A Royal Marine was today hailed a hero after he carried a wounded Afghan soldier to safety despite being shot twice – one bullet glanced off his helmet – and riddled with shrapnel.
Lieutenant Jack Anrude, 25, was leading a foot patrol in the Sangin district of Afghanistan when a lone Taliban gunman opened fire with his AK47.
The Afghan National Army soldier in front of Lt Anrude was hit five times in the legs while he was shot in the arm and came within millimeters of death when a bullet struck the rim of his helmet.
But despite his injuries, which included severe shrapnel wounds to his legs, Lt Anrude saved the life of the wounded soldier by carrying him to a hilltop helicopter extraction point.
Lt Anrude, who serves with 40 Commando, is now in line to receive official recognition for his act of bravery, which he describes as ”quite exhilarating”.
He said: ”I was shot in the right arm and received fragmentation injuries to my legs, as well as being hit in the head – thankfully my helmet saved me.
”Initially, when the adrenaline was pumping, it was quite exhilarating. It was only after I calmed down that my arm started hurting.
”I was too busy concentrating on the incident and getting my lads out alive to give my injury much thought.
”It was only afterwards, on reflection, that I realised how dangerous the situation was and that I was actually quite scared.
”I know for a fact that if I’d not been wearing my personal protective equipment I would certainly not be alive today.
”Without trying to sound too clichéd I didn’t feel scared at the time, I didn’t have time for that, as things were happening so quickly – the training just kicked in.”
Lt Anrude, who is based in Taunton, Somerset, with Royal Marine 40 Commando, was deployed to Afghanistan in May this year.
On June 20 his patrol was approaching a mosque in the Sangin district of Helmand Province, Afghanistan, when they sensed ”something suspicious”.
Just seconds later a Taliban insurgent jumped out from behind a gate 15m away and fired 30 AK47 rounds at Lt Anrude and his patrol.
He was shot in the arm, head and took shrapnel wounds to his legs but ignored the injuries to tend to an injured Afghan comrade.
For four-and-a-half hours Lt Anrude oversaw the rescue operation before personally carrying the wounded man up a hill to a helicopter.
His own wounds were not properly tended until he arrived back at the field hospital in Camp Bastion.
He added: ”I was very lucky. It was quite a surreal experience. I didn’t know I’d been shot in the arm. My legs hurt a bit but my main priority was to get the casualty out.”
Lt Col Paul James, the commanding officer of 40 Commando, has praised Lt Anrude for his extraordinary bravery.
He said: ”Jack Anrude was hit in the arm, in the head and legs yet he still carried on commanding his troops.
”He personally evacuated the Afghan soldier by carrying him up a hill. It was an extraordinary act of courage and he did all that while he was wounded.”