Wednesday, November 4, 2009
A SOLDIER who was shot in the back during a Taliban ambush in Afghanistan refused to fly home, because he wanted to end his tour of duty with his friends this coming weekend.
At his base in Helmand province, Trooper Aaron Deans, 19, said being shot was like “getting hit with a sledge hammer”.
But he still managed to drive his colleagues to safety before blacking out.
The trooper, who is from Washington in Wearside, was on patrol east of Lashkar Gah in Helmand Province when his squadron was attacked on October 13.
His open-topped Jackal vehicle was targeted with gunfire and rocket propelled grenades from different directions.
Trooper Deans, of A Squadron, Light Dragoons, said: “The rounds started coming in and I ducked behind the steering wheel.
“One round just missed my head and went in to the headrest behind me.
“As I was pulling away I was shot, the bullet entered just by my spine and came out by my side.
“It felt like getting hit with a sledge hammer, a really hard thump to the back, but with the adrenaline I didn’t feel it too much to start with.
“I drove us about 500 metres, out of the killing zone, and then I started to black out, it came to a point where it was hurting too much.”
At this point his vehicle commander took over, driving the rest of the way to the evacuation point. Trooper Deans was then taken in a US Black Hawk helicopter to the field hospital in Camp Bastion, the main British base in Afghanistan.
The other vehicles in his patrol, which took up defensive positions while the two Black Hawks flew in, were, he said, “covered in bullet holes”.
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