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British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Fri Mar 18, 2005 10:50 am

Soldier wins VC for Iraq bravery

A British soldier serving in Iraq who saved 30 members of his unit from an ambush has been awarded the first Victoria Cross for more than 20 years.
Private Johnson Beharry, 25, was struck by enemy fire as he guided a convoy of Warrior fighting vehicles through the town of Al Amarah last May.

A month later he saved more lives in an attack which left him in a coma.

Mr Beharry is one of 140 servicemen and women honoured for Iraq, Afghanistan, the former Yugoslavia and Africa.

Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon said: "These honours and awards recognise the outstanding achievements of these extraordinary men and women and their acts of great courage, bravery and determination."

Mr Beharry, still recovering from his injuries, said he was "speechless" when told he was winning the VC.

The award is the first of the medals to be awarded since posthumous VC given to Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Jones and Sergeant Ian John McKay during the Falklands conflict.

Excerpted

I wanted the title of the thread to be "British Soldier Awarded the Victoria Cross for Bravery in Iraq" but it was too long.
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MD11Engineer
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Fri Mar 18, 2005 11:14 am

The Victoria Cross is the highest British military award and will only be handed out in very rare cases, regardless of rank, when somebody knowingly risks his life to either achieve an objective or save somebody else. The rules are extremely strict on it.

Jan
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Banco
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Fri Mar 18, 2005 11:19 am

It is rare indeed. The total number awarded is about 1350 over the last 150 years. Given how many wars this period covers - including two world wars - the value of the decoration is clear.
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Fri Mar 18, 2005 3:53 pm

Agree wholeheartedly.

Just read an article about it in the local Sydney newspapers - what he did was pretty amazing. Seems like a well deserved VC indeed! (not that any of them aren't!)

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ANCFlyer
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Fri Mar 18, 2005 5:35 pm

Congratulations and Salute to this fine soldier!
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whitehatter
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Fri Mar 18, 2005 7:14 pm

Bit of trivia...

the Victoria Cross is made from brass. It is manufactured from the metal of Russian cannons (specifically the large ball at the closed end of the barrel) captured during the Crimean War of the 18th century.

Whatever your thoughts on Iraq, the soldier concerned is a credit to his regiment, and also to both Britain and Grenada. He was honoured for two outstanding actions in the conflict which saved many lives. Hopefully he will recover fully from the brain surgery he needed after the second incident and be able to return to duty, as soldiers of his calibre are priceless in any armed force.
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ANCFlyer
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Fri Mar 18, 2005 7:19 pm

Quoting WhiteHatter (Reply 5):
Whatever your thoughts on Iraq, the soldier concerned is a credit to his regiment, and also to both Britain and Grenada. He was honoured for two outstanding actions in the conflict which saved many lives. Hopefully he will recover fully from the brain surgery he needed after the second incident and be able to return to duty, as soldiers of his calibre are priceless in any armed force.

Here, here . . . absolutely. This is not an Iraq issue, this is a thread on a great soldier that no matter the location did his duty well above and beyond the call and everyone, regardless of their belief should honor this soldier for his heroism!

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Banco
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Fri Mar 18, 2005 8:18 pm

Here is the full citation:

