Soldier earns Military Cross with three acts of 'astonishing' heroism

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“Soldier earns Military Cross with three acts of ‘astonishing’ heroism”

A soldier has been awarded the Military Cross for three “astonishing” acts of bravery when he put himself in the line of fire to allow colleagues to reach safety in Afghanistan.

Lance Corporal Marc Reader, 23, from Brentwood, said today that the medal – awarded for “continuous gallantry and selfless commitment” – was “a nice surprise”.

The former bricklayer joined the Army in 2005 and is a member of 1st Battalion, The Coldstream Guards.

In the first incident, a soldier in his reconnaissance unit became pinned down by fire when their squad came under attack from the Taliban.

L/Cpl Reader drew the enemy’s fire by putting himself in their sights, thereby allowing his colleague to reach cover. His return fire was so accurate that the insurgents stopped shooting and ran away. On a second patrol, his team was again ambushed, leading to the unit commander asking for volunteers for an outflanking manoeuvre.

L/Cpl Reader and a colleague charged the Taliban positions, forcing them to flee. His third act of heroism came when his squad was pinned down near a minefield by Taliban fighters firing from three different directions.

L/Cpl Reader raced down a ditch and, after allowing himself to be visible to Taliban guns, immediately returned fire. His fellow soldiers were able to reach safety.

He said: “The medal was a nice surprise, but I feel like I just did my job and what was expected of me. We took the fight to the enemy and won, which felt good.”

L/Cpl Reader is engaged to a chef who is with the Royal Logistic Corps and is attached to his battalion.

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said: “L/Cpl Readers’ continuous gallantry, personal example and offensive spirit in the face of fierce enemy attacks have been exemplary throughout the tour.

“He has stepped into ambush killing areas, stormed insurgent firing positions and exposed himself to draw fire away from his comrades. He has consistently placed himself in grave danger to protect his comrades with scant regard for his own safety.

“His gallantry and selfless commitment have been astonishing.”

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