Medics honoured for Afghanistan service

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The Duchess of Cornwall presented medals to Royal Navy medical personnel for their service in Afghanistan.

Acting in her role as Commodore in Chief, Royal Naval Medical Services, Camilla arrived by helicopter to inspect a parade of the medics at their base at HMS Excellent, Whale Island, Portsmouth.

After taking the salute from 200 Royal Navy and Royal Marine medical personnel as well as 18 Army and RAF personnel and three civilians, she inspected the band of the Royal Marines Commando Training Centre.

The band members were also recently presented with their operational medals having taken up the role of stretcher bearers in Afghanistan last summer.

Following a prayer led by the chaplain, Camilla went to the wardroom where she met service personnel and their families.

Air Engineering Technician Michelle Ping, who won the Sun Military (Milly) award for best reservist, was among those receiving a medal.

The 38-year-old, from Sheffield, South Yorkshire, went to Afghanistan using her civilian skills as a paramedic for the Hazardous Area Response Team (Hart) in Leeds.

During her service, she helped save the life of Highlander Craig Paterson who was shot in the head as he provided cover to his company from snipers.

AET Ping described how she climbed on top of him to prevent him from being shot again before pushing him off the single-storey rooftop into the arms of her colleagues who carried him half a mile to the helicopter landing pad.

She said: “I didn’t worry about myself, Craig was the most important person to me.

“It’s ironic but it’s his birthday today while I’m receiving my medal, I guess he wouldn’t be celebrating if I hadn’t been there to help.”

Leading Naval Nurse Sarah Morris, 27, from Melksham, Wiltshire, who also received her medal yesterday, said: “It’s great to be back but I want to go again.

“It’s a really great atmosphere, you feel that you have lots of support to get through everything.”