During a 38-year career in the Army, Lieutenant Colonel Richard McCord took part in operations around the world, serving Queen and country.
Now, just three months after he retired from Army regular service, having hit the 55 age barrier, his dedication and years of service have been acknowledged with an MBE.
It was an early Christmas present for Richard, who found out about the honour just two days before Christmas Day.
“It was a shock,” he said. “You don’t look for these type of things.
“They are very difficult to get. I thought the ship had sailed – and then you get the news. I was informed the day before Christmas Eve. It was a nice surprise.
“I did some things in the Army that others have not done. I took a company of Royal Marines to Afghanistan. For an Army officer to be given command of Royal Marines is extremely unusual. I also commanded squadrons, regiments and took part in operational tours.”
Richard grew up in Tayport part of a military family – his father was in the RAF – with his mind set on joining the Army at the earliest opportunity.
In October 1981, aged just 15, he left school and joined the Junior Leaders at the Royal Corps of Transport, eager to drive trucks and gain a HGV licence.
At just 17 years old he went to Northern Ireland and served two tours during the Troubles. He would serve tours in Cyprus, the Gulf War, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan.
“I loved it,” Richard said. “It’s doing what we’re trained to do, taking soldiers beyond our comfort zone. People say that Afghanistan must have been horrible – yes, but from a soldier perspective it was everything you wanted. Not in a glorified, war dog type sense, but serving your country and being in amongst it.
“If I could do it all again, start all again, I would.”
As well as experiencing the highs of being in the Army, Richard also saw the lows.
In 2011, his nephew, 26-year-old Lance Corporal Liam Tasker was killed while also serving in Afghanistan.
Having retired from Army regular service in October, Richard is now a Major in the Army Reserve.
He commands a squadron of Tayforth UTC.
One thing Richard does not miss about being in the Army regular service is the moving, having lived in 13 homes during his career.
Now settled in St Andrews, in his ‘dream home, dream location’, Richard has no plans to move anymore.