I personally thought this was slightly more apt.......................
Badly injured soldier directs American air strike
Badly injured by a rocket-propelled grenade while on a routine patrol, a British soldier ignored his pain and stayed on the radio to direct American pilots overhead to suppress the enemy.
United States Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft flying over Afghanistan [Picture: Staff Sergeant Aaron Allmon, DoD/2008]
Corporal Paul Mather from the Army Air Corps was on patrol with 2nd Battalion The Rifles alongside elements of the Afghan National Army when they found an old Russian-style anti-tank mine on the north-western side of a group of compounds, no more than 500m from the Forward Operating Base that they were returning to.
Following the discovery the platoon took up defensive positions as experts dealt with the device. Cpl Mather's role as a Forward Air Controller was crucial in co-ordinating air support to protect the troops on the ground.
Speaking later, Cpl Mather explained what happened:
"I was speaking to a pair of A-10 jets [United States Air Force operated aircraft] at this time and I had them scanning the area around us looking for any threats to the patrol.
"It was then that an RPG [rocket-propelled grenade] came over the wall and hit a soldier on the back of his rucksack. It bounced off and landed on the floor in the middle of the patrol. I heard a massive shout of 'RPG' from the Platoon Sergeant and everybody dived into available cover."
The shrapnel from the first blast missed Cpl Mather but he felt his body go numb from the shock wave. With his hearing temporarily gone as well, the first he knew about further explosions was when he felt the shrapnel rip through both his upper legs and left arm:
"It hurt like hell, but after the explosions had stopped and my hearing came back I climbed through the irrigation ditch towards a stream. Once out of immediate danger I ran towards a group of soldiers who were treating other casualties."
Six other casualties were also being treated following the blasts, but Cpl Mather was the most seriously hurt:
"I had a hole in my left bicep that the medics applied a field dressing and tourniquet to, to stem the blood flow. And I had lots of shrapnel injuries to the back of my legs and buttocks, one of which was a hole the size of my fist."
Despite his injuries Cpl Mather quickly realised that the A-10s and Apache attack helicopters above them had seen the explosions and were trying to contact him to find out what had happened so he picked up his radio handset and began to relay information to the pilots about where the enemy was:
Corporal Paul Mather [Picture: via MOD]
"I told one of the Fusiliers to take a smoke grenade from my bag and throw it into the compound where the RPGs had come from. The pilot immediately picked up the smoke signal from his cockpit and started to relay the information to his wingman. I then gave direction for a strike onto the compound."
Most of the casualties had by now been put on stretchers, including Cpl Mather, and they began extracting out of the danger zone to a casualty collection point ready to be picked up by the MERT (Medical Emergency Response Team) helicopter.
As they moved, the Taliban started preparing to engage them again with RPGs from the same positions as before. The patrol immediately laid down suppressing fire onto the compounds:
"It was tricky because there were multiple local national buildings to the east of the wall, and I had to ensure that I wasn't going to hit any of those buildings as we were not sure what or who was inside them."
Two further air strikes were carried out on the target and then the A-10s pushed clear of the helicopters but kept their eyes on the target area in case they were further needed:
"I got the pilots' eyes onto the Taliban compound and told them to tell me if anything moved within and posed a threat. It was then that I saw the MERT coming in to collect us so I told the guys to pop smoke ready to receive them.
"As they landed I told the guys on the radio that I was handing it over because I had to get evacuated for medical treatment. It wasn't until I was on the helicopter that I took morphine to ease the pain."
Despite being a serious casualty and now on morphine for the pain, Cpl Mather could still be heard on the ground shouting commands and directions for the close air support aircraft whilst the Chinook was lifting off the ground.
His injuries were so severe that he was flown back to Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham for further treatment, but is now at home recuperating with his parents.
Cpl Mather decided to become a Forward Air Controller after seeing the Joint Tactical Air Controllers and the Fire Support Teams on an exercise in Arizona and describes it as by far the greatest and most challenging job he has done in the Armed Forces. He added:
"It's very rewarding being able to help out the troops in contact or help finding targets for UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] or jets."