Lance Corporal Denis Larubi, from 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (2 MERCIAN), was twice shot at by insurgents while on sentry duty at Checkpoint Langar in northern Nahr-e Saraj district, Helmand province.
The first shot struck ballistic glass in the guard tower right in front of his face, but did not penetrate the toughened window.
The next day he was shot at again, but this time the bullet ricocheted off his weapon and hit the shoulder of his body armour.
The insurgent shooter was spotted using deserted compounds to conceal his movements, but he was tracked by surveillance assets and was later targeted by a precision strike.
Lance Corporal Larubi, aged 30, known as ‘Rubes’ by his colleagues, lives with his partner and their daughter at the 2 MERCIAN barracks in Holywood, Belfast.
He said that the round that hit him threw him to the floor after it ricocheted off his weapon and hit the armour. He added:
I felt like the world had fallen from under me. One of the medics rushed up the tower to check on us and found me seated against the wall, pretty shaken, but fully aware of my surroundings.
I saw a splash of fluid and thought it was blood. But we found that the bullet had hit the handle of my sights that I had been looking through at the time, splintered off a shard of plastic, which pierced my drink container, which was where the fluid had come from. The bullet had then ricocheted and hit me on the left shoulder.
I could not have asked for more when it came to the support I received from the rest of the platoon, and thank God for decent equipment!
Private Wayne Bass, who was on guard duty with Lance Corporal Larubi when the shot was fired, said:
I swore that the fluid that hit me was Rubes’ blood so I immediately grabbed the medical kit to begin treatment. It was as if I was on autopilot. I was so relieved when I examined him and realised it was actually only water.
Platoon Commander Captain Andy Bell said:
Larubi is always cheerful and happy to help with everything, with a real laid-back attitude - he takes things in his stride. He is also a very experienced soldier, with this being his third tour of Afghanistan.
This was definitely a close shave, but he dealt with it in his usual laid-back style.
Lance Corporal Larubi was born in Uganda and has served with 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Worcesters and Foresters) since March 2006 as part of the Reconnaissance Platoon.