Posted by: the watchmen | March 7, 2009

Royal Irish makes History___Belfast Newsletter.

Date: 06 March 2009

ROYAL Irish soldiers have made British military history by receiving more medals for extreme bravery than any regiment has ever received during a single tour of duty.

As details began to emerge of the heroism shown by Ulster soldiers in Afghanistan last year, citations for selfless courage detailed actions of “superhuman strength” and situations where non-commissioned officers led Afghan soldiers from the front after commanding officers were hit by Taliban fire.

Among a host of medals for Ulster troops, three Royal Irish soldiers, Corporal Robert William McClurg from Portavogie, Corporal Alwyn John Stevens from St Helenia and Fiji-born Lance Corporal Bruce Jone Toge, were told that they will be travelling to Buckingham Palace to receive the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, the Army’s second-highest award for bravery, from the Queen.

Since 1993, there have been just over 30 of the medals awarded.
Cpl Stevens was leading an Afghan National Army (ANA) patrol in Helmand Province on September 12 when a local national approached the soldiers to warn them of a sizable Taliban presence in the area.

As Cpl Stevens pushed forward to secure mud compounds, the enemy appeared and he charged forward to confront them, firing from the hip as he advanced, forcing the enemy to temporarily retreat, before regrouping to attack from several sides.

Cpl Stevens “displayed extraordinary courage, selflessness and leadership” as he personally killed several Taliban fighters and managed to withdraw his men. His actions ensured that the Taliban never again appeared in that area in such strength.

LCpl Toge had to take over an ANA patrol when the commander was incapacitated by Taliban fire in July.

Under heavy Taliban small arms fire and rockets, the lance corporal demonstrated tactical presence of mind as he manoeuvered his troops and, demonstrating inspirational leadership, repeatedly exposed himself to Taliban fire to keep the ANA advancing, disregarding his personal safety.

Later, in the scorching heat of midday, LCpl Toge’s vehicle was hit 10 times by grenades, seriously injuring the ANA sergeant and blasting the Royal Irish soldier off his feet.

But, his citation reads, “undeterred, he got up and personally extracted the casualty into cover and administered first aid. He then set about dealing with the enemy again, leading the advance with grenade and rifle fire to within a hundred metres of the enemy.”

Four Afghan soldiers were injured close to Toge and, “with supreme strength and selflessness”, he extracted each one from the area and treated their wounds.

On July 26, Cpl McClurg was in the “eye of the storm” during a battle in a village near Musa Qaleh.

The ANA commander was injured and Cpl McClurg took command, rallying his forces, and, over a period of six hours, mounting assaults on the enemy positions.

He covered more than two kilometres, fighting through 17 defended compounds, while being attacked by enemy flanking attacks and mortar fire.

His citation states that McClurg’s intervention turned the battle: “His command, firepower and example inspired the ANA, giving them the confidence to unpick the enemy from their defences”.

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Responses

  1. here Christ and is, Virtue grows, and where VIrtue, Valour, and where Valour, courage. Honour is natural to those who follow the right path, and this great Honour for Northern ireland is a testamony of how they have retained the Faith and SPirit of he British peoples, and the moral values that make them strong.

  2. here Christ and is, Virtue grows, and where virtue, Valour, and where Valour, courage. Honour is natural to those who follow the right path, and this great Honour for Northern Ireland is a testimony of how they have retained the Faith and spirit of he British peoples, and the moral values that make them strong.


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