The UK Special Forces is the hardest selection process in the world. As soon as you step off that helicopter you are as one and you’d do anything for that person beside you.
That night we were tasked to go on an operation to go after a high value target. It was about midnight. We broke off into a team and headed off up the side of a mountain.The terrain was very challenging. We were clearing each position as we progressed. As we approached the next position the first shots were fired. Myself and another member were hit. With great sadness we lost a very valuable member of the team. I was hit in the right hip and fractured my femur. Another round went through my calf and my right ankle and my sciatic nerve. I also took a round in my left elbow and one in my helmet, which fortunately did its job that day. I had no feeling in my legs.I thought that this might be it.
I was thinking of my family, thinking of my friends. I had to get off this mountain as quickly as possible. I had to use the mountainside and gravity, which sent me tumbling down. Luckily I fell into the feet of UK forces. The rest of the guys then went up and finished what we’d started.
The hardest thing to accept is not having control of your career anymore within the military. Because of the life-long injuries that I’ve sustained I have no sensation or mechanical movement in my lower left leg. When you have a future planned and you have that taken away from you in a split second it’s very difficult. I soon found out that the support was there after injury. The Association has helped me and my family get away, refocus and get a plan together. And that’s where the Association has led the way. They have given me the support I needed. They’ve helped fund a university degree.
It’s something I don’t want to be remembered for – the guy that was shot. You’ve got to forget about yesterday and move on. It’s the next challenge that I’m looking forward to. The Association’s door is always open and it has been ever since. It’s reassuring to know that we can go out and do our work and if anything was to happen the SBSA has got our back.
When you have a future planned and you have that taken away from you in a split second it’s very difficult.
We feel fear. Everybody feels fear. We’d be lying if we said we don’t. But it’s that adrenalin rush that covers the fear; the knowledge and the confidence in the training that you’ve done and the guy next to you too.
We were due to go out and clear a high value target and multiple compounds. We’d bombarded it to clear it and we were confident that there wasn’t much left of it. But then as we walked through all hell broke loose again. A rampage of rounds came towards us and unfortunately I ended up picking up most of them.
The system kicked in immediately. I had three medics working on me from within the patrol, they found several holes in me, they torinqueted them, sealed them up and called in for a cas-evac.
I passed out on the helicopter but got to our operating base within the golden hour. I was then on the operating table for five to six hours. I exhausted the base’s entire supply of my blood group whilst I was being operated on.
The medical attention I got post this injury was second to none, world class and definitely saved my life. But there were some things that were lacking, certainly as far as the prosthesis was concerned that I couldn’t get within the UK.
I approached the Association with the costs and the funding and within 24hrs I had a cheque and within two weeks I had the leg and it helped me get back to work within twelve months.
When it became clear that my career in the Service was over I had to find a different vocation. Helicopters seemed the way forward. I approached the Association to ask them to consider funding and again there was no question. They were happy to help me transition from an injured soldier to a non-injured civilian and give me a second career to enable me to support the family to this day.
A rampage of rounds came towards us and unfortunately I ended up picking up most of them.