Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Royal Marine tells of escaping Taliban in Afghanistan firefight

by Laura Jones, Liverpool Echo

A MERSEYSIDE Royal Marine has spoken about the moment he became trapped outside his unit’s safe compound as Taliban insurgents closed in.

Scrambling to safety Marine Andy Brown from Maghull fell from a ladder as insurgents advanced on the men of 40 Commando.

Serving on his first tour of duty the 21-year-old kept a cool head, climbing to safety to join his unit in returning fire.

Speaking from the base in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, he told the ECHO: “We were using ladders to climb over a compound wall as they were about 15 feet high.

“When it was my turn I got three steps up, before the step gave way under the weight of the equipment I was carrying.”

Hauling himself over the wall, Mne Brown slid out of the range of the enemy just moments before they opened fire, peppering the compound with bullets.

The former Deyes High School and King George V College pupil would almost certainly have become a casualty had he been unable to rescue himself.

Reflecting on the close call Mne Brown said: “Responding to the fall and then the enemy fire is a memory which will stick with me for a long time.

“It was a very threatening environment and it showed that the training, the 32 weeks of basic training and then Afghan specific training, works really well.

“I thought it was pretty amazing that within a split second you are carrying out the drills.”

Despite finding himself in a potentially deadly situation the marine said the experience gave him confidence that he could cope on the frontline.

He added: “Naturally, the lads all laughed at my expense.

“I managed to get back over and into the safety of the compound.”

He said: “I’ve been close, I know what it feels like and so the unknown has been removed and I’m not bothered in the slightest.”

Now he’s more worried about attacks from Simon Cowell and his scathing tongue than any assault by the Taliban as his girlfriend Bekka Ogden bids for stardom on the upcoming series of the X-Factor.

She will be seen on the talent show, along with four of her friends when her band Indigo Rose attempts to impress the judging panel.

Already the girls are through to the videoed audition round, and Mne Brown is rooting for them from Helmand Province.

Now halfway through his first tour Mne Brown, who joined the Royal Marines in 2008, is helping to carry out patrols to maintain the security of the Afghan population.

The unit patrols forward bases across the region with international partners.

The marines are in constant contact with the enemy in summer temperatures of over 50 degrees centigrade as they try to stamp out the Taliban threat in Helmand.

He said: “Some days it’s quite hard out here, quite demanding, because you have got all the jobs around the patrol base and then all the patrolling itself.

“However, morale is quite high, there’re some good games and a good team spirit.

“There are also a lot of funnies being cracked.”

1 comment:

  1. Good Blog - Stay Safe All. God Bless