For saving the life of a US Marine, Briton Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey became the first living soldier to win the Victoria Cross for his actions in Afghanistan.
Captain Brandon Bocian was wounded after coming under enemy fire in Helmand province by the Taliban during his second tour.
Leakey, 27, ran through a barrage of enemy rocket-propelled grenades and machine gunfire three times to rescue a fellow soldier.
Captain Bocian said Leakey’s decision to leave his position to assist him speaks to his character and courage. He was overjoyed to hear he was formally recognized for his actions.
Capt. Bocian, a Marine since 2009, is an infantry officer teaching leadership and combat skills to entry-level Marine officers. He was on his second tour and midway through when he joined for the first time a combined operation with United Kingdom forces, including 1 Para.
Bocian explained he was part of the command section on a hill watching the combined US/UK clearing operation.
They started receiving enemy fire, and they moved to a different position. In the process, enemy fire increased so they sought shelter behind the terrain and he began directing fire onto the Taliban. That’s when he was wounded.
As he lay on the ground and in severe pain, Leakey without regard for his own safety ran to Bocian even though he was being attacked by 20 insurgents.
Leakey arrived at his position and immediately started treating the injury, explained Bocian.
With the bleeding managed, Leaky helped him to a hastily prepared landing zone and stayed with him until he was on the medical evacuation helicopter.
That was the final time he saw him.
Leakey is the first living soldier to be recognized with the VC, the highest military decoration for valor, in a decade and only the second since 1969.
Leakey, who joined 1 Para 12 years ago, has done three tours in Afghanistan, said he was deeply touched but played down his bravery. The only thing he was extremely scared of was dishonoring his cap badge he said.
Ever so humble, he said he was just a normal man. He happens to be in the Parachute Regiment and on that specific day he was at that location, Mail Online reported.
He emphasized the award would be worn in support of everyone in the battalion and regiment, he said.
According to the official citation, Leakey disregarded his safety as the soldiers were attacked by approximately 20 insurgents. He displayed determined leadership expected of someone higher in rank.