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‘Honor’ where honour’s due

America is to award the Congressional Medal of Honour, the equivalent of the Victoria Cross, to a British Special Boat Service (formerly Special Boat Squadron) commando who led the rescue of a CIA officer from an Afghan prison revolt.

It will be the first time the medal has been awarded to a living foreigner. The Queen will have to give permission for the SBS soldier to wear it.

The SBS senior NCO led a patrol of half-a-dozen SBS commandos who rescued a member of the CIA’s special activities section from the fort at Qala-i-Jangi near Mazar-i-Sharif, last November. The fort was holding 500 al-Qa’eda and Taliban prisoners, many of whom had not been searched and were still armed.

An exchange of fire developed into a full-scale revolt and two CIA officers who had been interrogating the prisoners were caught in the battle in which one was killed. The uprising went on for three days and the SBS commandos remained throughout, bringing down aerial fire to quell the revolt.

The battle was one of the most contentious episodes in the war last year with human rights groups raising concerns over air strikes against prisoners, some of them unarmed.

The eagerness of the Americans to recognise the courage of the NCO contrasts with suspicion within the regiment that two SAS soldiers being considered for VCs for an attack on the al-Qaeda cave complex will not get them.

Not by strength, by guile

8 comments to ‘Honor’ where honour’s due

  • One can only hope that Her Majesty will be more gracious about the granting of that Medal than the Canadian government has been about the United States wanting to award Bronze Stars to 4 Canadian snipers who protected American troops in Afghanistan.

  • Jeffersonian

    Wow…the Congressional Medal. That’s not an easy thing to get and many, many who receive it do so posthumously. The story isn’t long on particulars, but the CMH is awarded only for the most extreme heroism and fearlessness. This fellow must indeed be exceptional.

    A tip of the hat and a vow to buy a pint for the unnamed chap should I ever encounter him. America sends its thanks, as do I. We over here all know that you’re in good hands when a Son of Albion guards your back.

  • Yes, if the US Brass want to give The Big One to a foreign soldier, for whom the political benefit in the USA for doing so will be very minor indeed, then truly this bloke must have done something pretty damn remarkable.

    I hope the whole and unexpurgated story comes out one day.

  • I’m not sure this report is true. By current law the Medal of Honor (not the Congressional Medal of Honor) is available only for soldiers, sailors, marines, airment and coastgaurdsmen for heroics in the face of an enemy. Granted, foriegn servicemen have been awarded the ‘service crosses’ (Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross and Air Force Cross), but txcept for the unkowns no foriegn servicemen have been awarded the Medal of Honor.

    FWIW, though American civilians are no longer elligible for the award, six of them have earned it.

  • I’ve been in contact with the Army’s Personel Command, which has as part of their responsibility, awards and decorations. They have denied it.

  • James Wolf: We are looking into it via various routes and will report what we find.

  • According to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, this rumor hsa been floating around for a year.

    To give you an idea how seriously the US Armed forces take the Medal of Honor, two have been awarded for actions since the end of Vietnam. Both were posthumous.

    Of the next level awards, the ‘Service Crosses’ nine have been awarded for post-Vietnam actions. Four are navy crosses (two posthumous) and five were Air Force Crosses (two of those were posthumous and both for actions in Afghanistan). One DSC has been authorized, but not awarded yet.

  • Here’s a new Anglosphere site anyone can join: