Friday, March 6, 2009

Second George Medal for bomb hero

Army chiefs have awarded a second George Medal to a bomb disposal expert killed in Afghanistan last year.

Warrant Officer Gary O'Donnell, 40, of Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, was killed in September while trying to make safe a Taliban explosive device in Helmand Province.
He had won the George Medal - awarded for extreme bravery - after making safe similar devices in southern Iraq in 2006.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said Warrant Officer O'Donnell had been awarded a second, posthumous George Medal for the work he was doing when he died.

Army officials said Warrant Officer O'Donnell, a father of four, was approaching a booby-trapped bomb to try to clear a path for fellow soldiers when it detonated and killed him.

He had been commanding a team of specialist bomb disposal engineers and was nearing the end of his six-month tour of duty.

Following his death, Lieutenant Colonel Dave Wilson, Commander of the Joint Force Engineer Group said Warrant Officer O'Donnell was an "amazing man".

"The danger to his own life rarely seemed to affect him," said Lieutenant Colonel Wilson.

"Men of this calibre are extremely rare."

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