Inquest into Royal Marine blast death

An inquest into the death of a Royal Marine killed in an explosion in Afghanistan is taking place today.

Marine Jason Mackie, 21, died instantly when the vehicle he was travelling in was struck by an explosive device in the Basharan area of central Helmand.

The inquest in Oxford will hear the details of the circumstances that led up to the explosion on May 14 last year.

After his death, Marine Mackie's family described him as "one in a billion" and said he would be missed by all his relatives, friends and partner Vic.

The Ministry of Defence said Marine Mackie, of Armoured Support Group, Royal Marines, was serving as a Viking All Terrain Vehicle Operator in 3rd Armoured Support Troop and was supporting IX Company of the Welsh Guards at the time of his death.

Marine Mackie joined the Royal Marines in June 2007. After completing his Royal Marine Recruit Training and the Commando Course, he joined 40 Commando Royal Marines based in Taunton where he initially served as a Rifleman.

He then underwent the Armoured Support Operators Course, qualifying him to operate the Viking All Terrain Vehicle.

In September 2008 he joined the Armoured Support Group, Royal Marines and completed pre-deployment training before deploying on operations to Afghanistan that November.

Tributes were paid to him at the time of his death by fellow members of the Royal Marines, including Lance Corporal Jamie McGill, who said: "Marine Mackie was an unbreakable Marine both physically and mentally, always smiling when times got tough.

"Everyone knew him for his big grin. He will be sorely missed by all the lads from ASGRM (Armoured Support Group, Royal Marines)."

Lance Corporal Thomas McDermott said Marine Mackie was "always first to volunteer for any job", and added: "He was a well-liked member of the troop, always with a smile and cheerful outlook on life."