Army and will be sadly missed by his Wife, Mother, Family and friends.”
Lieutenant Colonel James de Labillière DSO MBE, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion The Rifles, said:
“Colour Serjeant Fortuna was an utterly professional commander, Rifleman and a man of irreproachable integrity.
“His presence strengthened the Battalion and the loss with his passing will be acute. He was remarkable for many reasons, not least his complete and unwavering commitment to his Riflemen and their care. He was restless until he had achieved the very best for them and encouraged them to be restless until they achieved the very best for themselves. He was a master-tactician, and a soldier of great experience. He was to be a Company Serjeant Major in just three months time.
“Tonight I saw the impact of his passing on his tight-knit Multiple, brought together under his leadership over the last 8 months of hard training and latterly operations. Their grief-stricken resolve to get back out and continue the work that Colour Serjeant Fortuna had set in motion was awe-inspiring. It is a testament to his legacy, which will, forever, bond that band of Riflemen together.
“I will never forget him and nor will 1 RIFLES. I relied often on his considered and impeccable judgement. And on his humour and sense of fun. His name joins the list of Rifles’ heroes from which we will always draw inspiration and courage.
“At this impossibly difficult time our prayers and thoughts rest with his wife, Nia, and his Mother Sue and Brother Kris.
“Swift and Bold.”
To read the full Eulogy for Colour Serjeant Kevin Charles Fortuna click HERE, or on the image above.
* The spelling of Serjeant with a “j” is a military tradition peculiar to The Rifles.