Gongs for fab five service members

Published: Sunday 1st March 2015 by The News Editor

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Five members of the Armed Forces have been granted operational honours and awards in recognition of their service.

The three women and two men performed different tasks all over the world in their roles for the RAF, Royal Navy and Army.

Chinook pilot Flight Lieutenant Laura Nicholson has been awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross for a mission that saw her rescue a critically injured US Marine in Afghanistan.

After landing, her helicopter came under small arms and RPG fire, but she calmly briefed her crew and was able to take the casualty to the Camp Bastion hospital.

But the RAF pilot was immediately re-tasked with returning to the same area with her crew to extract six members of a civilian family.

On this mission she managed to evade tracer fire and get the family, in a hysterical state because the mother had been shot in the head, on board. But the helicopter was struck by multiple rounds and one wounded her number two crewman in the lower leg as she tried to leave.

However, Flt Lt Nicholson, who served in Afghanistan between September and December 2013, demanded that the crew maintain focus and was able to fly the damaged aircraft back to the hospital.

Squadron leader Charlotte Thompson-Edgar was awarded an Associate of the Royal Red Cross for her services to the Princess Mary’s Royal Air Force Nursing Service.

The Officer Commanding senior nurse has been at the forefront of developing the Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT) when there was no specific clinical training and helped to save and treat Britain’s first triple amputee of the war in Afghanistan.

In November 2012 she was awarded the Tri-Service Emergency Nurse of the Year award for her exceptional contribution as OC MERT.

Also recognised was Lieutenant Wendy Frame from the Royal Navy who was made an MBE for her services as a Deputy Marine Engineering Officer.

She was called upon to bring her considerable engineering expertise to bear during the humanitarian and disaster relief operation, in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, where she was aide to the Chief of Staff in November 2013.

Petty Officer Russell Adams of the Royal Navy was awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal for a daring sea rescue in his role as search and rescue winchman and medic.

In desperate conditions on February 1 last year, and with all other options exhausted, he risked his life repeatedly to rescue five fishermen from almost certain death when a 24-metre French fishing vessel was badly damaged in a storm six nautical miles off Newquay.

Sergeant Christopher Browne of the 9th/12th Royal Lancers was awarded a Mention in Despatches for dragging a wounded soldier to safety while under intense enemy fire in Afghanistan on March 31 last year.

Carrying a 55kg pack, Sgt Browne crawled across open ground to the casualty and pulled him to safety, pausing occasionally to calmly suppress the enemy with his Sharpshooter rifle.

Realising they needed to remove the soldier, Sgt Browne who was supported by only one other, dragged the casualty, who weighed more than 90kg, for more than 30 metres to a safer area for a medic to treat him.

Sgt Browne stood in the open, suppressing the enemy until the casualty could be moved safely to a waiting helicopter.

Published: Sunday 1st March 2015 by The News Editor

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