Scotland

Sgt Steven Leslie awarded Mention in Despatches for Afghan bravery

  • 30 September 2012
  • From the section Scotland
Sgt Steven Leslie
Sgt Steven Leslie braved enemy fire to ensure all his unit made it to safety

A Scottish Army sergeant who risked his life to save two soldiers stranded in an enemy attack has been awarded a Mention in Despatches.

Sgt Steven Leslie, of the Black Watch, avoided machine gun fire and grenades in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

The 30-year-old helped to lead his unit through open ground and provided cover for the two men to get to safety.

He was one of more than 100 service personnel honoured in the latest Ministry of Defence Operational Awards.

Sgt Leslie's award is one of the oldest forms of Army recognition. His name appears in an official report sent to the high command.

'Grab them'

The MoD said insurgents had been firing on the patrol in Nad-e Ali district and Sgt Leslie directed machine gunners to cover them until they reached their check point 300m away.

The enemy was attacking from five different positions when Sgt Leslie spotted the two isolated men and covered 150m of open ground to reach them.

He grabbed the soldiers and led them out of danger to the check point, still under fire.

"You don't think about it at the time, you just know you have to go and grab them," Sgt Leslie said.

"If it wasn't me then it would have been someone else - I just took the instant to run out and get them. You don't have time to reflect really."

Sgt Leslie was also awarded a Queens Commendation for Bravery in 2004 for going to the aid of soldiers injured by an improvised explosive device in Iraq.

He added: "You don't even realise there are rounds landing around you. Everyone has had rounds landing at their feet over there. It's not just me.

"You just do what you need to do and get out. Anyone would have done what I did, just as I would do it again."

The enemy continued to attack the unit for the next half hour and the patrol had to continue fighting before they could break away to make for their command post.

Sgt Leslie's citation states: "Sergeant Leslie's exemplary gallantry and leadership throughout a complex and dangerous withdrawal kept his young soldiers alive but he thought little of his own life.

"Through his selfless bravery, and putting the safety of his men before his own, Sergeant Leslie is worthy of national recognition."

The awards handed out by the MoD on Friday recognised service on operations in Afghanistan and national operations between 1 October 2011 and 30 March 2012.

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