A SOLDIER has been praised for “extreme valour” after he continued firing at Taliban insurgents after being shot through the neck.
Lance Corporal Simon Moloney, 23, was on an isolated rooftop in Afghanistan when he was hit by a bullet, which missed vital arteries and his voicebox by millimetres.
L/Cpl Moloney has been awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, the second highest military honour.
His colleague Lance Corporal Wesley Masters, 25, an Army medic who raced across 300 metres of open ground while under heavy fire to treat his neck injury, was honoured with a Military Cross.
While he was being treated, L/Cpl Moloney returned to his position and fought for another 90 minutes in temperatures in excess of 40C.
An Army spokesman said: “Without his gallantry and skill in the ruthless suppression of the enemy, it is likely that his troop would have sustained multiple casualties.”
L/Cpl Moloney, of the Blues and Royals, said “I was still conscious. The two of us had to crack on. They (insurgents) were pushing quite hard so it was either maybe die or definitely die because they would have overrun us.
“As soon as Wes came I was completely at ease - I was quite happy then, that I was going to survive and that he had it in the bag.”
The pair was among 117 servicemen and women awarded operational honours.
They included Master aircrewman Robert Sunderland, 44, of Bradford, who was Mentioned in Despatches for “courage and airmanship of the highest order” after he remanned his Chinook’s guns to protect troops on the ground despite being hit in the groin by shrapnel.
He and pilot Flight Lieutenant Charles Lockyear, 34, who has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, rescued six stranded men who had been left behind when the helicopter had been damaged by a hail of Taliban bullets.
Master aircrewman Sunderland said: “Obviously there’s a fair bit of chaos going on down the back of the aircraft, the troops wanted to know what’s going on. We told them we were going back in to obviously extract the remaining troops.
“Then we landed and we managed to get the troops back on board the aircraft and extracted away to the hospital at Camp Bastion. We’ve not seen anything like that in my time in Afghanistan.”