Want to see a hero? Forget the comic books. Forget Superman, or Spiderman, or even Captain America. Take a look at the young man to the left. This, True Believers, is the photo of a real hero.
This is Dipprasad Pun, recently awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross by Queen Elizabeth II for his actions in combat in Afghanistan. Excerpt:
Sgt Dip Pun, 32 of 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, was one of four soldiers at a small outpost when he spotted two insurgents less than 100 metres away creeping towards his position.
Realising they were about to be attacked he radioed his commander and then fired his weapon at the advancing insurgents, triggering Rocket Propelled Grenade and small arms attacks from at least two positions.
One RPG struck the parapet just in front of the roof he was standing on, knocking him backwards. The ensuing attack went on for 15 minutes.
Seeing a further three armed men running towards his position from 20 metres away Dip fired his machine gun. One of the insurgents appeared on the rooftop, less than ten metres away, before Dip knocked him over the wall with a burst of machine gun fire.
Moving around the roof he saw two more men moving 20 metres in front of him. However as he tried to return fire from his exposed position he found his weapon damaged. Looking around he found a heavy steel machine gun tripod that he hurled at his immediate attacker, before throwing a grenade towards another insurgent who was fast advancing on him.
Dip then saw a further four insurgents in a field 80 metres away. In full view of the enemy’s fire support position he poured a hail of fire on the attackers until his ammunition ran out. Only then did he move into the safety of the sangar.
“In that situation 15 minutes is a long time,” said Dip, who lives in Ashford with his wife Shobha. “But at the time I didn’t worry about anything, I was just fighting. I didn’t get a chance to think. All I knew was that the Taliban were going to overrun our checkpoint, so acted to save my own life and also my friends.”
Dip’s citation states: “That he survived unscathed is simply incredible. He never sought the cover of the sangar position, but despite the danger, consistently moved in the open towards the enemy to reach the best position of attack.
I will point out that 30 Taliban against one Gurkha is hardly fair – to the Taliban.
Seriously, though. It fills me with hope that there are young men like Corporal Dip out there. His steadfast courage and ability to think under fire should be an inspiration to all of us. We need more young men like him, and I suspect if you look at the soldiers serving in Afghanistan and other danger spots, you’ll find them.
This is a man, people, in the best and truest sense of the word. I would buy him a beer any time – a mark of high esteem in the Animalverse.