An army officer from Northamptonshire who foiled an enemy ambush while on patrol in Afghanistan has been awarded his second Mention in Despatches.
Captain Mark Cripps, 30, from Badby near Daventry, was at the back of the patrol with his men supporting the Afghan National Army (ANA) when they became pinned down by a carefully planned ambush in November last year.
Capt Cripps of 2nd Battallion, The Rifles led a small team under heavy fire up a shallow drainage ditch to a neighbouring compound 150 metres away as bullets zipped past their heads. From his new position he was able to fire on the enemy to break up the attack, which allowed the rest of his patrol to escape.
For Cripps such action was routine in the highly dangerous ground on which he patrolled. His tactical instinct and selfless decisive conduct under fire unquestionably preserved the lives of many others. Cripps was the lynchpin that both suppressed the enemy and encouraged the ANA. This has enabled them to regain the initiative and break the enemy’s defences.”
The Mention in Despatches is one of the oldest forms of recognition for gallantry within the UK Armed Forces. Since 1993 the Mention in Despatches has been reserved for gallantry during active operations.