Sergeant Steven Leslie, of The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland (3 Scots), was awarded a Mention in Despatches for his bravery after his patrol came under attack in Nade-e Ali, one of the most violent areas of Helmand.
Taleban insurgents peppered hundreds of machine gun rounds on to his unit as grenades exploded and shrapnel sprayed the area. The 30-year-old, from Dundee, ran around the sprawled troops to give them cover – leading them through 50 metres of open ground in the enemy’s killing area so they could reach safety.
Two soldiers remained trapped on the far side of the battlefield, but Sgt Leslie fired on the enemy to cover the men so they could make their way back as the fight continued for ten minutes before the whole patrol could break away.
He also rescued two isolated gunners when the enemy again attacked, recovering the 150 metres of open ground as rounds kicked up the dust at his feet, to lead them out of danger to the checkpoint while under fire.
“You don’t even realise there are rounds landing around you. Everyone has had rounds landing at their feet over there. You just do what you need to do and get out. Anyone would have done what I did, just as I would do it again,” he said.
His citation said: “Through his selfless bravery, and putting the safety of his men before his own, Sergeant Leslie is worthy of national recognition.”