"Private Beharry carried out two individual acts of great heroism by which he saved the lives of his comrades.
Both were in direct face of the enemy, under intense fire, at great personal risk to himself (one leading to him sustaining very serious injuries).
His valour is worthy of the highest recognition.
In the early hours of the 1st May 2004 Beharry's company was ordered to replenish an isolated Coalition Forces' outpost located in the centre of the troubled city of Al Amarah.
He was the driver of a platoon commander's Warrior armoured fighting vehicle.
His platoon was the company's reserve force and was placed on immediate notice to move.
As the main elements of his company were moving into the city to carry out the replenishment, they were re-tasked to fight through a series of enemy ambushes in order to extract a foot patrol that had become pinned down under sustained small arms and heavy machine-gun fire and improvised explosive device and rocket-propelled grenade attack.
Beharry's platoon was tasked over the radio to come to the assistance of the remainder of the company, who were attempting to extract the isolated foot patrol.
As his platoon passed a roundabout, en route to the pinned-down patrol, they became aware that the road to the front was empty of all civilians and traffic - an indicator of a potential ambush ahead.
The platoon commander ordered the vehicle to halt, so that he could assess the situation.
The vehicle was then immediately hit by multiple rocket-propelled grenades.
Eyewitnesses report that the vehicle was engulfed in a number of violent explosions, which physically rocked the 30-tonne Warrior.
As a result of this ferocious initial volley of fire, both the platoon commander and the vehicle's gunner were incapacitated by concussion and other wounds, and a number of the soldiers in the rear of the vehicle were also wounded.
Due to damage sustained in the blast to the vehicle's radio systems, Beharry had no means of communication with either his turret crew or any of the other Warrior vehicles deployed around him.
He did not know if his commander or crewmen were still alive, or how serious their injuries may be.
In this confusing and dangerous situation, on his own initiative, he closed his driver's hatch and moved forward through the ambush position to try to establish some form of communications, halting just short of a barricade placed across the road.
The vehicle was hit again by sustained rocket-propelled grenade attack from insurgent fighters in the alleyways and on rooftops around his vehicle.
Further damage to the Warrior from these explosions caused it to catch fire and fill rapidly with thick, noxious smoke. Beharry opened up his armoured hatch cover to clear his view and orientate himself to the situation.
He still had no radio communications and was now acting on his own initiative, as the lead vehicle of a six Warrior convoy in an enemy-controlled area of the city at night.
He assessed that his best course of action to save the lives of his crew was to push through, out of the ambush.
He drove his Warrior directly through the barricade, not knowing if there were mines or improvised explosive devices placed there to destroy his vehicle.
By doing this he was able to lead the remaining five Warriors behind him towards safety.
As the smoke in his driver's tunnel cleared, he was just able to make out the shape of another rocket-propelled grenade in flight heading directly towards him.
He pulled the heavy armoured hatch down with one hand, whilst still controlling his vehicle with the other.
However, the overpressure from the explosion of the rocket wrenched the hatch out of his grip, and the flames and force of the blast passed directly over him, down the driver's tunnel, further wounding the semi-conscious gunner in the turret.
The impact of this rocket destroyed Beharry's armoured periscope, so he was forced to drive the vehicle through the remainder of the ambushed route, some 1,500 metres long, with his hatch opened up and his head exposed to enemy fire, all the time with no communications with any other vehicle.
During this long surge through the ambushes the vehicle was again struck by rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire.
While his head remained out of the hatch, to enable him to see the route ahead, he was directly exposed to much of this fire, and was himself hit by a 7.62mm bullet, which penetrated his helmet and remained lodged on its inner surface.
Despite this harrowing weight of incoming fire Beharry continued to push through the extended ambush, still leading his platoon until he broke clean.
He then visually identified another Warrior from his company and followed it through the streets of Al Amarah to the outside of the Cimic House outpost, which was receiving small arms fire from the surrounding area.
Once he had brought his vehicle to a halt outside, without thought for his own personal safety, he climbed onto the turret of the still-burning vehicle and, seemingly oblivious to the incoming enemy small arms fire, manhandled his wounded platoon commander out of the turret, off the vehicle and to the safety of a nearby Warrior.
He then returned once again to his vehicle and again mounted the exposed turret to lift out the vehicle's gunner and move him to a position of safety.
Exposing himself yet again to enemy fire he returned to the rear of the burning vehicle to lead the disorientated and shocked dismounts and casualties to safety.
Remounting his burning vehicle for the third time, he drove it through a complex chicane and into the security of the defended perimeter of the outpost, thus denying it to the enemy.
Only at this stage did Beharry pull the fire extinguisher handles, immobilising the engine of the vehicle, dismounted and then moved himself into the relative safety of the back of another Warrior.
Once inside Beharry collapsed from the sheer physical and mental exhaustion of his efforts and was subsequently himself evacuated.
Having returned to duty following medical treatment, on 11 June 2004 Beharry's Warrior was part of a quick reaction force tasked to attempt to cut off a mortar team that had attacked a Coalition Force base in Al Amarah.
As the lead vehicle of the platoon he was moving rapidly through the dark city streets towards the suspected firing point, when his vehicle was ambushed by the enemy from a series of rooftop positions.
During this initial heavy weight of enemy fire, a rocket-propelled grenade detonated on the vehicle's frontal armour, just six inches from Beharry's head, resulting in a serious head injury.
Other rockets struck the turret and sides of the vehicle, incapacitating his commander and injuring several of the crew.
With the blood from his head injury obscuring his vision, Beharry managed to continue to control his vehicle, and forcefully reversed the Warrior out of the ambush area.
The vehicle continued to move until it struck the wall of a nearby building and came to rest.
Beharry then lost consciousness as a result of his wounds.
By moving the vehicle out of the enemy's chosen killing area he enabled other Warrior crews to be able to extract his crew from his vehicle, with a greatly reduced risk from incoming fire.
Despite receiving a serious head injury, which later saw him being listed as very seriously injured and in a coma for some time, his level-headed actions in the face of heavy and accurate enemy fire at short range again almost certainly saved the lives of his crew and provided the conditions for their safe evacuation to medical treatment.
Beharry displayed repeated extreme gallantry and unquestioned valour, despite intense direct attacks, personal injury and damage to his vehicle in the face of relentless enemy action."
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CHRISBA777ER
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Fri Mar 18, 2005 8:40 pm

