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Mark Wright GC left to die by failings at MoD

oldbaldy

LE
Moderator
#1
A British war hero who bled to death after being injured in an Afghan minefield died because of a catalogue of failures, incompetence and equipment shortages, a military inquiry has found.

Cpl Mark Wright, who was posthumously awarded the George Cross after rescuing an injured colleague, could have survived if a properly equipped helicopter had been available, it ruled.

A copy of the report, which has been obtained by The Sunday Telegraph, adds that the rescue operation was dogged by confusion, delays, poor communication and a shortage of maps showing the location of minefields.

Last night, Bob Wright, the soldier's father, said he was furious with the Ministry of Defence, which he accused of "trying to hide the truth".

Cpl Wright, a 27-year-old paratrooper, was one of seven soldiers who became trapped in a minefield in September 2006 in Helmand, southern Afghanistan, following an operation to rescue a wounded soldier.

The report states:

• Cpl Wright died because of the non-availability of an aircraft equipped with a suitable winch

• Soldiers did not have a map of the mined area even though one was available

• Radio problems led to a communications breakdown

• Soldiers had to provide their own mine extraction kits

• The British military needs to develop its own Combat Search and Rescue capability.

At the time of the incident, the MoD made no mention of the equipment problems and claimed that Cpl Wright's injuries were so severe that he was effectively beyond medical help. But a copy of the soldier's post- mortem report, which has also been seen by this newspaper, states that the injuries were "survivable".

Last night, Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, described the findings as an appalling indictment of Labour defence policy.

"This is a catalogue of unacceptable errors," he said. "Contrary to the MoD's claims, it is clear that Cpl Wright's injuries were survivable."

Three of the soldiers who lost legs are suing the MoD for negligence. Their lawyer, Paul Harrington, who is also acting for Cpl Wright's parents, said: "There was a systemic failure by the Ministry of Defence in providing adequate resources, equipment and intelligence which led to a wholly avoidable death and serious injuries."

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: "At the time of the incident, all of the helicopters in theatre would have been fully equipped.

"However, a fault with another system, necessitated all of the winches being returned to the UK, as a matter of urgency, for inspection to ensure their reliability."
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/mai...FOAVCBQ0IV0?xml=/news/2008/01/13/nhero113.xml
 
#2
I would rather have been rescued by a potentially faulty winch than not rescued at all...

Once again further evidence that the UK needs dedicated Combat Search and Rescue helicopters.
 

oldbaldy

LE
Moderator
#3
Expanded:
My son was sent to war without the proper equipment being available." Those are the words of the father of Mark Wright, the corporal who, having behaved with conspicuous and commendable heroism, died of his wounds after a five-hour wait for the arrival of a helicopter capable of evacuating him and three critically injured comrades. When a helicopter finally arrived, it was American: there were no suitable British helicopters available.

The failure to provide the resources needed to protect our troops is an appalling condemnation of the Military of Defence planners whose incompetence led to the shortage of helicopters that cost Cpl Wright his life. More fundamentally, it should be a profound source of shame to the Government whose refusal to fund the war in Afghanistan adequately has led to the disgraceful situation where wounded men such as Corporal Wright die because of a shortage of equipment.

When ministers order the Army to fight a war, soldiers are entitled to expect that, in return for risking their lives, everything possible will be done to take care of them should they be wounded. That is indeed what ministers promise they will do. It is not, however, what happens - as the official investigation into the death of Cpl Wright in action in Afghanistan, which we report today, demonstrates.

Cpl Wright's death is not an isolated incident. There have been several other cases where soldiers have died because the equipment that would have prevented their deaths was not available.

Accidents are inevitable in war. Deaths due to shortages of equipment, or incompetence in distributing it, are not. Labour ministers were responsible for deciding that, while it was worth sending British soldiers to fight in Afghanistan, it was not worth spending the extra money to provide them all with life-saving equipment. Those ministers have not tried to justify that decision, and no wonder: it has left them with blood on their hands.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/...OAVCBQ0IV0?xml=/opinion/2008/01/13/dl1302.xml
 
#4
Accidents are inevitable in war. Deaths due to shortages of equipment, or incompetence in distributing it, are not. Labour ministers were responsible for deciding that, while it was worth sending British soldiers to fight in Afghanistan, it was not worth spending the extra money to provide them all with life-saving equipment. Those ministers have not tried to justify that decision, and no wonder: it has left them with blood on their hands.
That is a quote to be printed and sent out to every minister. Id say more but dont want to ruin this thread.
 
