Please take the time to read these citations in full Major Jason Little The inspirational leadership of an officer faced with commanding a "chaotic" mix of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops has been praised following a hectic Herrick tour. , 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards) (2 Yorks), was tasked with training the 2nd Afghan National Army (ANA) Kandak in his role as officer commanding Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT) Two on Op Herrick 7. In November last year, the Taliban invaded Golestan and Maj Little was tasked with pushing the ANA through the final stages of their training ahead of deploying to the area, recapturing the town and protecting the vital hub of Delaram. On arrival in Delaram, Maj Little was faced with a scene of confusion as a mixture of troops from the ANA, Afghan National Police, US National Guard and Italian Army operated with little or no command. The British officer quickly and skilfully imposed order on the town and galvanised the soldiers ahead of an assault on Golestan 35km away. A previous attempt on Golestan had resulted in the capture and execution of 18 ANA troops, but Maj Little's careful planning allowed his team of around 20 mentors and two ANA companies to bypass the enemy and secure the town. Two weeks later, 2nd Kandak regrouped to participate in Op Mar Karardad, the recapture of Musa Qala. Charged with delivering a feint to the south of the town, Maj Little steadied his troops during a savage fire-fight and forced the enemy to flee. Tragically, a hugely popular senior NCO - Sgt Lee Johnson, of the 2nd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment - was killed in an explosion shortly afterwards and Maj Little again showed inspirational leadership to refocus those under his command ahead of the assault on Musa Qala the following day. His Military Cross citation reads: "Personal courage, huge strength of character and an absolute determination to achieve the mission in conditions of complexity and great adversity has set him apart." [hr] Major Paul Pitchfork In the face of a most determined enemy threat The dramatic recapture of Musa Qala threw up scores of tales of battlefield bravery, but none of them might have happened had it not been for the foresight of Major Paul Pitchfork. The officer commanding A Company, 1st Battalion, The Royal Gurkha Rifles led from the front as his men defended Sangin district centre, the loss of which would have seriously dented the coalition operation in Musa Qala. After fighting off as many as 60 Taliban fighters during a contact on the fringes of Sangin bazaar on 9 December, Maj Pitchfork realised that his troops would have to take preventative action to kill off any potential counter-attacks. Moving his company down Sangin's principal riverbed early the following morning, Pitchfork was able to re-engage the enemy at first light. In a fire-fight that lasted more than ten hours, the inspirational officer was under direct fire as he commanded his troops against a determined enemy. In the absence of a Joint Tactical Air Controller (JTAC), Maj Pitchfork also assumed responsibility for controlling support from Apache helicopters at considerable personal risk. Despite taking two casualties, he manoeuvred his men through waist-deep water along the river in an attempt to engage the enemy's flank, coming under contact three more times before the Taliban withdrew at last light. His Military Cross citation reads: "Pitchfork demonstrated the very highest standards of leadership, courage and initiative under fire and in the face of a most determined enemy threat." [hr] Major Douglas Reid The very highest official recognition The constant willingness of regimental medical officer Major Douglas Reid to put himself in harm's way to save the lives of his men is deserving of "the very highest official recognition". Maj Reid, Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), consistently put his safety in jeopardy to treat wounded soldiers on Op Herrick 7, earning a Military Cross for his actions. Taking part in Operation Palk Wahel in the Upper Gereshk Valley in September last year, Maj Reid volunteered to attach himself to the company with the highest risk of casualties and soon found himself in an intense fire-fight deep in enemy territory. Reid advanced under direct fire to treat two casualties and organise their extraction. He also proved to be an inspirational leader for some of the younger soldiers who were experiencing their first taste of close combat. Following the operation in Helmand, Maj Reid was taking part in a road move to Kandahar when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED). The company commander was killed instantly and the gunner and driver were thrown clear in the blast, but despite the physical and mental trauma, Maj Reid forced his way out of the destroyed vehicle and began to treat the two casualties on open ground and in full view of enemy firing points. Maj Reid's unrelenting dedication to his job continued during Op Spin Ghar in the Baluchi Valley later that year. In a close-quarter battle against multiple enemy positions, Maj Reid ran to open ground to attend to a mortally wounded International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) soldier and pulled him clear from the killing zone. His citation reads: "During the tour, he saved the lives of many local Afghans, their security forces, coalition and British troops. His gallantry was inspirational and contributed to the overall enduring fighting spirit of the battle-group." [hr] Major Ian Scattergood Cleared two anti-personnel devices by hand at considerable risk An inexperienced improvised explosive device disposal operator's bravery in disabling two bombs allowed his Royal Marine colleagues to make quick progress into enemy-held territory. Major Ian Scattergood , The Royal Logistic