Well done that man - he deserves it and more. What a shining example of bravery and training - reflects excellently on the British Army, at a time when it needs some public PR work i think. Well done.
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copper1
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Fri Mar 18, 2005 9:23 pm

One must keep in mind that this award can be given to any member of an armed service whose country is part of the Commonwealth. When one considers this it makes the awarding of this medal even more rare. 1350 total amongnst all Commonwealth nations makes this the premier bravery award imho.

Jeff
 
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Fri Mar 18, 2005 9:31 pm

No-one else - for 40 years - has earned one of these.
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Banco
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Fri Mar 18, 2005 9:36 pm

Quoting [email protected] (Reply 10):
No-one else - for 40 years - has earned one of these

Not quite. There were two awarded during the Falklands War, but both were posthumous. This is the first one to a living recipient in 40 years.
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Fri Mar 18, 2005 9:38 pm

I said based on what was just said on the news.
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Banco
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Fri Mar 18, 2005 9:47 pm

Quoting Copper1 (Reply 9):
One must keep in mind that this award can be given to any member of an armed service whose country is part of the Commonwealth.

You're quite right, of course.

Here's a list of the recipients (which will be near enough accurate) by nationality:

http://www.hoganstand.com/general/identity/geese/stories/victoria.htm

Unsure 67 awards
American 5 awards
Australian 97 awards
Belgian 1 award
Canadian 90 awards
Celonese 1 award
Danish 4 awards
English 614 awards
Fijian 1 award
German 2 awards
Indian 29 awards
Irish 190 awards
Kenyan 1 award
Nepalese 11 awards
New Zealander 24 awards
Newfoundlander 1 award
Rhodesian 3 awards
Scottish 158 awards
Sikkimese 1 award
South African 20 awards
Swedish 1 award
Swiss 1 award
Ukrainian 1 award
Welsh 25 awards
West Indian 2 awards
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ANCFlyer
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Fri Mar 18, 2005 9:53 pm

Question Banco: Your list shows 5 Americans. However, as is stated here. . .

Quoting Copper1 (Reply 9):
One must keep in mind that this award can be given to any member of an armed service whose country is part of the Commonwealth.

So, how is it 5 Americans have this Decoration? (No offense intended, in the US Army medals are referred to as a Decoration, not to be confused by some as a Christmas ornament).
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Banco
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Fri Mar 18, 2005 10:06 pm

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 14):
So, how is it 5 Americans have this Decoration? (No offense intended, in the US Army medals are referred to as a Decoration, not to be confused by some as a Christmas ornament).

They are here too! It's a fair question. Here's a link to the US soldiers who did receive VC's.

http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery;...nts&gwp=8&curtab=2222_1&sbid=lc04b

I would imagine that this is the same as those British soldiers who received the CMH not too long ago. That decision was within the gift of the US government, and for these US soldiers it would be within the gift of the (at the time) UK government. I think the difference would be that Canada, Australia, New Zealand et al can award the medal, whereas the US, obviously cannot.

I don't know how it would work now. I can't see how the UK government could arbitrarily award a medal to a non-Commonwealth nation unless the other Commonwealth countries can do the same. I'm not sure how it works, to be honest.
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ANCFlyer
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Fri Mar 18, 2005 10:56 pm

Thanks for the info Banco . . . From what I can read, these men were American Citizens, but were fighting in the Canadian Army . . .

