This is 2008, guys, not 1808.......
New friendly fire shock: Brit hit
By JOHN KAY
15 Jan 2008
Still defiant ... Grenadier Guardsman Matthew is helped after being injured by US "friendly" fire in Afghan clashes
GRENADIER guardsman Matthew Lyne-Pirkis was injured by an AMERICAN Apache helicopter in another shocking “friendly fire” incident, it emerged yesterday.
Shrapnel tore into the 27-year-old’s hand and leg when the attack chopper unleashed its fearsome chain gun, spewing out ten 30mm cannon shells every second.
Medic Matthew — snapped minutes later covered in blood but defiantly giving the thumbs up — wrote a report for his mother Bethany after being flown back to Britain from Afghanistan’s lawless Helmand province.
In it, he recalled: “We had been tasked to push the Taliban out of the green zone just outside the town of Gereshk. We started to receive small arms fire. We had ruins to our front and a small brook with trees which curved round to our left and we were spread out along it.
US Apache like the one that injured Matthew. Whereas ALL British Army pilots are professionals there are many poorly-trained reservist pilots in the US Army (at this moment in time, an enemy would surely prefer to take on the US pilots than the British ones)
“I was next to a tree with some Afghan National Army guys, with a wall to my front and couldn’t be seen by the enemy. We called for air support and two Apaches turned up, a Brit and a American.
“We were in radio contact with them and had popped smoke to show them where we were. The British one fired into the enemy and the American one flew over us whilst dropping flares.
“He then circled round and fired into me and the three ANA soldiers with his 30mm cannon. We all received shrapnel wounds.
“I was treated by the platoon commander, platoon sergeant and a mate. I went to surgery and I was then flown back to the UK.”
As a grim souvenir of his close brush with death, Matthew kept some of the shrapnel removed from his left hand.
The shrapnel which had hit his leg was less than two inches from a major artery.
Matthew’s life was only saved because he was wearing body armour.
The US blunder came in July when the 900-strong Grenadier Guards’ battle group was engaged in a series of vicious firefights.
Last night Bethany, 55, of Dorking, Surrey, said: “To this day Matthew has not had any explanation, let alone an apology, from the Americans.”
She wrote to Prime Minister Gordon Brown and said he promised it was being “looked into”.
She added: “Predictably I haven’t heard anything since.”
Last year The Sun exclusively revealed the cockpit video showing how Lance Corporal of Horse Matty Hull, 25, was killed by an American jet pilot in a “friendly fire” scandal in Iraq.
A high-ranking Army officer said: “US air support is vital, but we never hear of cases of British troops mistakenly firing on Americans.
“One of the reasons is all our pilots are full-time professionals and there are too many reservists flying for the Americans.”
In a statement to The Sun, Lt Col Carew Hatherley, the Grenadiers’ CO, insisted: “The swift actions of the coalition aircraft at Geresk, as on every other occasion during our tough tour, undeniably saved both Afghan and British army lives.”