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    Default MC for soldiers ambushed by Taliban

    MC for soldiers ambushed by Taliban
    22 March 2013 | Afghanistan

    An Army officer who fought a Taliban insurgent despite his rifle jamming and being shot himself, and the lance corporal who rescued him, have both received the Military Cross.

    Captain John Scarlett, from the Coldstream Guards, and Lance Corporal Stephen Shaw, from the Royal Army Medical Corps, were in a patrol that fell under fire after an apparent ambush at an Afghan police checkpoint in the Upper Gereshk Valley, Helmand Province, last July.

    As they were attacked by a gunman from a watchtower, three of their number were seriously wounded.

    And as Capt Scarlett tried to rescue them his own rifle jammed, forcing him to use his pistol.

    He was shot in the leg and body armour but dragged to safety by L/Cpl Shaw, who gave him life-saving medical treatment, as well as later treating the other casualties.

    Both men are awarded the Military Cross, given in recognition of exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy on land.

    Capt Scarlett, 26, from Dulwich, south London, said: "It's obviously an absolute honour to be awarded the MC, but in no way do I see this as an individual achievement.

    "My initial reaction was to know what the other guys got and I was really pleased when I heard Cpl Shaw had got it.

    "I wasn't the only person whose life was saved by Cpl Shaw, he does it a lot."

    "It feels good, it's a great honour. But it was a team effort," added L/Cpl Shaw, 24, from Heywood, Greater Manchester.

    Capt Scarlett and L/Cpl Shaw were on a routine patrol sent to the police checkpoint, which they found virtually empty with two of its three exits blocked, they said.

    After waiting for nearly 40 minutes, they decided to leave but found themselves under fire by a gunman in a watchtower overlooking the compound.

    Three soldiers were wounded, and L/Cpl Shaw was shot through the boot and the daysack - escaping uninjured.

    Capt Scarlett ran back into the compound to help the casualties, but found himself under fire and his own rifle jammed.

    "I had been shot in the leg, inside of my thigh and a couple of times in the chest plate," he said.

    "I drew my pistol and started shooting at him with my pistol.

    "There were bullets bouncing off everywhere.

    "Cpl Shaw ran inside and grabbed my by the scruff of the neck and pulled me out."

    Capt Scarlett ordered one of his vehicles, a Mastiff, to ram one of the gates open, so the soldiers could retrieve their wounded colleagues.

    "At that point, that's when I passed out. I was semi-conscious so I have vague memories of one of the guys coming forward and dragging the casualties out with Cpl Shaw," he added.

    Cpl Shaw, who has kept his boot that was hit by a bullet, said: "I wasn't really thinking, I just ran in and pulled him out.

    "My main priority was getting the casualties out and treating them."

    The gunman was eventually captured, and the men airlifted to safety - but the three injured soldiers died.

    In his citation, 26-year-old Capt Scarlett was said to have "displayed the very highest standards of leadership, courage, selfless commitment and gallantry".

    And for father-of-one L/Cpl Shaw, his citation said: "Shaw's actions during that horrific attack were in the very finest traditions of the British Army, demonstrating conspicuous courage, commitment and professionalism."

    Picture: MOD - Captain John Scarlett, (LEFT) and Corporal Stephen Shaw (RIGHT)
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Benda (04-14-2013),Mel (03-23-2013)
 

 

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