The outstanding heroism of LCpl Joshua Leakey, the youngest para in the unit, meant he won a VC this week, the only living soldier this century to do so.In August 2013, under fire from 20 Taliban insurgents, enemy bullets thumped the ground as he sprinted down a steep, rocky hill in southern Afghanistan to tend the wounds of a comrade, a US Marine Corps officer.
Two British machinegun positions and a mortar site were also pinned down by Taliban fire. Radio communication was poor, adding to the confusion, but Lance Corporal Leakey’s bravery spurred other soldiers to win what felt like a losing battle, his VC citation said.
The 27 year old singlehandedly turned the tide of battle in Helmand province in 2013, reported the MOD. LCpl Leakey showed “complete disregard for his own safety” by running off to look for machine gunners pinned down by enemy fire and to give first aid to a US Marine Captain. He then sprinted back up the hill again under fire to take control of a machinegun.
Bullets ricocheted off the weapon as he turned it towards the Talian militants who were hiding in the rubble of a compound. He blasted again at them, before deciding to sprint for a third time under fire to a second machinegun, haul it to higher ground and attack.
His outstanding courage and enterprise inspired his entire unit, who fought back ferociously. Out of 20 enemy, 11 were killed and 4 were wounded. LCpl Leakey showed initiative and leadership far beyond his rank. The video of LCpl Leakey talking about the engagement is here.
The Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Nicholas Carter, was so moved, at the ceremony in London last night, he embraced the soldier. We must never forget the debt of gratitude we owe these men. Reading about such courage is humbling.