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NEWS: British soldier awarded the Victoria Cross

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posted on Mar, 17 2005 @ 07:44 PM
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The Victoria Cross or the VC is the highest military award that can be offered by Great Britain. The fact that it has not being awarded in more then 20 years is testament to it's value. The Cross will be awarded to Private Johnson Beharry, who guided a convoy of vehicles through two separate enemy ambushes, the latter temporarily leaving him in a coma.
 



news.bbc.co.uk
A British soldier serving in Iraq who saved 30 members of his unit from an ambush has been awarded the first Victoria Cross for more than 20 years. Private Johnson Beharry, 25, was struck by enemy fire as he guided a convoy of Warrior fighting vehicles through the town of Al Amarah last May. Mr Beharry, still recovering from his injuries, said he was "speechless" when told he was winning the VC.

The award is the first of the medals to be awarded since posthumous VC given to Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Jones and Sergeant Ian John McKay during the Falklands conflict. It makes him the first living recipient of the VC - the highest award in the British and Commonwealth military - since 1965. The medals are made from the remains of a Russian cannon captured in the 1850s Crimean War.

The soldier was at the head of a five-vehicle convoy when it came under attack on 1 May 2004, and guided the column through a mile of enemy ground to drop off wounded comrades at great risk to his own safety, his citation said. Weeks later, his vehicle was hit by an RPG round. Despite a head wound, he managed to reverse his Warrior to safety. "Maybe I was brave, I don't know. I think anyone else could do the same thing," he said. Mr Beharry, who was born on the Caribbean island of Grenada, is one of only 13 recipients of the award still alive.



Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


The awarding of the Victoria Cross is an extraordinary event, requiring acts of courage and daring rarely seen. The fact that the recipient this time is alive is testament to his amazing feat, considering that many VC's are given to those who make the ultimate sacrifice.

Now, Given the unpopular nature of the Iraq war, he might not be viewed as "high" as some of the other VC recipients. Similarly, some will undoubtely view this as a cynical ploy to improve dwindling morale (both at home and the front) in a unpopular war.

Personally, i think he deserved the medal. After all, his bravery was responsible for saving lives as opposed to taking it.

Related News Links:
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posted on Mar, 17 2005 @ 08:18 PM
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That is a very high honor indeed, after 20 years that soldier must be very proud of that award.



posted on Mar, 17 2005 @ 09:26 PM
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Yep, the VC is a very high honor.

For example, a pilot was awarded a VC for downing the first German Zeppelin in WW1.

In other ways, it's good that it hasn't being given often. As that famous quote goes, "it's good that war is so terrible, least we grow fond of it". (At least, i think that's the exact quote)



posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 01:44 AM
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Indeed some would be so misguided as to attack the worthiness of a VC awarded in Iraq. In my opinion though, the fact that at the UK (and hopefully the US will follow suit) is recognizing the heroism of men who distinguish themselves in action is a good thing. Why should the feats of such men go unrecognized just because the war is unpopular?

I know medals are fairly cheap compared to what one must give of himself to merit one- it's not the medal that makes the hero- as I once heard it put, "thousands of medals for gallantry in combat were earned each day in vietnam. a few were even awarded." But as petty as it may seem, we don't need this to be a new manifestation of the Vietnam homecoming. What exactly is the message if a guy goes through hell and gets himself shot and what not and his service wont even award him a little scrap of ribbon with a hunk of metal on the end? To me the message would apparently be that even my own chain of command saw me not as a good soldier or a patriot, but just a particularly useful pawn.

My point is this: a lot of voices in the military have been saying that these days you get a bronze star, maybe a silver, if anything at all, for deeds that in days past would have merited the CMH. A little piece of "fruit salad" seems like a really small matter, and maybe it is, but the big rumor is that guys are coming back from Iraq in a real mess- perhaps in equal or greater numbers than occurred in Vietnam. Unpopular war or not, I think we need show some gratitude to these people and help them get some kind of grip on what they did over there and what the merit of it was. If we don't I think we'll end up with a higher number of them ending up as the used-up half broken breed of veterans that we became familiar with after Vietnam. Just one extremely miniscule part of that is to give credit where credit is due.

