The story of Dipprasad Pun, a Nepali soldier fighting in Afghanistan with the British Royal Gurkha Rifles, didn't get a lot of press in the United States because, well, he's a Nepali British soldier. But it's amazing. Last September, Pun fought off thirty Taliban attackers by himself, firing 400 rounds of machine gun ammunition, detonating 17 grenades, a landmine, and finally beating the last attackers back with the tripod of his gun. Naturally, he received a high honor yesterday: Britain's Conspicuous Gallantry Cross.
A report from March in the British Forces News explains that Pun was on sentry duty alone at a checkpoint near a remote village when the attack happened. His platoon left him and three other soldiers to man the post while they went on patrol to secure the area for the next day's parliamentary elections.
Pun was on duty when he heard a clinking noise to the south of the checkpoint and had the presence of mind to gather up two radios, which would enable him to both speak to his Commander and to call in artillery support, his personal weapon, and a General Purpose Machine Gun. Realising that he was about to be attacked, he quickly informed his Commander on one of the radios, and fired a weapon launched grenade at the enemy.
Pun single-handedly fought off an enemy attack onto his lightly manned position. In the dark he took the enemy head on as he moved around his position to fend off the attack from three sides, killing three assailants and causing the others to flee. In doing so he saved the lives of his three comrades and prevented the position from being overrun.
According to CNN, he said in a later interview, "I thought they are definitely going to kill me. ... I thought before they kill me I have to kill some of them." It seems to have worked.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.