Monday, August 3, 2009
Soldier shot - but he takes it on the chin
A lucky soldier has lived to tell the tale after being shot in the face by the Taliban.
Private David 'Dunc' Duncan, 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment , who is currently serving with the Brigade Reconnaissance Force, was deployed in the Panjab region of Helmand province when he was shot as insurgents ambushed his patrol.
His patrol became aware that the Taliban were planning an attack on them as they worked their way through villages, talking to the locals and gauging their attitude towards coalition forces.
Soon after hearing the reports the insurgents opened fire on the patrol, using small arms, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades; Pte Duncan, swung his Jackal around so the vehicle commander and gunner could return fire.
The Taliban were well hidden in compound walls and a network of tunnels making it difficult for the British soldiers to locate them.
So, in order to direct the machine gunners' fire more accurately Pte Duncan stood up in the driver's seat and used laser range-finders to measure the distance to a possible firing position.
As he switched from range-finders to binoculars, he saw an insurgent firing a machine gun in their direction. Pte Duncan quickly began describing the location to the Jackal's gunner but as he turned to look through the binoculars a second time, he was hit in the face by a bullet:
"My head just whipped round to the side," he said.
"It felt like I'd been kicked in the face by an invisible horse. I immediately dropped down to the footwell and put my hands to my face. All I could see was blood."
Pte Duncan kicked the door of the vehicle open and dropped to the ground behind the vehicle where he could check out his injury properly:
"I was really scared. I thought I'd lost my jaw. I tried calling to the medic - but no sound came out."
The team medic was in another vehicle 80 metres away when he became aware that Pte Duncan had been hit. Assuming the worst, he rushed to his friend's side to administer first aid. But that in itself was unnerving for Pte Duncan:
"When I saw the medic reach for his trauma kit I got really worried."
The medic washed out the wound and assessed it before applying a field dressing to stem the blood flow. Despite his injuries, Pte Duncan, while still under enemy fire, climbed back into the Jackal and instructed a colleague how to drive the vehicle out of harm's way.
Once the patrol had extracted itself, Pte Duncan saw that two bullets had struck some of their equipment next to his head and the third had hit him. The bullet had penetrated his helmet's chinstrap, entered his chin and exited through his cheek, fracturing his jaw and dislodging teeth as it passed through.
Pte Duncan was airlifted to the field hospital at Camp Bastion where his jaw was x-rayed and his wounds cleaned and stitched. He then phoned his parents Margaret and Jim in Mansfield:
"My dad just laughed, I was always getting into scrapes as a kid, but nothing like this," he joked.
"I am so lucky."