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For exemplary gallantry


Major William Chesarek and Pte Michelle Norris
Image: Defence News

“. . .a 5ft tall slip of a girl, and yet one so courageous that she has become the first female officer to win the Military Cross."

Pte Michelle Norris, 19, deployed as a medical orderly with The Queen's Royal Hussars Battle Group in Iraq, and “had only recently completed her Army training when she braved heavy sniper fire to climb on top of a Warrior armoured vehicle" to give her sergeant medical treatment and to haul him to safety after he was wounded in the head.

"One bullet from an AK47 rifle ripped through her rucksack as she came under fire from five different positions. But she refused to let go of Colour Sgt Ian Page, dragging him to safety.” She kept calling him Dad to try to keep him from slipping into unconsciousness. Full report in the Telegraph.

Pte Norris received the award from Her Majesty the Queen at an Investiture Ceremony held at Buckingham Palace on 21 March 2007. At the same ceremony the Queen also presented Major William Chesarek from the United States Marine Corps with a Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), awarded for gallantry in action during operations. He became the first American serviceman to receive a DFC since the Second World War.

Major Chesarek, serving as an exchange officer with 847 Naval Air Squadron, was commanding a Lynx helicopter, providing air cover to the same operation. Flying for over five hours, Major Chesarek elected to fly repeated passes at very low level, under heavy small arms fire and at least one near-miss from an RPG, to assist the beleaguered Hussars. Major Chesarek and his crew also landed, despite the huge risks, to evacuate Sgt Page. Full report at Defence News