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Simon’s gallantry is mentioned in despatches

Sgt Smith_1A SOLDIER from Carmarthen, who ensured all 14 men in his patrol returned unhurt from three ambushes in the space of an hour has been awarded a Mention in Despatches.
Sergeant Simon Smith, aged 30, of 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh was just weeks away from returning home in the autumn of 2012 when he and his men came under attack.
Simon was leading his patrol through a dense maize field when it was ambushed from three positions. Despite the massive onslaught, the height of the crop made it difficult to spot their attackers and impossible to return fire without risking civilian casualties.
He said: “I got the all the guys into an irrigation ditch but the weight of fire was knocking us over. It was just shredding the vegetation; the only way I can explain it, is that it looked like an electric saw cutting wood right in front of your face.”
Simon led his patrol out of the attack but it was ambushed for a second time from no more than 50 metres away. Again, thick vegetation hampered the patrol so, realising they were facing up to ten well-armed enemy, Simon ordered his men into a compound.
He said: “Because it was such a confined space, it was really hard to work out where the insurgents were. It was confusing. I had 14 men with a lot of firepower but we couldn’t spot the enemy. The only times we could fire back was when they exposed their positions by firing on us.”
But it was then we were ambushed for a third time. Trapped in the open, Simon used grenades and small arms fire to pin the enemy down just 40 metres away, before leading his men to the cover of an irrigation ditch where he requested air support, finally ending the fight and allowing the patrol to return safely to their checkpoint.
Simon said: “We had been in Afghanistan five months and this was our first fire-fight, though we had dealt with a lot of IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices). So of the 14 I had with me on that patrol, for eight of them it was the first ever time they had come under fire. But they all did exactly what they should have done and that’s all down to the training we did before deploying.”
Simon explained how he was told about his honour: “I was called into the Commanding Officer’s office, I thought I was in trouble! It’s a good recognition for all of us who were on that patrol; we were a team.”
His girlfriend Clare and mum Gwenda are incredibly proud of him, Simon said: “They’ll be delighted. My mum will love it; she’s a big fan of the Armed Forces.”
Simon’s citation states: “Smith is a remarkable soldier who has been uniquely tested and performed in a remarkable manner.”