Reviewing US Army Regulation 600-8-22, as it pertains to the award of the CMH, I know it cannot be awarded to non-US military members. The highest US military award (Army) that can be given to a "foreign national" (if you'll excuse the term) is the Distinguished Service Medal, that would be number 3 in order of precedence behind the CMH and the Distringuished Service Cross. See AR 600-8-22, Para 3-8(d).
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Banco
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Fri Mar 18, 2005 11:07 pm

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 16):
as it pertains to the award of the CMH, I know it cannot be awarded to non-US military members

Interesting. I couldn't find too much on this, but I did remember when the news broke about the recommendation:

http://www.britains-smallwars.com/Terror/afghanistan.html

It's quite a way down, but the relevant part is this:

16th April 2002
Royal Marines from 45 Commando commence Operation Ptarmigan to search and clear a mountain valley where Taliban and al-Qaeda forces are believed to have operated in Afghanistan, support is provided by Chinooks of 27 Squadron, RAF.

5 SBS Commandoes rescue 150 US Army Rangers from a 500-strong Taliban and al-Qaeda force in Afghanistan and are recommended for the US Congressional Medal of Honour. The SBS men respond to a mayday call made by satellite phone and scale a mountain behind the terrorist positions in the Sha-i-Kot region, south of Kabul, where they rain machine gun and mortar fire on the al-Qaeda and Taliban forces.


I don't know what happened thereafter. Maybe you can enlighten me?
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ANCFlyer
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Fri Mar 18, 2005 11:14 pm

Hmm, let me look that up . . . Regulation specifically forbids this - even at the order of Dubya. It's the CMH (Congressional Medal of Honor) awarded by the President on behalf of the Congress. Even foreign military working with and/or assigned to US Military units cannot (supposedly) recieve it.

Unless Congress changes the law, and they could, I suspect these will be awarded as either a) Distinguished Service Medal or b) Presidential Medal of Freedom (unlikely - but it is the highest civilian award in the US).

I'm reading the 600-8-22 (yeah, I know I'm retired, but happen to have a copy on my computer - old habits ya know) as we speak . . .

I'll see what else I can find . . .

DL021 is on line - perhaps he has something of this . . .

Ian??
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11Bravo
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Fri Mar 18, 2005 11:39 pm

There have been five CMH awarded to foreign soldiers by special order of congress. All of them are posthumous awards made to Unknown Soldiers of the First World War from Belgium, Great Britain, France, Italy, and Rumania.

http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/mohspec.htm
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jasepl
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Fri Mar 18, 2005 11:40 pm

Quoting Banco (Reply 15):
I don't know how it would work now. I can't see how the UK government could arbitrarily award a medal to a non-Commonwealth nation unless the other Commonwealth countries can do the same. I'm not sure how it works, to be honest.

Banco, I'm not sure exactly, but technically isn't it the Sovereign (on the 'advice' of the Prime Minister, Cabinet, Privy Council, Ladies-in-Waiting) who awards the Honours? That might have something to do with it.

I know that's how our Honours system works and I suspect the two can't be much different.
 
Banco
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Fri Mar 18, 2005 11:40 pm

It could, of course, have just been the press getting it wrong. You know what they're like...

Certainly, I'd have expected to find rather more than what I did had it been accurate.

The other thing that jars a little is that British special forces (the US may be the same) rarely have their decorations publicly awarded. Often they don't get them at all, because their operations are never published. Giving a medal makes it abundantly clear that they were there, something that they avoid if at all possible.

I believe that the UK unknown soldier has the CMH (the US one has the VC) but that's symbolic, obviously.
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Banco
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Fri Mar 18, 2005 11:42 pm

Quoting 11Bravo (Reply 19):
There have been five CMH awarded to foreign soldiers by special order of congress. All of them are posthumous awards made to Unknown Soldiers of the First World War from Belgium, Great Britain, France, Italy, and Rumania.

Beat me to it!  Smile

Quoting Jasepl (Reply 20):
Banco, I'm not sure exactly, but technically isn't it the Sovereign (on the 'advice' of the Prime Minister, Cabinet, Privy Council, Ladies-in-Waiting) who awards the Honours? That might have something to do with it.

I know that's how our Honours system works and I suspect the two can't be much different.

I'm not sure whether that's the case with military honours or not. Certainly it is with civilian ones. Where's our military experts when we need them?
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ANCFlyer
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Fri Mar 18, 2005 11:46 pm

Quoting 11Bravo (Reply 19):
There have been five CMH awarded to foreign soldiers by special order of congress. All of them are posthumous awards made to Unknown Soldiers of the First World War from Belgium, Great Britain, France, Italy, and Rumania.

http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/mohspec.htm

As I said, pretty much, Congress would have to do it - Dubya can't. And there is no provision in the regulation for it. Fortunately, as is outlined in another good ole Army Regulations 600-20, it says, Regulations are Guidelines - essentially saying, open for interpretation.

