Tuesday, March 11, 2008

British soldier fends off 150 Taliban, receives the Military Cross

This is an amazing tale:
A BRITISH soldier who almost single-handedly took on 150 Taliban after he and his 50-man convoy were ambushed in Afghanistan has been awarded the Military Cross.

Fusilier Damien Hields used his grenade machinegun to destroy seven Taliban positions before his ambushers realised he was their main threat. After peppering his vehicle with bullets, they hit the 24-year-old soldier. He had to be dragged off for treatment by his driver after he tried to continue fighting.

“Fusilier Hields showed extraordinary courage under intense fire,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Huw James, his commanding officer. “I was astonished at the state of his vehicle. There were so many holes in it, it was like a teabag. The Taliban did everything in their power to neutralise [him] and Fusilier Hields was having none of it. His actions allowed his patrol to come out of the ambush in which they were outnumbered by three or four to one and probably saved a lot of lives.”

Hields was awarded not only the Military Cross, the third highest award for gallantry, but also the Nato Meritorious Service Medal for his actions, which were part of a Nato operation.

What also caught my eye, though, was this Monty Pythonesque comment:
Hields said: “It turned out the bullet had smashed a rib and gone out of me again without touching any internal organs which was very lucky. It was just a flesh wound really.”
Talk about nerves of steel.

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