The family of a soldier who was killed during a live-fire training exercise at an army range have said they are “heartbroken” by his death.
In a statement, Sgt Gavin Hillier’s wife Karyn and his two sons Declan and Connor said they were “not ready to say goodbye”.
Sgt Hillier, of 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, died at Castlemartin in Pembrokeshire on Thursday.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said he was “deeply saddened” by the death.
Sgt Hillier served in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan during his career in the Army, and in 2019 was awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct medal by the Prince of Wales.
The Welsh Guards said he was “universally loved” across the battalion and his death had been a “terrible shock”.
In a statement, his wife and sons said: “I thank you for the day you came into my life and made me your wife and became the father to our two beautiful boys.
“We are absolutely heartbroken and can’t express how proud we are of you. Our boys will continue to make you proud and you will forever live on through them.
“Daddy, we are not ready to say goodbye just yet so until we meet again, we love you always. Love, your heartbroken wife and boys.”
His mother, Karen Selway, said: “You made me so proud of you from the day you were born and we will be proud for always. Rest in peace my son, you will always be my little boy.”
Sgt Hillier’s platoon commander said his style of leadership “got the best out of the platoon” and his personality was “infectious”.
He added: “He was my rock when I needed guidance, never afraid to offer me advice and was a fierce Welshman.”
On Saturday, Dyfed-Powys Police said it had opened an investigation into the death of the soldier.
Police said officers were liaising with the Health and Safety Executive and the Ministry of Defence.
The Defence Accident Investigation Branch is also involved in inquiries.
Sgt Hillier is the fourth soldier to die at Castlemartin since 2012.