The MoD did not realise the identities simultaneously because of difficulties contacting close members of Sgt McLaren's family.
His commanding officer, Wing Commander Chris Hunter, described the 27-year-old father-of-two was described as a "master of his trade"
"When flying on operations in either the UK or Iraq he always performed at the top of his game and it was a pleasure to fly with him when you were crewed up together," he said.
"He loved life and was a caring husband and father who had a bright future ahead of him in the service."
British forces have now lost 142 service personnel in Iraq since the 2003 invasion of the troubled Middle Eastern country.
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