Duo honoured for courage under fire and sea rescue
TWO local members of our Armed Forces have revived medals for their bravery.
Captain Owen Davis, a 25-year-old marine from Pontardawe, who risked his life by leading his team in a fierce firefight in an Afghan village littered with roadside bombs and fought on after diving over a wall backwards to dodge a grenade, has been given a Conspicuous Gallantry Cross.
While Flight Lieutenant Christian Wilkins, aged 28, of Port Talbot, has been awarded the Air Force Cross for his part in a daring rescue attempt 50 nautical miles off Milford Haven.
In his citation Davis, who is now training to become a doctor, was commended for his gallant leadership.
It said: "Without thought to his own safety and well outside the range of friendly protection, Davis pushed himself into the lead pair and entered into the pointman.
"As he did the Afghan beside him was hit with a burst of automatic fire from 20 metres, this was followed by a grenade that landed at his feet.
"Diving backwards over a wall, Davis narrowly escaped the deafening blast. Continuing the assault, Davis stepped into a narrow corridor where the enemy fire was raging at close range.
"Along with his patrol, Davis neutralised the threat before quickly evacuating one of the wounded patrolmen and resumed the charge, forcing a successful entry into the compound.
"This is just one example of Davis's exemplary gallant leadership during the tour."
Modest Davis, who served for five-and-a-half years before leaving the service a few days ago, said: "I was very very lucky and had some very good friends looking out for me.
"We had a few hairy moments when myself and others had some close calls but at no moment I thought this is it. I thought about getting the job done."
Wilkins, on the other hand, won his honour by piloting his RAF Sea King helicopter over a French fishing vessel, on March 21, this year in horrendous conditions as his female winchman, Sergeant Rachael Robinson, 37, made six attempts at landing on the vessel.
Robinson was awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal.
Wilkins citation reads: "The flying skill required undertaking this task was immense.
"And with only the sea as a reference, there was the ever present risk of colliding with the boat in such gusty conditions and heavy sea state."