BRAVERY MEDAL FOR GURKHA WHO FOUGHT OFF 30 TALIBAN IN AMBUSH
Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 2, 2011
A HERO who took on Taliban attackers under overwhelming odds believing he was about to be killed yesterday received one of the highest military honours for bravery.
Corporal Dipprasad Pun was presented with the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross by the Queen for his part in seeing off 30 heavily armed insurgents.
His award is second only to the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest honour for bravery in the face of the enemy.
Cpl Pun, 31, was spurred on by the belief he was going to die and so had nothing to lose when he took on the attackers who overran his checkpoint in Afghanistan.
Cpl Pun received one of the highest medals for bravery from the Queen
The NCO from 1st Battalion, Royal Gurkha Rifles, fired more than 400 rounds, launched 17 grenades and detonated a mine to thwart the Taliban assault on his position near Babaji in Helmand Province last September.
After exhausting all his ammunition, he used the tripod of his machine gun to beat off a militant who was climbing the walls of the compound, shouting as he did so the Nepali threat “marchu talai” – “I will kill you.”
Cpl Pun, whose father and grandfather also served in the Gurkhas, said: “At the time I wasn’t worried. There wasn’t any choice but to fight. The Taliban were all around the checkpoint and I was alone.
“I had so many of them around me that I thought I was definitely going to die, so I thought I’d kill as many of them as I could before they killed me.”
Cpl Pun, originally from the village of Bima in Nepal, lives in Ashford, Kent, with his wife.
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An acting sergeant during his Afghan deployment, he was on sentry duty when he heard a clinking noise and found two Taliban digging a trench to lay a bomb at the checkpoint’s front gate.
The insurgents opened fire from all sides, destroying the sentry position where Cpl Pun had been on duty minutes before.
Defending the base from the roof, he remained under continuous attack from rocket-propelled grenades and rifle fire for more than 15 minutes. When one insurgent tried to climb up to his position, Cpl Pun tried to shoot him but his rifle failed, so he seized the metal tripod of his machine gun and threw it at the approaching militant.
When the heroic Gurkha had used up all his ammunition he set off a Claymore mine. The only weapon he did not use was the traditional Gurkha kukri knife, which he did not have with him at the time.
His medal citation read: “Cpl Pun could never know how many enemies were attempting to overcome his position, but he sought them out from all angles.”
Major General Nicholas Carter, commander in southern Afghanistan during Cpl Pun’s deployment, praised him and other soldiers decorated yesterday. The General, who received the Distinguished Service Order for his leadership, said: “The Conspicuous Gallantry Cross does not get handed out lightly. It was a most remarkable achievement.”
Corporal Mark Ward, 27, of the Mercian Regiment, was awarded the Military Cross for “inspirational leadership”. He was given the honour of presenting the FA Cup at last month’s final.
Private Daniel Hellings, 20, from Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, was awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal for uncovering four roadside bombs by hand after refusing an order to get out of danger.