Marine tells how he avoided a soldier's 'nightmare'
A soldier who won the Military Cross for outstanding bravery has spoken of how he beat remarkable odds to avoid "the ultimate soldier's nightmare" of shooting one of his colleagues in the fog of battle.
Royal Marine Craig Buchanan, 26, was part of an eight-man patrol in October in Nahri Saraj, Helmand Province, last year tasked with training Afghans around the grounds of a police station. The Marine, who lives in Somerset but was born in Zimbabwe, was with his men in a small field surrounded by high walls and hedge lines when a rogue member of the Afghan Uniformed Police, dressed in civvies, opened fire, blasting his comrades.
The bursts of automatic fire, which were zipping in from just 100ft away killed two patrol members and wounded one of the Marine's close friends, who he was standing next to.
Marine Buchanan was unable to return fire for fear of hitting a pal and he quickly became the only uninjured patrol member to remain standing.
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Putting his life on the line for others, he rushed forward to stand between the assassin and his men and returned fire confident he would not hit his colleagues. The gunman continued to come forward blasting off more rounds – but the Royal Marine shot him dead.
His citation reads: "Buchanan's quick thinking and bravery saved lives and prevented a difficult situation from escalating.
"His exemplary gallantry is an inspiration to others."