Gallantry Cross awarded
Wellington-born Rifleman James McKie, 29, a member of the British Forces, has been presented with the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross at Buckingham Palace. McKie was providing security for a new patrol base when a live Taliban grenade landed by him at his commander’s feet. He grabbed it and threw it back at his attackers, saving his comrades from serious injury and possible death in Afghanistan in March. McKie said the media attention had taken up a lot of his time and he could now concentrate on training with his platoon for a return to Afghanistan in 212. “I can’t wait, yeah I’m excited. The operational campaign and being on operations, that’s why I came over to the British army and I know everything I do over there is important.” He was sad to hear about fellow Wellingtonian and British Forces member Jack Howard, 23, who was shot and killed during a US air strike in Helmand province, Afghanistan on December 5.