Corps (RLC), was asked to accompany troops from C Company, 40 Commando RM to clear a set of old defensive positions on a ridge two kilometres from Forward Operating Base Zeebrugge. As the patrol approached the base of the ridge, Maj Scattergood uncovered and made safe an IED connected to a main charge of 9kg of high explosive and five litres of petrol, enough to kill anyone standing within a 20m radius. With one threat out of the way, the newly-trained loggie climbed the ridge and immediately came under fire from enemy forces as he searched the defensive positions. Despite the terrain limiting the amount of suppressing fire the Marines could deliver, the officer crawled forward to clear two more trenches. The patrol required further positions to press home its tactical advantage and Maj Scattergood duly obliged, again crawling forward while under direct fire and stopping only when he uncovered a second IED attached to the warhead of a 107mm rocket. He quickly disabled the device, allowing the rest of the patrol to move forward. His Military Cross citation reads: "Scattergood, a senior officer but a relatively inexperienced IEDD operator, consciously made the decision to clear two anti-personnel IEDs by hand at considerable risk and, whilst under fire, search several defensive positions believed to be protected by IEDs and mines." [hr] Captain Paul Britton Outstanding display of professionalism Heroically battling through the pain of a shrapnel wound to direct fire onto enemy fighters during an intense contact earned Captain Paul Britton a Military Cross. The Royal Artillery Fire Support Team (FST) commander was called into action when a patrol to the north-east of a Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Helmand's Green Zone, was ambushed by combatants wielding rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) and small arms on 9 November last year. The officer set about the complex task of coordinating artillery fire, mortars and aircraft against the enemy forces, whose attack left three members of the British patrol with serious injuries. Twenty-five minutes into the contact, an airburst RPG slammed into the walls of Britton's compound, leaving him and a colleague with shrapnel wounds. Despite suffering considerable pain from the injury to his left shoulder, the FST commander continued to take the fight to the enemy and refused morphine in order to remain focused. Thanks to his bravery, a support helicopter was able to land and fly the wounded back to Camp Bastion. In a further display of selflessness, Britton stayed at the FOB until the rest of the patrol returned and was only extracted for medical treatment the following morning. The inspirational officer showed further dedication by resuming command of the FOB's FST two weeks later. Capt Britton's Military Cross citation paid tribute to an "outstanding display of professionalism, inspirational leadership and selflessness". [hr] Acting Sergeant John Cockburn Fearless pursuit of an objective When a company-level recce patrol came under intense fire near Musa Qala, the heroic actions of Acting Sergeant John Cockburn , 2 Yorks, ensured that the enemy failed to take the initiative. Sgt Cockburn's Brigade Reconnaissance Force (BRF) patrol was pushing forward from the west bank of Musa Qala Wadi into its basin when the British troops came under fire from two heavy machine gun positions on November 27 last year. Further incoming rounds from enemy fighters using RPGs, small arms and mortars followed and Sgt Cockburn and his men were left pinned down in an exposed position. Despite facing heavily-armed and well-dug-in adversaries, Sgt Cockburn kept cool under pressure to identify an opportunity to move his six-man patrol forward and outflank the combatants' main position, a trench 250m away. As Sgt Cockburn pushed ahead, the weight of enemy fire was directed onto his patrol and the team had to take cover 30m away from their objective after being engaged from a previously unseen position. Realising how close he was to his target, Cockburn ordered three of his men to suppress the new position while he dashed towards the trench, eventually reaching it and capturing an enemy fighter on the way. His selfless courage allowed other sections of the patrol to surround the remaining positions and swung the advantage away from the enemy. His Military Cross citation paid tribute to his "fearless pursuit of an objective", adding: "He could see that action was needed, he was only too aware of the dangers, yet it made no impact on his mindset. Cockburn's actions saved the lives of his fellow soldiers, but in so doing he took a remarkable risk with his own." [hr] Corporal Richard Street Prevented significant casualties from being taken A junior non-commissioned officer (NCO) who showed exceptional courage aiding the crew of a stricken Mastiff armoured vehicle under repeated enemy attacks has been awarded the Military Cross. Corporal Richard Street , Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME), was commanding a lightly armoured Foden recovery vehicle in support of The King's Royal Hussars (KRH) when they were ambushed on the road from Gereshk to Musa Qala. He braved Taliban RPGs and small-arms fire to dismount and hook the Foden to the KRH squadron leader's Mastiff, which had been immobilised during the attack. Cpl Street's citation praised his leadership of the Foden crew and personal courage in recovering the vehicle under sustained fire. The patrol fought through the ambush but came up against a bridge that would not take the weight of the 23-tonne Mastiffs. With no alternative but to backtrack into the danger zone, the patrol returned to the ambush site. The Taliban were waiting and launched two more attacks. Small-arms fire destroyed the front left wheel of the Foden but Cpl Street pushed forward and fired his pistol from the window while driving one-handed and