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The Millies have become a key fixture of the military calendar, offering the British public the chance to pay tribute to the men and women of our Armed Forces and highlighting specific brave deeds.
As nominations for this year’s ceremony close on 9 September 2013, we take a look at some of last year’s winners.
Sergeant Roy Geddes
Sergeant Roy Geddes of the RAF Regiment’s No 5 Force Protection Wing was presented with the Most Outstanding Airman Award at last year’s Millies.
On 14 September 2012, Sergeant Geddes was the Camp Bastion Quick Reaction Force (QRF) Commander in Afghanistan. At 10pm a 15-man insurgent team conducted an exceptionally well planned and resourced attack. The ensuing battle lasted until first light and left 2 US personnel dead and 8 UK personnel wounded.
Alerted by numerous explosions and gunfire erupting on the north eastern side of the airfield, Sergeant Geddes instantly responded, manoeuvring his fighting vehicles into an initially confusing and complex battlespace. Immediately, the QRF came under ferocious insurgent fire, which resulted in the disabling of 2 armoured fighting vehicles and 5 casualties, 3 of which were of a serious nature.
During this brutal onslaught, Sergeant Geddes received a fragmentation injury to his knee yet continued to lead his men in a rapidly deteriorating situation. Under punishing fire Sergeant Geddes continued to fight the battle whilst co-ordinating the extraction of his injured men.
His resolve was absolute and he manoeuvred his reduced manpower to win the fire fight. Sergeant Geddes’ aggressive response and swift, decisive action ensured the casualties were extracted to safety. Selflessly ignoring his own injuries he insisted on leading his troops in the assault.
Sergeant Geddes was at the forefront of the action, pressing home the attack which resulted in 5 insurgents being killed. Immediately, he regrouped his men to continue to fight through the enemy positions to reach the north of the airfield.
It was not until first light on 15 September when the airfield was secure that Sergeant Geddes was extracted to receive medical attention and, even then, only because his squadron commander gave him a direct order.
Private Simon Sunderland
Collecting the Best Reservist Award at the ceremony last year was Private Simon Sunderland of B Company, 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment.
Army reservist Private Sunderland deployed on Operation Herrick 15 as a rifleman and horn (metal detector) operator in 6 Platoon of B Company.
As a horn operator, Private Sunderland was personally responsible for clearing routes of improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan. This consistently put him first into harm’s way and he completed more than 100 patrols during the tour.
On 13 December 2011, insurgents were positively identified by base surveillance systems patrolling the village of Llara Kalay. Private Sunderland’s patrol was tasked at short notice to deal with this threat and, with Private Sunderland in the lead, was contacted by small arms fire, medium machine guns and rifle-launched grenades from 150 metres away.
The weight of the fire was very heavy and accurate; rounds were landing amongst the feet of the troops on the road and 4 men, including Private Sunderland, were effectively pinned down with no form of cover. Private Sunderland then reacted rapidly by putting himself in harm’s way to suppress the enemy position. This allowed his 3 comrades to crawl into the safety of a nearby doorway.
Private Sunderland was always first to volunteer for dangerous tasks and he thrived under operational pressure. His magnificent personal example and devotion to duty were very worthy of recognition.
Nominations for the 2013 Millies will only be accepted for actions occurring in the period 1 September 2012 to 31 August 2013 and can be made via The Sun’s website at www.thesun.co.uk/millies