Regardless - Congratulations again to Private Beharry, and to his fellow UK Soldiers nominated for the US CMH. They have, without question, more gut than most . . . .
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jasepl
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Fri Mar 18, 2005 11:48 pm

Here's what victoriacross.net says: "The Victoria Cross is still awarded only by Royal assent and is presented by the monarch."

Seems like it's not meant to be a political honour because it's not awarded by Government or Parliament.

[Edited 2005-03-18 15:49:29]
 
dl021
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Sat Mar 19, 2005 12:00 am

I believe that the situation has yet to arise, and if a deserving serviceman or woman is recommended for the Medal of Honor the law can easily be amended. We have a large number of foreign nationals who are serving in our armed forces and most of them are seeking citizenship. I for one would campaign to ensure they are afforded the same honors as all the other soldiers.

US medals are being awarded to foreign troops in the coalition, including a heroic Salvadoran NCO who actually was out of ammo and finished his fight with a knife in CQB. Here is an excerpt from the NYT "Paper of Record"

The New York Times will probably never report the story of Corporal Samuel Toloza, one of 380 soldiers from El Salvador, which was carried in the Washington Times. Corporal Toloza, out of ammunition, bravely defended fallen members of his unit from Iraqi insurgents. He charged the enemy, armed only with a knife. ''One of his friends was dead, 12 others lay wounded, and the four soldiers still left standing were surrounded and out of ammunition. So Salvadoran Cpl. Samuel Toloza said a prayer, whipped out his knife, and charged the Iraqi gunmen." The Iraqis broke, and more Coalition troops arrived before they could regroup. Phil Kosnett, who heads the CPA in Najaf, has nominated six El Salvadorans for the Bronze Star. ''These guys are punching way above their weight,'' Kosnett said. ''They're probably the bravest and most professional troops I've every worked with.'' Yet their story is almost completely buried by the mainstream media's endless liturgy of doom, gloom, and quagmire.

As for the British soldier....my admiration and respect for him is beyond words. Guys like him are a credit to their nation and service and I hope he recovers. He is an inspiration to the others.

"Maybe I was brave, I don't know. I think anyone else could do the same thing" - Private Johnson Beharry That is the modesty we see from heroes who think they were simply doing their jobs, but are formerly ordinary men who rise to meet the extraordinary situations with which they are faced.
http://www.itv.com/news/britain_119949.html

Here are a couple of other first hand reports of bravery from our allies and our own men whose actions were above and beyond the call of ordinary duty.

Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith US Army, 11th Combat Engineer Battalion, Iraq. US Army Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith will be awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously at a White House ceremony in March. He is the first American fighting man to receive his nation's highest military honor since 1993. This is what the man did:

SFC Smith volunteered to create a holding pen inside a walled courtyard. Soon, Iraqi soldiers, numbering perhaps 100, opened fire on SFC Smith's position. SFC Smith was accompanied by 16 men.
Badly outnumbered, SFC Smith called for a Bradley, a tank-like vehicle with a rapid-fire cannon. It arrived and opened up on the Iraqis. The enemy could not advance so long as the Bradley was in position. But then, in a move that baffled and angered SFC Smith's men, the Bradley left.

SFC Smith's men, some of whom were wounded, were suddenly vulnerable.

SFC Smith could have justifiably ordered his men to withdraw. SFC Smith apparently rejected that option, thinking that abandoning the courtyard would jeopardize about 100 GIs outside - including medics at an aid station.

SFC Smith manned a 50-caliber machine gun atop an abandoned armored personnel carrier and fought off the Iraqis, going through several boxes of ammunition fed to him by 21-year-old Pvt. Michael Seaman. As the battle wound down, SFC Smith was hit in the head. He died before he could be evacuated from the scene. He was 33.

SFC Smith galllantly gave his life for his men, his country and the Iraqi citizens he fought to free. Greater love hath no man.

Here are some very brave British soldiers.
You will probably never see the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders mentioned on ABC, CBS or NBC. When attacked by over 100 of Moqtada al-Sadr's so-called militia (in reality a gang of thugs with a religious motif), the 20 or so soldiers fixed bayonets and mounted a 19-century style charge. Taking only three casualties, the Scots captured or killed 35 of the enemy. No American media outlet saw fit to even mention this action, except those who carry Mark Steyn's opinion column. Not one seems to have thought of the Highlanders' action as newsworthy.