In so many words, I say well done to that man and every other who's been over there. Society has a debt to you that we'd best not foresake, and as just the first token of that, the medals are deserved.



posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 02:13 AM
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I agree that the soldiers in wars often end up as emotional wrecks once there return home. If soldiers of Iraq were to be treated like the soldiers of the Korean or the Vietnam wars, it would not be a good thing at all.

But the broader question still remains, how does the public support the soldier who fights for a cause that they (the public) vehemently oppose?

There is a huge contradiction here, we all like to support our soldiers, who are just human beings, but we also do not support the war they're in. This seems to be an enternal dilemma.



posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 03:33 AM
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There is only a dilemma in narrow minds who can't see beyond their own narrow view of the world. A soldier does a job irrespective of whether you agree with political reasons for him/her being there. People should acknowledge his bravery in the face of the battle he found himself in and his subsequent actions. He is the kind of soldier who would have done the same thing whether the bullets flying around his head were Iraqi, Nazi, Korean, Vietnamese etc etc THATS THE POINT narrow minds don't understand.



posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 03:44 AM
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I doubt anyone would have any beef with the soldier, the guy obviousely deserved the medal.

Ok, let me phrase the question this way;

Does supporting the soldier mean supporting the war?



posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 03:53 AM
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Originally posted by rapier28
But the broader question still remains, how does the public support the soldier who fights for a cause that they (the public) vehemently oppose?


Just my opinion, and I could easily be wrong, but I think the answer is disregard the fact that the situation occurred in war. If a guy sticks his neck out for the people around him, that's that. I don't care if the act is committed under fire from Iraqis in Baghdad or under fire from bank robbers in Los Angeles, or if the hero is in a uniform or not. I just look at it as hey, there's a guy who would die for his fellow man. Like the bible says- no greater love has any man than this: to give his life for his friends.


Now if somebody can't bring theirself to respect veterans because they disagreed with the war, I ask what would they have respected the veterans for doing?
I can see how the really vehement anti-war crowd might want to tell soldiers that they should have deserted instead of going to Iraq. I think those people need to stop and reflect on their own role in that war.
Those of us who did not fight the war still made it possible. We are the ones who make this system function and make it possible for America to do everything that it does. We pay our taxes, we obey the laws, we submit ourselves to the government.
If anybody disrespects soldiers who served in Iraq for refusing to face prison instead, and yet that person has not chosen to face prison for tax evasion and/or acts against the government, then that person is a hypocrite who has supported the war for cowardly and self-serving reasons, whereas the soldier's actions were quite the opposite.


Edit to add:
No supporting the soldier does not necessarily equate to supporting the war. As I alluded to in my first paragraph, respect is due for the fact that a person has taken heroic actions for the people around them. If a person shows great personal strength, great integrity, great courage, etc, it is the virtue, not the end, which matters.

[edit on 18-3-2005 by The Vagabond]



posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 03:58 AM
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Originally posted by The Vagabond
Just my opinion, and I could easily be wrong, but I think the answer is disregard the fact that the situation occurred in war. If a guy sticks his neck out for the people around him, that's that. I don't care if the act is committed under fire from Iraqis in Baghdad or under fire from bank robbers in Los Angeles, or if the hero is in a uniform or not. I just look at it as hey, there's a guy who would die for his fellow man. Like the bible says- no greater love has any man than this: to give his life for his friends.


I must say Vagabond, that was a very good answer to my question.

You have voted The Vagabond for the Way Above Top Secret award. You have used all of your votes for this month.



posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 04:22 AM
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Originally posted by rapier28

Now, Given the unpopular nature of the Iraq war, he might not be viewed as "high" as some of the other VC recipients. Similarly, some will undoubtely view this as a cynical ploy to improve dwindling morale (both at home and the front) in a unpopular war.

I think I can safely say the whole of the UK will be proud of this chap, and all his comrades, despite their views on the war. Unpopular as it is, I think the general consensus is that we're in it now, lets get the job done, and get our forces home.
Private Beharry will be held in just as high esteem as all other VC recpients



posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 06:29 AM
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This is the kind of courage that makes the english army the best in the world. The iraq aspect has nothing to do with the mans courage and professionalism. Fact is he saved his collegues lives -GOOD JOB SOLDIER!

- im sure the familys he saved from torture of losing a loved one are very grateful, also - hes a black soldier - sommit the army has been accused of being racist in the near past.

GOOD show all round.



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