encouraging his crew. Cpl Street's citation said: "His decision to continue to drive a partially disabled vehicle with no serious ballistic or mine blast protection through two enemy ambushes kept the route free for the squadron, maintained tempo at a critical time and undoubtedly prevented significant casualties from being taken. "He was an example to all around him, particularly given the paucity of protection he enjoyed and the vicious nature of a contact that saw an armoured squadron post more than 20 grenades and left more than 20 enemy dead. He was a credit to his squadron and corps and his was a conspicuous display of gallantry." [hr] Lance Corporal Mohansingh Tangnami Unhesitating bravery and steadfastness in command Unhesitating bravery and steadfastness in command under heavy enemy fire has earned Lance Corporal Mohansingh Tangnami , The Royal Gurkha Rifles (RGR), the Military Cross. The junior NCO took the initiative and lead by example throughout his tour, which was punctuated by specific acts of bravery. On patrol in the Helmand River Valley, LCpl Tangnami's platoon was ambushed and pinned down by Taliban machine guns. His section was caught in full view of the enemy but he remained with a rifleman in the killing zone as his men made for cover, returning fire with his grenade launcher. When his comrade was wounded, the junior commander extracted him to safety. He then braved enemy fire again by returning for the rifleman's machine gun to prevent it falling into Taliban hands. Later during his tour, LCpl Tangnami's company as engaged in a ten-hour fire-fight near Sangin. He repeatedly took charge of firing on enemy positions and extracting casualties to safety before returning to the battle. These actions repeatedly exposed him to acute danger as he moved about under accurate and withering machine-gun and sniper fire. His citation said: "Whenever his platoon has been in contact with the enemy, Mohansingh's unhesitating bravery and steadfastness in command in the face of intense enemy fire has been a source of inspiration to those around him. His presence alone has become sufficient to imbue a sense of confidence in the platoon at large. These actions epitomise Mohansingh's conduct as a junior commander." [hr] Lance Corporal Agnish Thapa Lifting morale and driving men to continue their fight Rescuing a mortally wounded soldier and defending the evacuation against a tenacious enemy has earned Lance Corporal Agnish Thapa the Military Cross. The junior Royal Gurkha Rifles NCO displayed conspicuous gallantry during a fierce battle to destroy a Taliban stronghold in the Uruzgan province of southern Afghanistan. ISAF troops engaged the enemy in a surprise attack but the Taliban retaliated and ferocious fighting ensued. During the close quarter combat that followed, LCpl Thapa charged across open ground to go to the aid of a severely injured ISAF comrade. Under constant, intense enemy fire, he dragged the soldier 100 metres to the nearest sparse cover and continued to administer first aid until relieved by the medical officer. The enemy was not giving up ground and doggedly pushed forward an attack as the coalition troops tried to airlift the casualty. LCpl Thapa ordered his section into a firing position. They returned fire so effectively that the Taliban assault faltered and ISAF soldiers caught in the killing zone were able to withdraw. These actions turned the battle in the coalition troops' favour and immediately boosted morale. LCpl Thapa's citation said he richly deserved the Military Cross for showing a complete disregard for his own safety and acting above and beyond his rank and experience. The citation added: "His bravery was inspirational and had an immediate positive impact on all involved in the battle, lifting morale and driving men to continue their fight, despite the infliction of casualties by the enemy. "His effective leadership proved pivotal in swinging the initiative in favour of coalition forces, enabling casualty evacuation to be completed despite grave tactical circumstances." [hr] Rifleman Bhimbahadur Gurung Willingness to expose himself to intense enemy fire The "supreme and selfless courage" shown by Rifleman Bhimbahadur Gurung during a frenetic contact in Sangin was enough to earn him a Military Cross. Rfn Gurung, of The Royal Gurkha Rifles, sprinted 75m across open ground while under direct fire to prevent a group of Taliban fighters from outflanking his section and then dashed back to carry to safety a machine-gunner who had been shot in the shoulder. The contact happened on 10 December last year as part of a counter-attack against a group of 60 Taliban who had launched a coordinated assault on Sangin. Rfn Gurung's company conducted a 3.5km night infiltration to a cluster of villages known to be a Taliban stronghold in an attempt to regain the initiative and were preparing for a dawn attack when they came under fire from heavy machine guns and RPGs. With a group of between six and eight enemy fighters moving towards a compound 100m away, Rfn Gurung rushed forward and seized the building. The rifleman then spotted a second group of Taliban attempting to outflank his position and decided to run across the open ground to a low wall to lay down covering fire. His actions inspired two machine-gunners to follow and the three men halted the enemy's advance. Moments later, one of the gunners was shot in the shoulder and Rfn Gurung carried him across the open ground to the relative safety of the compound. Rfn Gurung's citation reads: "His willingness to expose himself to intense enemy fire as he crossed open ground took great courage. To choose to do so again, burdened by a wounded comrade on his shoulder and with no cover available until he reached the compound, can only be described as gallantry of the highest order." [hr] Congratulations to them. May their example be an inspiration to us all.