Here is a very brave Marine who though more of his fellow Marines than of himself.
Last but certainly not least, no major media outlet seems to have reported the brave self-sacrifice of Marine Corporal Jason Dunham except The Wall Street Journal. When a would-be terrorist captured during a traffic stop dropped a live grenade, Cpl. Dunham apparently pulled off his helmet and slammed it down on the grenade, covering it with his own body. He saved not only two nearby fellow Marines, but any civilians in the other cars in line as well. Lt. Col. Lopez has recommended Cpl. Dunham for the Congressional Medal of Honor. ''His personal action was far beyond the call of duty and saved the lives of his fellow Marines,'' he wrote. The last Medals of Honor were awarded to the two Army Delta Force soldiers who gave their lives to protect a downed helicopter pilot in Somalia in 1993.


Here is a Marine to whom you can "Go Tell!"
Captain Brian Chontosh USMC, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, Iraq is a wild man. Just ask a bunch of dead Iraqi soldiers who made the foolish mistake of trying to take the skipper on. He won the Navy Cross, the Corps' second-highest decoration, for his heroic charge. Here is the citation:

While leading his platoon north on Highway 1 toward Ad Diwaniyah, Chontosh's platoon moved into a coordinated ambush of mortars, rocket propelled grenades and automatic weapons fire. With coalition tanks blocking the road ahead, he realized his platoon was caught in a kill zone.

He had his driver move the vehicle through a breach along his flank, where he was immediately taken under fire from an entrenched machine gun. Without hesitation, Chontosh ordered the driver to advance directly at the enemy position, enabling his .50 caliber machine gunner to silence the enemy.

He then directed his driver into the enemy trench, where he exited his vehicle and began to clear the trench with an M16A2 service rifle and 9 millimeter pistol. His ammunition depleted, Chontosh, with complete disregard for his safety, twice picked up discarded enemy rifles and continued his ferocious attack.

When a Marine following him found an enemy rocket propelled grenade launcher, Chontosh used it to destroy yet another group of enemy soldiers.

When his audacious attack ended, he had cleared over 200 meters of the enemy trench, killing more than 20 enemy soldiers and wounding several others.



There are more here to be seen. Go and read what these men have done for you and ask what you can do for them.

http://www.850koa.com/shows/newman-heroes.html

If anyone knows of a foundation or charity set to help him and other wounded veterans or families of KIA's in our allies countries I'd like to see it posted here so some of us can in some small way express our gratitude to them.
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Banco
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Sat Mar 19, 2005 12:03 am

Quoting Jasepl (Reply 24):
Seems like it's not meant to be a political honour because it's not awarded by Government or Parliament.

Trouble is, there are a million and one things theoretically within the gift of the monarch but that are in reality a ministerial or Prime Ministerial decision. I would suspect that this goes up through the army chain of command rather than the political one though. The Queen is head of the Armed Forces, not Parliament or government, so I suppose it could bypass the government to a fair degree. I suppose equally they could block it though (why would they want to?), so I guess what I'm really saying is that I don't have a clue! Big grin
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ANCFlyer
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Sat Mar 19, 2005 12:11 am

Quoting DL021 (Reply 25):
foreign nationals who are serving in our armed forces

DL021 - if they are in fact members of the US Military, they need not be a citizen of the US . . . the stipulation is "members of the US Military". I could have typed that a bit more clearly.

Clearly, any member of the US Armed Forces is eligible for the CMH and DSC regardless of citizenship - rightfully so.

I suspect SFC Paul R. Smith will be so decorated. Very deserving. I often thought as a young soldier - rather self-demeaningly - that I simply wouldn't have what it takes to be awarded the CMH or the DSC for that matter. I came to know that one doesn't go out in search of earning those decorations, circumstances throw them into the situation and they simply excel . . .

Good for them . . .
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jasepl
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Sat Mar 19, 2005 12:14 am

Ha ha! That's exactly how our system 'works' - no surprises there! In theory, Government and Parliament have nothing to do with such matters, but of course in reality they do! That's why I put 'advice' in inverted commas!
 
Banco
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Sat Mar 19, 2005 12:17 am

Good post, DL021.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the Iraq campaign, and given the often negative publicity that has arisen with issues such as prisoner mistreatment and so on, it does no harm at all to be reminded that there are a great many outstanding soldiers from all nations serving there.
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dl021
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Sat Mar 19, 2005 12:36 am

Here is some basic reading on the Medal of Honor and the Victoria Cross


By the way, it is NOT required to be a US citizen to be awarded the Medal of Honor.... The requirement is that the awardee must be serving in the US Military or recieve special dispensation from the Congress which approves the medal (giving it the misnomer used often as the Congressional Medal of Honor, whereas it is simply the Medal of Honor). edit I see ANC's latest post correcting himself. I didn't want to correct that until I double checked.

here is an excerpt of the requirements from 1963..

