Soldier, 19, to receive top bravery honour

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The Independent Online

A teenage soldier from Somerset who led a daring night raid in southern Afghanistan to capture a Taliban leader responsible for many British deaths is to receive a top honour, it has been announced.

Rifleman Reece Terry, of the 4th Battalion The Rifles (4 Rifles), is to receive the Queen's Gallantry Medal for Bravery.

The 19-year-old, from Taunton, was only seven days into his first sixth-month tour when he was selected to be the lead man checking for Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) during an operation in Helmand Province.

Rifleman Terry was operating from a base to the north of Sangin District - a densely vegetated area with with a very high threat of IEDs. So dangerous was the area that in the previous four months, patrols had not ventured further than 800 metres from the base and no patrols had been carried out at night.

During the mission in October last year, Rifleman Terry had to lead a 100-strength force on a 2km trek through an area with a high concentration of IEDs. Armed only with a Vallon metal detector and night vision goggles, he led the patrol over seven irrigation ditches, through two belts of disused compounds and across fields where the maize was more than 12ft high - painfully aware of the danger of trip-wire IEDs.

On top of all this, the area was littered with shrapnel and spent ammunition, which gave misleading readings on the Rifleman's detector. Using his skill and intuition on the tortuous three-hour journey, he led the force safely and undetected to the target location.

He then waited a further three hours with his platoon while the special forces soldiers captured the Taliban leader and six others, as well as destroying a large number of weapons and IED parts.

His citation reads: "What Terry achieved on that night was unimaginable prior to the event and set the tone for the remainder of the tour by breaking down myths about movement at night through IED belts, shifting the boundaries of the possible in the minds of fellow Riflemen."

The Queen's Gallantry Medal (QGM) is awarded to military personnel for those acts for which military honours would not normally be granted, such as acts of exemplary bravery not in the presence of the enemy.