#5
Remove the RAF helis that provide support for civilian search and rescue and send them to theatre.

Are these fully funded by the MOD or assisted from other funds (I dont mean charity boxes).
 
#7
It does pose the question,why didnt they go out to theatre as out@last
said. They quite willingly left Troops without the equipment, im sure it cost more to remove and send the stuff back to the U.K than it would send a couple of engineers out.

Though it cost Mark Wright GC more.
 
#8
out@last said:
What's wrong with getting the winch manufacurers/repairers out to carry out the inspections in theatre?
It beggars belief that someone arranged for all the winches were sent back at once. I just hope the same person doesn't find a problem with the SA80.
 
#9
Im really not suprised by this. Some bean counter somewhere has blood on thier hands. It would be laughable if it wasnt so tragic. I just feel sorry for the family knowing that this happened!
 
#10
The horrible truth is that a dead soldier is cheaper and less paperwork for this despicable Government than having to pay for the proper equipment.
 
#12
Disco said:
Remove the RAF helis that provide support for civilian search and rescue and send them to theatre.

Are these fully funded by the MOD or assisted from other funds (I dont mean charity boxes).
Wait out on that one Disco. The MOD will be waiting, fingers crossed for a new charity to be set for the Armed Forces towards vital war fighting equipment. It will probably be called Help for Soldiers who need Equipment now foundation and the treasury will demand it's normal slice of the donations collected, because of the strict treasury rules. :roll:

After all, it's sadly the case with our men and women who are injured in some form to expect to rely on charity to foot half the bill in getting them back to health.
Did I say half? :evil:

http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/servicecharities/
 
#13
oooo
 
#14
tramp_on_chips said:
Im really not suprised by this. Some bean counter somewhere has blood on thier hands. It would be laughable if it wasnt so tragic. I just feel sorry for the family knowing that this happened!
The Bean Counter in question is our unloved and unelected and drowning in sleaze PM. Mark isn't the only one to die because Broon refused to properly fund us.

The buck stops with cyclops. He should be prosecuted.
 
#15
We are all, rightly, appalled at yet another avoidable death but does anyone really believe that a change of Government would mean that the Forces would be better equipped?
What is needed is for there to be a total shift in the way that the people of this country think. It is very easy to mock the Americans but they do value their Forces and their serving men and women. We don't.
 
#17
Sadly, unsurprised by this story. Once upon a time (this millenia) in Cyprus there was a long drawn-out debate about which ac should replace the Wessexes of 64 Sqn RAF. The answer boldly given by the RAF was "Merlin" because it was the best ac for the role. The role included SAR. Can any spot the problem?
 
#18
Interesting still is the fact that military personnel are still trying to pimp out rotary assets for WAS tasks, even though there aren't enough to complete CASEVAC or troop transit in theatre (and other assets can complete the WAS tasks)

But of course they are no where near minefields or bullets so they probably don't give two shits.
 
#19
Col Parker, 45, who is parachute-trained and has served on numerous special forces operations, is the first British officer publicly to voice his concerns over the treatment of casualties.

Writing in the Royal Army Medical Corps Journal, he said: "In Vietnam, wounded soldiers arrived in hospital within 25 minutes of injury. In Iraq in 2005, that figure is 110 minutes, on Operation Herrick IV, (Afghanistan 2006 ) the average pre-hospital time was seven hours. A casevac [casualty evacuation] request has to go through too many layers of command. There seems little point in providing high-technology in-hospital care when our patients still take several hours to travel a few miles to us.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/06/17/ntroops117.xml
 
#20
Soldiers had to provide their own mine extraction kits
I have always thought that was a bit bizarre. Assembling little pieces of wire and coloured tape from your bitsn'bobs drawer etc does not feel like a first world army - its a bit like welding together your own body armour from old car parts. Added to which, the lack of standardisation could put others at risk. The cost of a standard kit is pretty small, and would surely be outweighed by the benefit when operating on mine-ridded countries (like all the ones we go to).
 

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