Monday, September 7, 2009

Wounded RAF corporal vows to return to Afghanistan

Corporal Gareth Hughes shows off his uniform which was ripped apart by a Taliban bullet

An RAF Police corporal, who was recently shot during an ambush in the Lashkar Gah area of Afghanistan, has vowed to return as soon as possible to his job of mentoring the Afghan National Police.

Corporal Gareth Hughes was on a routine night patrol with Afghan National Police teams deployed on the recent Operation PANTHER'S CLAW when Taliban insurgents opened fire, hitting the RAF man in the abdomen.

He said:

"I was winded by the impact and thought the round had struck my body armour. Then I put my hand on my stomach and there was a lot of blood.

"The 'man down' call went out and the medics were with me pretty fast. I was down on the ground as they stopped the bleeding, while all hell was being let loose around me."

A helicopter-borne Medical Emergency Response Team ferried Cpl Hughes to Camp Bastion where he received emergency surgery before being air-lifted back to the UK for further treatment.

Cpl Hughes admits he is lucky to have survived. But he says he can't wait to get back to Afghanistan and continue with his role mentoring the Afghan National Police. He said:

"If the round had hit me a couple of centimetres either way I might not have been as lucky.

"To be honest it has just hardened my determination to get back there. It's a vital job. If I could, I'd go back tomorrow."

Cpl Hughes is still undergoing treatment at Selly Oak Hospital but he hopes to be back on duty in two months.

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