Military Award Winners: The British Medic and the US Marine.
Private Michelle Norris. MC (RAMC).
At the age of 18 Private Michelle Norris was awarded the Military Cross for actions in Iraq in June of 2006. She was the very first woman to be given the award. Having recently finished training as a combat medical technician, Private Norris was posted to Iraq. She was to act as a company medic, travelling with troops on operations, where she would be able to provide immediate first aid in the case of injuries or woundings. Private Norris was attached to C Company, 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment. Part of The Queen's Royal Hussar's Battlegroup.
On the 10/11 of June the company started a search operation in the town of Al Amarah in southern Iraq. During this operation a major firefight developed. Private Norris was travelling in a Warrior AFV. (Armoured Fighting Vehicle). Another Warrior had become disabled and the vehicle in which Private Norris was travelling went to assist. As the vehicle diverted it came under heavy fire, the commander Colour Sergeant Ian Page, was critically wounded in the face whilst mounted in the turret. Private Norris could not access the turret from within, she jumped from the vehicle and climbed on top to provide emergency aid to the wounded commander.
Calm and courageous.
During this time Private Norris was under constant fire from the same sniper that had shot the commander. The gunner was still in the Warrior and was able to pull her into the turret with the commander. From this position they were able to lower the injured man down into the vehicle. She was then able to administer first aid assistance. On reaching an evacuation site the commander was airlifted to safety by, Major William Chesarek.
Her Citation reads: ''Despite the very real risks from sniper fire, heavy small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenade, she deliberately ignored the danger to her own life in order to administer life-saving first aid to the commander of the vehicle''
Major William Chesarek. DFC. United State Marine Corps.
Major Chesarek was on exchange with the Fleet Air Arm's 847 Naval Air Squadron. He was in his Lynx helicopter providing spotting and radio relay services to the troops below. As the Warrior vehicle containing the injured commander arrived at the evacuation point, Major Chesarek realised there was a serious casualty on the ground. He immediatly landed his helicopter and loaded the injured commander on board. For his actions Major Chesarek was awarded the DFC. (Distinguished Flying Cross) This made him the first US serviceman to receive this award since the Second World War. His Citation reads: ''Chesarek elected to fly low over the area in an attempt to distract the crowd and if possible to engage the insurgents. He opted to provide bold, harrasing very low level flight over the area in an attempt to disperse the crowd''
Both Private Norris and Major Chesarek were presented with their awards on March 21st 2007. They were presented at Buckingham Palace, by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
british and american battle honours
© 2012 Graham Lee