14 December, 2006

Corporal Bryan Budd, VC.

The BBC reports that Corporal Bryan Budd, 3rd Battalion Parachute Regiment, who was killed in Afghanistan on 20 August 2006, has been today posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. The full citation reads:

"During July and August 2006, A Company, 3rd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment were deployed in the District Centre at Sangin. They were constantly under sustained attack from a combination of Taliban small arms, rocket-propelled grenades, mortar and rocket fire.

"On 27 July, whilst on a routine patrol, Corporal Bryan Budd's section identified and engaged two enemy gunmen on the roof of a building in the centre of Sangin. During the ensuing fierce fire-fight, two of Corporal Budd's section were hit. One was seriously injured and collapsed in the open ground, where he remained exposed to enemy fire, with rounds striking the ground around him. Corporal Budd realised that he needed to regain the initiative and that the enemy needed to be driven back so that the casualty could be evacuated.

"Under fire, he personally led the attack on the building where the enemy fire was heaviest, forcing the remaining fighters to flee across an open field where they were successfully engaged. This courageous and prompt action proved decisive in breaking the enemy and was undertaken at great personal risk. Corporal Budd's decisive leadership and conspicuous gallantry allowed his wounded colleague to be evacuated to safety where he subsequently received life-saving treatment. "A month later, on 20th August, Corporal Budd was leading his section on the right forward flank of a platoon clearance patrol near Sangin District Centre. Another section was advancing with a Land Rover fitted with a .50 calibre heavy machine gun on the patrol's left flank. Pushing through thick vegetation, Corporal Budd identified a number of enemy fighters 30 metres ahead. Undetected, and in an attempt to surprise and destroy the enemy, Corporal Budd, initiated a flanking manoeuvre. However, the enemy spotted the Land Rover on the left flank and the element of surprise was lost for the whole platoon.

"In order to regain the initiative, Corporal Budd decided to assault the enemy and ordered his men to follow him. As they moved forward the section came under a withering fire that incapacitated three of his men. The continued enemy fire and these losses forced the section to take cover. But, Corporal Budd continued the assault on his own, knowing full well the likely consequences of doing so without the close support of his remaining men. He was wounded but continued to move forward, attacking and killing the enemy as he rushed their position.

"Inspired by Corporal Budd's example, the rest of the platoon reorganised and pushed forward their attack, eliminating more of the enemy and eventually forcing their withdrawal. Corporal Budd subsequently died of his wounds, and when his body was later recovered it was found surrounded by three dead Taliban.

"Corporal Budd's conspicuous gallantry during these two engagements saved the lives of many of his colleagues. He acted in the full knowledge that the rest of his men had either been struck down or had been forced to go to ground. His determination to press home a single-handed assault against a superior enemy force despite his wounds stands out as a premeditated act of inspirational leadership and supreme valour. In recognition of this, Corporal Budd is awarded the Victoria Cross."
The Daily Telegraph describes Corporal Budd's selfless heroism:
Sangin town experienced some of the most intense fighting that included the extraordinary act of heroism by Cpl Budd, 29.

On Aug 20 he was part of a 24-man patrol from A Company, 3 Para, which was sent to clear a cornfield to protect Royal Engineers working in the area.

The Paras came under fire with several soldiers suffering gunshot wounds. Cpl Budd charged the enemy position while firing with his SA80 rifle on fully automatic. Soon afterwards the enemy's fire dropped off and the soldier's section was able to break away from the contact.
The Sun also captures Corporal Budd's spirit of self sacrifice:
His citation lists two extraordinary acts of valour while leading a section of seven men from 3 Para in the dangerous outpost of Sangin.

On July 27, he led his men into Taliban fire to save the life of a badly-wounded comrade lying in the open. Their diversion allowed medics to rescue the fallen Para.

Then on August 20, Cpl Budd was among troops sent out to protect Royal Engineers building defences. He spotted approaching Taliban and led his section to attack them. But they came under devastating fire and three of his men were wounded. Budd hurled himself at the enemy and was last seen alive sprinting with his rifle blazing.

The hard-pressed Brits were able to withdraw. Budd’s body was found later alongside two dead Taliban.
The Ministry of Defence has announced formally Corporal Budd's award and other operational honours in Afghanistan.

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