Sergeant TA Thomson - CGC

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On 9 August 2004 Cpl Thomson was commanding a Warrior Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle in central Basra City as part of a company action to rescue eight stranded soldiers who were cut-off, their vehicles destroyed, and running low on ammunition, while being engaged by enemy militia. The Company had been tasked to rescue these soldiers; an action during which a soldier from the company was killed and the company commander's entire Tactical Headquarters Group was injured.

On deployment to the stranded soldiers Cpl Thomson's Warrior was attacked and struck by RPG and small arms fire from close range. The RPG strike caused internal and external communications failure which did not deter Cpl Thomson's focus in engaging the enemy and providing flank protection for other vehicles to attempt to rescue the cut-off soldiers. The only means of communication available to Cpl Thomson were hand-signals which meant continuously exposing himself to direct fire from the militia whilst engaging the enemy fighting his vehicle. Having defeated the RPG and small arms teams, and still using only hand signals, Cpl Thomson lead the two vehicles to an area to provide flank support to other callsigns attempting to rescue the stranded soldiers. Whilst still under small arms fire he regained communications via a control station and and relayed the unfolding situation. He was informed that the stranded soldiers were suspected of being in the area of the Old Ba'ath Party Headquarters, a complex within a perimeter with minimal entrances and exits and dominated by high buildings. Focused only on rescuing the stranded soldiers, and now acting as a single vehicle, Cpl Thomson manoeuvred and fought his way into the compound, continually being engaged by small arms and RPG fire. He saw that there were enemy positions within the compound, some of which were engaging his vehicle. His turret jammed, restricting his ability to return fire. Wlth no thought for his own safety, and realising he was the only person able to fight back whilst his gunner rectified the turret problem, he stood fully exposed to the enemy, engaging individual gunmen with his personal weapon. On realising the stranded troops were not within the compound, he had to exit the compound close to an enemy position within a fortified sangar. As the vehicle approached the position Cpl Thomson fired his personal weapon into it and posted two grenades, destroying the position and the three gunmen within, thus guaranteeing his exit from the compound.

At this point in the battle, the stranded soldiers had been rescued by another WARRIOR. Cpl Thomson married up his vehicle with the platoon commander and was able to extract, fighting his way out of the killing area, still using hand-signals and fighting as an individual from his turret.

Cpl Thomson's exemplary personal bravery, razor sharp initiative, and dynamic action whilst under continuous small arms and RPG fire for a period in excess of two hours in an urban environment were absolutely superb, especially as he was largely unsupported for a great deal of the engagement. His actions were an inspiration to his men and the remainder of the company over what was an especially difficult period and is worthy of the highest possible recognition.