Wednesday, September 2, 2009

British soldier directs US air strike

From the MoD:
Badly injured soldier directs American air strike

A Military Operations news article

2 Sep 09

Badly injured by a rocket-propelled grenade while on a routine patrol, a British soldier ignored his pain and stayed on the radio to direct American pilots overhead to suppress the enemy.

United States Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft

United States Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft flying over Afghanistan
[Picture: Staff Sergeant Aaron Allmon, DoD/2008]

Corporal Paul Mather from the Army Air Corps was on patrol with 2nd Battalion The Rifles alongside elements of the Afghan National Army when they found an old Russian-style anti-tank mine on the north-western side of a group of compounds, no more than 500m from the Forward Operating Base that they were returning to.

Following the discovery the platoon took up defensive positions as experts dealt with the device. Cpl Mather's role as a Forward Air Controller was crucial in co-ordinating air support to protect the troops on the ground.

Speaking later, Cpl Mather explained what happened:

"I was speaking to a pair of A-10 jets [United States Air Force operated aircraft] at this time and I had them scanning the area around us looking for any threats to the patrol.

"It was then that an RPG [rocket-propelled grenade] came over the wall and hit a soldier on the back of his rucksack. It bounced off and landed on the floor in the middle of the patrol. I heard a massive shout of 'RPG' from the Platoon Sergeant and everybody dived into available cover."

The shrapnel from the first blast missed Cpl Mather but he felt his body go numb from the shock wave. With his hearing temporarily gone as well, the first he knew about further explosions was when he felt the shrapnel rip through both his upper legs and left arm:...

Go read the rest of this great story here. Cpl Mathers, you ROCK!

"Every soldier is one of our own."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cpl Mather,you are one awesome warrior!