10A. On July 25,1963 Congress established a set of guidelines under which the Medal of Honor could be awarded:
a.) while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States;
b.) while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or,
c.) while serving with friendly forces engaged in armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.


a brief history
http://www.defenselink.mil/faq/pis/med_of_honor.html
http://www.cmohs.org/index.html

citations
http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/Moh1.htm

VC
http://www.victoriacross.org.uk/vcross.htm

http://www.victoriacross.net/default.asp

Lets not forget men such as Lance Corporal Preben Pedersen, a Danish soldier killed in a firefight with Iraqis (possible blue-on-blue which makes it tougher);

or Senior SGT Dimitar Ivanov Demitrov of Bulgaria killed in the crossfire when stopping an explosives laden vehicle at a checkpoint;

2LT Piotr Mazurek of Poland killed when his Sapper EOD team took fire while clearing an IED from the roadside;

SGT Jose Antonio Bernal Gomez of Spain who was ambushed while convoying with a Spanish MI team;

or SGT Chulert Amporn, a Thai Engineer who was killed by a car bomb.

There are many others who died doing their duty and delivering the beginnings of democracy to Iraq and I just wanted to take the opportunity to recognize some of them.

[Edited 2005-03-18 16:39:11]
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Banco
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Sat Mar 19, 2005 12:43 am

One nice little tradition I thought I'd mention, that will doubtless cause this young man lots of embarassment in the years ahead, is that as a holder of the VC, everyone, from 2nd Lieutenant to Chief of the General Staff, must salute him first.

I actually remember reading about a WWII VC holder, who thought that this particular tradition was a real pain, because everyone would salute him, and, of course, he then had to return that salute. He felt that he spent his whole life saluting people.
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JGPH1A
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Sat Mar 19, 2005 2:01 am

Quoting Banco (Reply 31):
One nice little tradition I thought I'd mention, that will doubtless cause this young man lots of embarassment in the years ahead, is that as a holder of the VC, everyone, from 2nd Lieutenant to Chief of the General Staff, must salute him first.

Isn't that true of Congressional Medal of Honor (note correct sp. !) winners as well ? I read it in a Tom Clancy novel (ooh, I'm so gung-ho !)

[Edited 2005-03-18 18:04:43]
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ANCFlyer
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Sat Mar 19, 2005 2:41 am

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 32):
Isn't that true of Congressional Medal of Honor (note correct sp. !) winners as well ? I read it in a Tom Clancy novel (ooh, I'm so gung-ho !)

Yes, that is true. The MoH (as is correct, not CMH) wearer is saluted by everyone in uniform first - regardless of rank . . . might be a Private, but that 4 star general will salute him first. Hooah!
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GDB
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Sat Mar 19, 2005 3:50 am

An interesting thread, from news of a remarkable act(s) of heroism.
VC winners are rare, rarer still to get one that is not awarded after the death in combat of a recipient.
Prior the the Falklands War, but after the Korean War, the only VC was to, I think, a Ghurka in the Indonesian Confrontation, in 1965.

Banco raises the point about special forces operations, which are generally not much reported on.
I remember VC's being mooted for the SAS, from the fighting in Tora Bora, Afghanistan, in late 2001.
A fight between the SAS and Taliban/AQ, in the caves, went from grenades, to small arms, to knives, several SAS Troopers ending up badly injured, the enemy ending up eradicated.
It was reported that VC's were turned down, probably as any VC award award is a rarity attracting much media coverage, something the SAS (and Royal Marine SBS), try to avoid.
 
Banco
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Sat Mar 19, 2005 10:11 pm

Quoting GDB (Reply 34):
Prior the the Falklands War, but after the Korean War, the only VC was to, I think, a Ghurka in the Indonesian Confrontation, in 1965.

Jut a minor point, I believe an Australian soldier got one in Vietnam in 1969.
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dl021
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Sun Mar 20, 2005 2:19 am

Several were awarded during the Vietnam War to Diggers.

Please read their citations.

