AN Army medic from Taunton who risked his life to save a friend shot through the neck by a Taliban sniper in Afghanistan has won the Military Cross.
LCpl Wes Masters - a private in the Royal Army Medical Corps at the time of last July’s incident - braved enemy fire to run 400 metres to aid seriously wounded colleague LCpl Simon Moloney.
Wes dodged enemy bullets to reach Simon, who had been flung from the compound roof by the force of the shot, which just missed vital arteries.
The two men came under insurgent grenade fire, with rounds landing just four metres away.
Wes said: “I’d just come from the compound where Si had been shot and had awareness of where the firing points were so I just ran back there.
“I was trying to pace myself despite the bullets kicking up dust and cracking the air around me as with all my kit on, I didn’t want to run out of steam and end up an easy target.”
Wes fashioned improvised bandaging from his medical kit to deal with Simon’s injury.
Wes said: “You aren’t supposed to survive that sort of bullet wound. The training we have for neck injuries is either to apply pressure to stop bleeding or create an airway.
“Due to the nature of Si’s wound, I needed to fashion a bandage that would stop bleeding and infection but not block Si’s airway, so I cut the bandaging into squares, got him to hold the tape to his neck and fastened it loosely enough not to obstruct his airway but tight enough to stop the bleeding.”
The pair then rejoined the fight for another 90 minutes before the troop were rescued by a US helicopter.
Simon, who was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for his bravery in fighting on after cheating death, said: “I owe him my life. Without his initiative and quick-thinking, and the fact he ran 400-metres under enemy fire to get to me, I’d have been dead within five minutes.
“I have complete trust in him and he knows he can trust me. We have spent every single day since then together. And we both have the courage and professionalism of everyone who fought with us that day to thank as otherwise we’d never have survived.”