View Full Version : U.K. Mark Powis, Military Cross, Afghanistan

09-14-2009, 10:43 PM
The Military Cross (MC) is the third level military decoration awarded to officers and (since 1993) other ranks of the British Armed Forces and formerly also to officers of other Commonwealth countries.

The MC is granted in recognition of "an act or acts of exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy on land to all members, of any rank in Our Armed Forces…".[2] In 1979 the Queen approved a proposal that a number of awards including the Military Cross could in future be awarded posthumously.

A soldier from The Rifles is being awarded the Military Cross for his brave actions which saved the life of an Army Commander during a bout of intense fighting in Afghanistan.
Acting Serjeant Mark Powis with his girlfriend Vicky

Acting Serjeant* Mark Powis of The Rifles was Second-in-Command of an Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT), operating alongside the Afghan National Army (ANA) in Musa Qaleh, when he risked his life to save that of another.

During a patrol in October 2008, Sjt Powis was on the roof of a compound with ANA and OMLT commanders when they came under accurate and sustained automatic fire from several enemy positions which seriously wounded the OMLT commander.

Sjt Powis' citation read:

"Powis responded with inspirational speed, raw courage and great presence of mind. He and a colleague dragged the commander to safety despite the enemy fire landing all around them."

He then remounted the roof and braved the enemy fire again to recover his commander's radio as by this time it was clear to Sjt Powis that the enemy were threatening to cut off the team.

Despite the small arms fire penetrating the low surrounding wall, Sjt Powis quickly returned to the roof a third time to identify the enemy positions and plan a route out.

The citation continued:

"His obvious command, grip and aggression galvanised the shocked younger British Riflemen and the ANA and they responded magnificently.

"His control was admirable, despite the multiple challenges, and his courage was inspirational. With great presence of mind, inspirational courage and remarkable powers of command, Powis undoubtedly saved his commander's life, and ensured the safety of his OMLT team and the ANA."

As the patrol withdrew from the position, Sjt Powis again selflessly placed himself in the most danger, protecting the patrol's rear and maintaining fire as the enemy pursued them.

Speaking at a short ceremony announcing the names on the latest Operations Honours and Awards List, Sjt Powis said:

"I really wasn't expecting this at all - it's part of doing my job, but I feel extremely proud.

"The commander had been shot so I had to step up, take control and responsibility for the care of the troops to get them out of the situation alive. A lot of it was to do with training and instinct."

When asked if he knew how dangerous a position he was in, Sjt Powis smiled and admitted:

"Yes, you know the danger when you can see the bullets coming through the walls at you, hearing the crack as they pass. But training and instinct takes priority and I had a duty of care to take control and get us out."

Sjt Powis, although born in Weston-super-Mare, was educated overseas in Australia, earning him the nickname 'Oz' from his Army colleagues. His parents Martin and Sally have since returned to Weston-super-Mare, although Sjt Powis himself is currently based in Chepstow. He joined the Army in 2004.

The Military Cross (MC) is awarded for gallantry during combat operations against the enemy on land. The MC was instituted in 1914 as an award for officers and warrant officers, while other ranks were eligible for the Military Medal (MM). Since 1993, the MM has been discontinued and all ranks are eligible for the MC.

*The spelling of Sergeant with a 'j' is unique to The Rifles

09-14-2009, 11:11 PM
Well done

09-15-2009, 11:45 AM
Awesome. Thanks for sharing, Bob.