Friday, March 23, 2007

Private Michelle Norris, Major William Chesarek

Private Michelle Norris has become the first ever woman to be presented with a Military Cross, one of the highest awards for exemplary gallantry against the enemy on land.

At the same ceremony the Queen also presented Major William Chesarek from the United States Marine Corps with a Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), awarded for gallantry in action during operations. He became the first American serviceman to receive a DFC since the Second World War.

During an operation to disrupt mortar and rocket attacks in Al Amarah, Maysan Province, a UK Warrior Armoured vehicle was disabled and during its recovery British troops came under repeated attack from rocket propelled grenades (RPG) and small arms fire from insurgents using large, hostile crowds for cover.

Private Norris, aged just 19 and deployed as a medical orderly with The Queen's Royal Hussars Battle Group, was in another Warrior involved in the recovery. When her vehicle came under attack, the commander took a potentially fatal shot to the head from a sniper. Private Norris climbed out of the vehicle to tend his wounds while the sniper continued firing and other small arms and RPG fire continued around her. With the help of a colleague she was able to get her commander back into the vehicle. Read the full story.

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