News story

'Bullet magnet' praises body armour for twice saving his life in establishing stability in Afghanistan

Gunner Carl Jordan has twice been shot in the line of duty, and both times would almost certainly have been killed by the insurgents' rounds had he not been wearing the British forces' latest issue Osprey body armour.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
Gunner Carl Jordan holds up an armour plate

Gunner Carl Jordan holds up an armour plate, the type of which is incorporated within the British forces' Osprey personal body armour and has twice saved his life from enemy bullets [Picture: Sergeant Rupert Frere, Crown Copyright/MOD 2010]

The young soldier, who is on his third tour of Afghanistan’s Helmand province, is really putting the life-saving qualities of the new British body armour to the test, and has earned the nickname ‘bullet magnet’.

In two separate instances Gunner Jordan received gunshots to the body, once to his front and once to his side - but on both occasions he walked away unscathed as his armour did the job for which it was designed and prevented the rounds from causing him harm.

The first incident occurred while Gunner Jordan was manning the defensive sangars (observation posts) protecting his patrol base. While monitoring an ongoing fire fight, Gunner Jordan felt a kick to his front as part of his body armour was ripped off.

He remembers using his radio to tell the operations room, where the co-ordination of a battle takes place, “I think I’ve been shot”, but after being checked out by the medic and having his damaged body armour replaced he was passed fit and carried on the rest of his shift in his sangar.

The second occurrence happened whilst Gunner Jordan, a member of 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, was deployed on the ground in support of the opening of a new police station. On noticing that atmospherics had changed, and observing a build up of suspicious figures in the distance, Gunner Jordan moved away from his support vehicle in order to take a bearing and send a report back to the ops room.

It was at this point that a large gun battle began, with the enemy firing at Gunner Jordan and his colleagues from a number of different positions with a variety of weapon types. In the ensuing battle, Gunner Jordan felt a kick to his side, which he took to be his driver trying to get his attention. The Coyote vehicle in which Gunner Jordan was travelling was riddled with bullet holes but Gunner Jordan, despite having taken a bullet, remained unscathed.

Gunner Jordan commented:

On returning to the patrol base I discovered the gunshot damage to the side plate of my body armour. The situation on the ground meant that there was no time to think about what had happened. I had a quick cigarette, even though I have actually given up, changed my side plates and deployed back out onto the ground again.

I felt we needed to get back out there to show presence to the locals and insurgents alike - to show that we were not defeated and not fazed - and I wanted to be part of that.

In the UK, Gunner Jordan is based in the army garrison town of Colchester. Whilst deployed in Afghanistan he works as part of a Fire Support Team with The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, Battle Group in the Lashkar Gah region of southern Helmand.

The Fire Support Team’s job is to co-ordinate and control the vast array of assets now available to commanders on the modern front line. This critical role is important in co-ordinating the fire support and surveillance assets that are proving battle-winners on the front line in southern Helmand.

As part of his job, Gunner Jordan routinely works with and helps co-ordinate assets that include mortars, artillery, satellite-guided rockets, Apache attack helicopters and fast jets; he also operates much of the state-of-the-art surveillance equipment currently being employed in Afghanistan.

Gunner Jordan commented on his good fortune, saying:

I’m beginning to get a bit of a reputation; some of the lads call me ‘The Cat’ but say I’ve only seven lives left now. Others have called me James Bond, saying I only live twice! I’m just happy no-one was more seriously injured in these incidents than was the case. Osprey is a great piece of kit and it’s very likely that I owe my life to it.

Published 5 January 2011