Sunday, 13 January 2008

Cpl Mark Wright: Hero's death blamed on MoD

A military inquiry has found that inadequate equipment, lack of maps and failure in radio communications were to blame for the death of Corporal Mark Wright of 3rd Battallion the Parachute Regiment on 6th September 2006 when he and his section were caught in a minefield near Kajaki in Afghanistan. The blame was placed squarely with the Ministry of Defence.
Corporal Wright, who was posthumously awarded the George Cross for saving the life of an injured comrade, could have survived his wounds had a properly equipped helicopter been available. The Chinook which had been sent to rescue Cpl Wright and his comrades was of little use because it did not have a lifting winch and, consequently, the injured soldiers had to wait until a US helicopter could arrive. The MoD told the inquiry that ALL the winches for its Chinooks were in the UK at the time being checked out for a possible fault. The post-mortem had revealed that the wounds which Cpl Wright suffered would have been survivable had he been brought to a field hospital sooner.
The inquiry also found that the soldiers did not have a map of the mined area even though one was available; that radio problems led to a communication breakdown; and that the soldiers had to provide their own mine extraction kits.
Part-time Defence Secretary, Des Browne assured Parliament on 10th January that improvements had now been made which ensured "that those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan have the best equipment and kit possible"; unfortunately this was too late to save the life of Corporal Wright.
Link> The Telegraph: Army hero left to die by failings at MoD
Link> MoD: Corporal Mark William Wright killed in Afghanistan
Link> MoD Oracle: Equipment Shortage Blamed For Para Death