The story is from Breitbart:
A British paratrooper has become the first living soldier to receive the most prestigious military award in Britain and the Commonwealth for the Afghanistan war, and the second in his family, after he repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire to help a fallen comrade, and bring machine gun fire down on his enemy.
While many in the UK yesterday enjoyed the ‘Brit’ music awards, Lance Corporal (L/Cpl) Joshua Leakey was received an award of an entirely different kind today as he had a Victoria Cross pinned on his chest by the Chief of the General Staff. At the ceremony, a senior officer read from his citation: “Drawing the majority of the enemy fire, with rounds splashing around him, L/Cpl Leakey overcame his fatigue to re-site the gun and return fire. This proved to be the turning point.
“Inspired by his actions, and with a heavy weight of fire now at their disposal, the force began to fight back with renewed ferocity. Displaying gritty leadership well above that expected of his rank L/Cpl Leakey’s actions single-handedly regained the initiative and prevented considerable loss of life.”
L/Cpl Leakey, a member of the elite Paratrooper regiment first broke cover to give first aid to a fallen United States Marine, and continued to expose himself to fire as he recovered and fired from two machine guns, running up and down a hill in the high heat of the Afghan summer. Although he ran through machine gun fire and exploding grenades three times, he survived and was able to engage 20 Taliban fighters and save the life of the American officer.
Despite his selfless heroism and exceptional rarity of the award, Leakey modestly brushed off the ceremony, remarking that it was “just another day in the office”. Speaking to journalists after the ceremony, he said: “I am here, I have got all my limbs, my heath, friends and family. This awards is brilliant but it’s something I am accepting on behalf of my regiment and battalion, of which I am so proud.
“My big hope is that I can go back on Monday morning and say, ‘sorry I was away, what’s next?’ I am not going to let this define me. It was just another day at the office. It was a memorable patrol but that’s what happened.
“The job of the Parachute regiment is to take the fight to the enemy and that’s what we had to do on that day.”
His cousin won the same medal in World War II – posthumously.
The Victoria Cross is like our Medal of Honor – the highest award there is:
I decided to look it up to see why it is awarded:
The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest military decoration awarded for valour “in the face of the enemy”. It takes precedence over all other orders, decorations and medals. It may be awarded to a person of any rank in any service and civilians under military command, and is presented to the recipient by the British monarch during an investiture held at Buckingham Palace. It is the joint highest award for bravery in the United Kingdom with the George Cross, which is the equivalent honour for valour not in the face of the enemy.
The word “valor” means:
boldness or determination in facing great danger, especially in battle; heroic courage; bravery:
I got this story from Mark Steyn, and he had a sobering comment on it:
I would like to think he was “a normal bloke”. But I worry these days that your “normal bloke” is fretting about micro-agressions in the safe space at Wesleyan University. The gulf between those who fight and those they fight for has never seemed wider.
Just think of what the UK is like today, and compare and contrast that with this man.
You can read about some of the other men who have been awarded the Victoria Cross here.