View Full Version : U.K. Matthew Tomlinson, Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, Iraq

09-05-2009, 10:47 AM
Colour Sergeant Matthew Tomlinson is to be recognised with the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross (CGC) - an award just below the Victoria Cross.

Colour Sergeant Tomlinson was commanding a US Marine Corps assault force on the Euphrates River near Fallujah in November 2004 when they came under fire from a numerically superior and well-defended enemy position.

His decision to turn his lead craft towards the attack created an element of surprise, which unhinged the enemy. He was first on the river bank, engaging in close quarter battle, enabling his men to encircle the enemy.

When it became clear the insurgents were reinforcing, Colour Sergeant Tomlinson called for fire support on the enemy Rocket Propelled Grenade position. He then planned and led a decisive assault on the key enemy position.

On realising his force was running low on ammunition, Colour Sergeant Tomlinson executed a safe withdrawal to the river bank where he personally provided cover fire to ensure his men safely boarded the boats. He also marked his position so that air support could counter strike at the enemy force. The citation reads:

"Colour Sergeant Tomlinson's sure, aggressive and decisive actions throughout saved the lives of many in his US Marine Corps patrol. He displayed courage, determination, and remarkable presence of mind throughout and his actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Royal Marines."

Speaking about the incident, Colour Sergeant Tomlinson, 39, said:

"On the river there's really nowhere to hide, so I took the decision to move towards the enemy."

At the time of the incident Colour Sergeant Tomlinson, who has been in the Royal Marines for 17 years, was taking part in a two-year exchange programme with the US military:

"While I was there I was a boats advisor training the US Marines. I deployed to Iraq as part of the US Marines, I wore their uniform and worked alongside them as one of them."

So what did his American counterparts think of him?

"We got on pretty well. Everybody was pleased to see that it all worked well. They were a great bunch of lads and had a great Commanding officer. In Iraq we were mortated on a daily basis, as well as being fired on every day, so it was an interesting experience.