Body armour saves British soldier from Taliban bullet

A British soldier’s body armour saved him from a Tal­iban gun­shot dur­ing a fierce fire fight in Hel­mand province recent­ly, enabling him to shrug off the impact and car­ry on with the mis­sion.

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Troop­er Daniel Grif­fiths with the bul­let and the body armour which stopped its path [Pic­ture: Sergeant Mark Nes­bit, Crown Copyright/MOD 2012]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

Brave Troop­er Daniel Grif­fiths, from 1st The Queen’s Dra­goon Guards (QDG), was shot by insur­gents while on Oper­a­tion EAGLE’S SHADOW, a two-day oper­a­tion tar­get­ing known insur­gent ‘safe havens’ on the edge of the Nad ‘Ali dis­trict.

The operation’s mis­sion was to dis­rupt insur­gents’ abil­i­ty to attack or lay impro­vised explo­sive devices against Afghan secu­ri­ty forces and sol­diers from the Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force.

23-year-old Troop­er Grif­fiths, from Wrex­ham, had been work­ing to iden­ti­fy an insur­gent fir­ing point after anoth­er part of his patrol came under fire from AK-47 assault rifles. But, as he moved to try to see where the insur­gents were, anoth­er group opened fire from anoth­er loca­tion, pin­ning Troop­er Grif­fiths and two more sol­diers under fire. He said:

“I was at the front or ‘point’, and as we turned the cor­ner of the com­pounds we were opened up on from anoth­er fir­ing point. We all hit the deck as the rounds pinged all around us.”

As British sol­diers returned fire Troop­er Grif­fiths moved for cov­er — and was hit in the back by a round, square in the mid­dle of his body armour plate. He con­tin­ued:

“It felt like a sledge­ham­mer blow and knocked me to the ground. I kept head­ing for cov­er; I knew I just need­ed to keep going before doing any­thing else.

“Once in cov­er my sec­tion sec­ond-in-com­mand checked me for wounds and gave me the all clear. I felt angry and want­ed to get back into the fight, but the guys calmed me down and we got back into for­ma­tion to patrol.

“When we got to a safe com­pound I checked my body armour and found the bul­let had gone through my day-sack and into my back plate. I was pret­ty relieved, and felt a bit light-head­ed.”

Troop­er Grif­fiths ignored the bul­let and brave­ly car­ried on with the mis­sion, lat­er escort­ing insur­gent detainees to a heli­copter and swap­ping his dam­aged plate for a new one before car­ry­ing on with the mis­sion.

His patrol saw action again, wound­ing an insur­gent rifle­man who was giv­en first aid before being tak­en to Camp Bas­tion for med­ical treat­ment.

Troop­er Grif­fiths said:

“When the heli­copter arrived it had a new plate for me. I swapped it over and was ready to crack on. I felt a bit ner­vous but I knew I was all right with the rest of my sec­tion behind me and a new armour plate in.

“At the end of the day we flew back to Camp Bas­tion. I knew I was a lucky man and took some time to myself to think of my wife and kids back home.”

The Brigade Recon­nais­sance Force (BRF) is Task Force Helmand’s eyes and ears across the area of oper­a­tions, and is also manned by sol­diers from the QDG (also known as the Welsh Cav­al­ry), 1st Bat­tal­ion The York­shire Reg­i­ment and oth­er units.

Major Justin Sten­house, QDG, Offi­cer Com­mand­ing the BRF, said:

“Troop­er Grif­fiths is yet anoth­er exam­ple of the true brav­ery and deter­mi­na­tion dis­played day-by-day by sol­diers oper­at­ing in Afghanistan. This action not only demon­strates indi­vid­ual courage and team­work but is also tes­ta­ment to the high-qual­i­ty equip­ment issued to those on oper­a­tions.”

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK

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