Queen honours Navy hero of Afghanistan ambush

AWARD MA Liam O'Grady was attached to the army's 3rd Battalion Mercian Regiment
AWARD MA Liam O'Grady was attached to the army's 3rd Battalion Mercian Regiment
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A ROYAL Navy medic who ignored his own injuries to save four soldiers hit in a Taliban grenade attack is to receive one of the military’s highest honours.

Medical Assistant Liam O’Grady, of HMS Sultan in Gosport, is to be given the Military Cross for his actions after Taliban fighters attacked a checkpoint in an area known as the Valley of Death in Gereshk, Helmand.

The 21-year-old, who was attached to a platoon from 3rd Battalion Mercian Regiment, leapt to the aid of the four injured soldiers despite suffering shrapnel wounds to his right leg and face in the assault on May 3 last year.

MA O’Grady ran across open ground while grenades were exploding around him to drag his stricken patrol commander to safety.

The medic gave immediate life-saving treatment to the commander, who had severe wounds to his chest and stomach, before stabilising three other wounded colleagues. Only after the commander had been evacuated by helicopter and he had helped carry the other three casualties half a mile uphill through enemy territory did MA O’Grady allow his own wounds to be treated.

Recalling the drama, he told The News: ‘We’d come back from a patrol and we were in our checkpoint when I heard a series of explosions followed by screaming.

‘I was on the radio and immediately shouted to them that we had an emergency.

‘I saw that the patrol sergeant was lying on the ground and in real trouble.

‘I ran to get my medi kit and that was when more grenades came over and I got hit with shrapnel in my right lower leg. I can’t remember it being painful at the time – I think adrenaline took over.

‘There were big explosions and gunfire and flares going off all over the place – it gives you the adrenaline to push through that pain you might be suffering.’

MA O’Grady, who said he was ‘shocked’ to be receiving the Military Cross, dedicated his honour to the hundreds of navy medics in Afghanistan who he called ‘the best’.

He described his relationship with his army colleagues at the Checkpoint Richka compound as ‘really close’ and said: ‘There were only about 13 of us together at any one time so you got to know each other really well.

‘I knew my leg was bleeding but it was my job to help these guys and that instinct just took over.’

According to his citation for the award from the Queen, MA O’Grady displayed ‘exemplary gallantry, selflessness and devotion to duty’.

It said: ‘His instinctive bravery and total disregard for his own safety, followed by exceptional handling of a mass-casualty situation as a lone medic while wounded and under threat of further attack, undoubtedly saved the life of his patrol commander.’