Friday, January 8, 2010
A British soldier escaped with his life after he rushed into the line of enemy fire to help two stranded comrades.
Serjeant Jonpaul Greenwood, of 3rd Battalion The Rifles, was pulling his men back from insurgent lines after a day of heavy fighting.
When two of his soldiers became stuck with a quad bike in a wadi, he turned back, running about 75 metres with bullets flying around him, and picking up a general purpose machine gun(GPMG) to return fire.
The incident came after a hours of intense fighting in which his platoon had already been surrounded and pinned down by the Taliban.
The 30-year-old, from Rothwell in Leeds, said "Luck was on our side today".
"Some of the rounds that were coming in were very close," he said.
"The only thing that was going through my head was getting the blokes out of the killing area.
"You don't really think about yourself, you just think about the men you command and making sure you get them all back in one piece.''
Sjt Greenwood and his platoon were on operation north of Forward Operating Base (FOB) Zeebrugge at Kajaki dam in the north of Helmand province.
The men were giving support to an IED (improvised explosive device) disposal team when they came under attack from multiple locations.
"(The bullets were) coming very close to hitting me and my men on the ground,'' Sjt Greenwood said.
The battle lasted between two and three hours, and the platoon started to withdraw using smoke as cover.
"I looked around and one of my blokes driving the quad had got stuck in the wadi. I ran back under fire to get back to the quad", Sjt Green Wood said.
He took one of his men back with him to assist, and another joined them to direct mortar fire onto the enemy.
Sjt Greenwood took one of his men back with him to assist, and another joined them to direct mortar fire onto the enemy.
The men were able to free the quad and make a fighting withdrawal.
Sjt Greenwood said he would do the same thing again to save one of his men in trouble.
Major Mike Lynch, Officer Commanding C Company, said: ''There is no doubt in my mind that Serjeant Greenwood's command of his men today under fire was outstanding.
"He remained cool under pressure and under fire throughout, providing key support for a very important operation.
"His selfless commitment when they were withdrawing saw him returning to troops who were pinned down by fire and take control of the incident itself.
"He was very heroic in returning into the enemy's killing area to assist with the extraction of key equipment and personnel."