Peter John Badcoe of Australia...KIA in Vietnam, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_John_Badcoe

Keith Payne of Australia....still living in Australia,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_Payne

Reyene Stewart Simpson...d.1978
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rayene_Stewart_Simpson

Kevin Arthur Wheatley...KIA in Vietnam
http://www.victoriacross.net/award.asp?vc=1294

Here is a list of the living recipients of the Victoria Cross

There are currently fourteen living recipients of the Victoria Cross and where they earned their Honors:

Eric Charles Twelves Wilson - 1940; Observation Hill, Somaliland (now Somalia)

John Alexander Cruickshank - 1944; Atlantic

Tulbahadur Pun - 1944; Mogaung, Burma (now Myanmar)

Umrao Singh - 1944; Kaladan Valley, Burma (now Myanmar)

Ernest Alvia Smith - 1944; River Savio, Italy

Tasker Watkins - 1944; Barfour, France

Ian Edward Fraser - 1945; Johore Straits, Singapore

Bhanbhagta Gurung - 1945; Tamandu, Burma (now Myanmar)

Lachhiman Gurung - 1945; Taungdaw, Burma (now Myanmar)

Edward Kenna - 1945; Wewak, New Guinea

William Speakman - 1951; Korea

Rambahadur Limbu - 1965; Sarawak, Borneo

Keith Payne - 1969; Ben Het, Vietnam

Johnson Beharry – 2005; Al-Amarah, Iraq

Recently deceased
Richard Wallace Annand died on 24 December 2004.
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dl021
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Sun Mar 20, 2005 2:24 am

excerpt from Wikipedia source verified by independent news sources on AP and Lexis Nexis.

On 1 May 2004, Beharry was driving a Warrior Tracked Armoured Vehicle that had been called to the assistance of a foot patrol caught in a series of ambushes. The Warrior was hit by multiple rocket propelled grenades, causing damage and resulting in the loss of radio communications. The platoon commander, the vehicle’s gunner and a number of other soldiers in the vehicle were injured. Beharry drove through the ambush, taking his own crew and leading five other Warriors to safety. He then extracted his wounded colleagues from the vehicle, all the time exposed to further enemy fire. He was cited on this occasion for "valour of the highest order".

While back on duty on 11 June 2004, Beharry was again driving the lead Warrior vehicle of his platoon through Al Amarah when his vehicle was ambushed. A rocket propelled grenade hit the vehicle and Beharry received serious head injuries. Other rockets hit the vehicle incapacitating his commander and injuring several of the crew. Despite his very serious injuries, Beharry then took control of his vehicle and drove it out of the ambush area before losing consciousness. He required brain surgery for his head injuries, and he was still recovering at the time of his award of the VC in March 2005.


Part of his citation reads:

"For his repeated extreme gallantry and unquestioned valour, despite intense direct attacks, personal injury and damage to his vehicle in the face of relentless enemy action, Private Beharry deserves the highest possible recognition."

"Maybe I was brave, I don't know. At the time I was just doing the job, I didn't have time for other thoughts."—Private Johnson Beharry.
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MD11Engineer
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Sun Mar 20, 2005 2:52 am

I´ve got a friend who was in the RAF Regiment for 20 years, most of the time a NCO. He was both in action in the Falklands during the war and in Northern Ireland and has a few medals for valour (though not the VC). According to him, he got some of the medals "for being stupid" and "running stupid risks", in a way which scared him thinking about the situation later..

On the other hand, what e.g. Pvt. Beharry did was extraordinary, he didn´t just gain an objective, but also saved a whole platoon TWICE by decisive action.

Jan
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kolobokman
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Sun Mar 20, 2005 12:47 pm

Since when Ukraine is a part of Commonwealth?

How did a Ukranian get this medal?
I can neither confirm, nor deny above post
 
Banco
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Sun Mar 20, 2005 8:54 pm

He was serving with the Canadians, Kolobokman. Here you go:

http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery;...wal&gwp=8&curtab=2222_1&sbid=lc01b
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GDB
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Mon Mar 21, 2005 4:35 am

DL021's list above reminded me that my late father once mentioned meeting William Speakman, years after Korea, when my Dad was doing his National Service, Speakman by then was a training Sqt.
He reckoned Speakman was brave, but a 'nutter', when he had ran out of grenades he was chucking rocks at the Chinese.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Speakman
 
BMIFlyer
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RE: British Soldier Awarded The Victoria Cross

Mon Mar 21, 2005 4:37 am

As an ex member of the British Armed Forces, Id sure like to shake the guy by the hand and buy him a pint  Smile

Congrats to him for a job well done. Big grin

Lee
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