How soldier survived Afghan ambush and roadside bomb

20/07/10

Sergeant Major Dean Fraser

A sergeant major in the British army says he was "lucky" after surviving a roadside bomb and an ambush while on patrol in Afghanistan.

Dean Fraser was on an 11-day operation in the Nad-e Ali district of Helmand Province when his unit came under attack.

He says he was on foot patrol with soldiers from The Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland (1 Scots) and Afghan National Army (ANA) troops when an improvised explosive device (IED) at the side of the road went off.

Sgt Maj Fraser, 35, from Edinburgh, says he was thrown through the air by the force of the blast.

He said: "One minute I am on my feet and the next thing I know I am flying through the air then on the ground.

"I got up and we came under small arms fire. We had two casualties and we had to evacuate to a helicopter landing site."

Shrapnel wounds

The patrol was on a track around four miles south of their base Check Point Kamyab earlier this month when they were hit by the IED.

The father-of-two says he and his men then came under attack from insurgents as they were trying to evacuate soldiers injured by the IED.

After we went back to the compound to bed down for the night I started thinking and reflecting about what happened. It certainly opened my eyes and I was more aware
Sergeant Major Dean Fraser

He says his first thought was to get his men out of the area by helicopter.

As they waited for transport to arrive, Sgt Maj Fraser says his patrol was then attacked for a second time.

"As we were pushing forward to the landing site we came under attack again from at least three or four firing positions," he said.

"I think they had been aiming for the helicopter."

The British troops managed to escape and Sgt Maj Fraser was back on patrol the next day.

Two ANA soldiers received shrapnel wounds and were flown to the medical facility at Camp Bastion for treatment.

1 Scots on patrol
Image caption Troops from 1 Scots carry out operations and daily patrols in the area

"I was very lucky," admitted Sgt Maj Fraser. "It was only metres away from me and I hate to say it but the man in front of me took most of the blast.

"I'm told both of them are making a good recovery and we expect them back here sometime soon."

In 16 years of service, he has been to Iraq and Northern Ireland but said nothing had ever happened to him like the attack in Afghanistan.

But he says he managed to stay calm under fire.

"The training does pay off and you just react instinctively," he said.

"After we went back to the compound to bed down for the night I started thinking and reflecting about what happened.

"It certainly opened my eyes and I was more aware."