Today’s defence related news includes coverage of last week’s Operational Honours list.
Operational Honours and Awards
The latest Operational Honours and Awards list was released on Friday. The awards are given to individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty when on operations and this year there are also several non-operational gallantry awards which were earned by service personnel whilst in the UK.
The Times reports on two soldiers who jumped into a burning tank to save their colleagues trapped inside. Sergeant Stuart Griffiths and Corporal Saimone Qasenivalu disregarded smoke and flames to pull two unresponsive survivors from a Challenger II tank after an explosion that killed two other soldiers. The tank had been ready to fire on a target when onlookers noticed a loud hissing sound emerged from within, which was followed by an explosion. Sergeant Griffiths was one of several nearby soldiers who ran towards the burning vehicle to try and help those trapped inside, whilst Corporal Qasenivalu “fought the acrid smoke and lack of oxygen inside the turret to reach the unresponsive operator”.
The piece carries comments from them both soldiers, who said that “whilst we are humbled and moved to be recognised with this prestigious award, we will never forget our colleagues who were lost in this tragedy. Our thoughts remain with their families and friends.”
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
The Operational Honours and Awards show how our armed forces personnel go above and beyond the call of duty to keep this country safe. The breadth of achievement is testament to the bravery and commitment of our service personnel. They make us proud. I congratulate all those who have been awarded.
You can read the full list here.