Halesworth Major is awarded for “extraordinary achievements” in Afghanistan

An Army officer has been awarded a top military honour after making 'extraordinary achievements' in transforming a remote village in Afghanistan.

Major Benjamin Wilde, who lives at Halesworth, has been given a Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service after his efforts helped to establish a local police force in the village.

The 36-year-old, who is part of the Mercian Regiment, was given his award for inspiring his men to 'beat back the enemy' as they transformed the disputed ground deep in the Green Zone, south in Helmand province, last summer.

Major Wilde had been charged with holding the village but, against all expectations, led the fight against the insurgents.

He expanded the protected community, established an Afghan local police force and facilitated the first government contact in the isolated rural area that was still under the sway of the Taliban.

His citation highlights his 'extraordinary achievements' in placing the insurgency on the back foot.

Major Wilde said: 'It is a tremendous honour to have been nominated, but I see this award as recognition for the courage, professionalism and determination of the men of A Company 3 Mercian.

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'It was a long, hot, tough summer for these men in the Upper Gereshk Valley – they were sensitive to the needs of the locals, dedicated and focused in the training of the various Afghan security agencies working alongside us, and fearless and steady under fire in the face of vicious insurgent aggression.

'It was a humbling experience to command these magnificent soldiers through this most testing of tours. They are a credit to their profession and their country.'

Major Wilde was one of 131 members of the Armed Forces to receive an award as part of the operational honours list.

The list recognises service on operations in Afghanistan and national operations for April 1, 2011 to September 30, 2011.

richard.wood@archant.co.uk

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