I’ll try and paint a picture of Kajaki. Beautiful
place, you know. We was in the mountain tops, you know, on
top of the high ground. Pretty much safe when I was there. There’s
nothing there at all, nothing whatsoever. Just a mountain top with mines marked everywhere.
A track leading down to the reservoir. But hell of a view. You know, you could put
a resort there, you know, it’s lovely. But it was relatively quiet when I was there,
until that day when Mark got killed. And I remember that day as if it was yesterday,
you know, me and Mark. It was in the morning, we knocked up some
porridge, we was eating porridge together.
I heard a couple of explosions in the background – thought of nothing.
Another explosion in the background – thought of nothing. Whoever is the team medic, they get over to
the other OP, you know, there’s a man down. So me being trained up, took my rifle, my
webbing, and all my kit. And done a, God knows, a mile run in how many
minutes. You know, went for it. Got told where Stu
was. So yeah, that was the first incident what
happened. Thinking that would have been it. And then that stretch was meant to be cleared.
So we walked back with a stretcher, with Stu on a stretcher.
Then we walked back to, well Stu Pearson walked back to get some water where we was treating
the other Stu Hale. That’s when Stu Pearson got blown up, maybe
about five meters away from us. And that’s when I thought, you know, we’re
in a minefield here. And then obviously when Mark got hit… you
know, one of your mates who you went to Sangin with, Gereshk with, the first op with… to
then, you know, getting hit out on the ground. You know, it wasn’t nice, watching him get
blown up in front of you. You had Mark Wright, you had Barlow, got blown
up. You had a medic who got shrapnel through his
chest. A couple of blokes got injured slightly.
To a point where Mark got hit twice with a mine.
Had to use, and I remember using my shirt off my back to use as a tourniquet for Mark. But seeing that Black Hawk, was like an angel
from above. I was there all day, you know, watching the
Apaches above us, you know, giving us top cover, to this Black Hawk coming in with some
lunatic of a medic, hanging off a winch. Comes down and he’s walking around as if,
you know, nothing. We’re going “F— it’s a minefield, it’s
a minefield!” He’s “Ah, don’t worry about it, don’t
worry,” hooking the injured blokes up first, to then us non-injured blokes up last. I know what happened that day. I know. I watched
it first hand from my own eyes what happened to every single bloke, apart from Stu Hale
which I wasn’t there initially, to Mark getting lifted out, to Mark’s last words to me.
Being one of the last blokes out, you know, I was covered from head to toe in blood from
where the downwash from the Black Hawk… like a storm of blood. So yeah, it was a long shit day, especially
seeing my mate in the state he was. He said “Tell my uncle, I was a good soldier.
And tell my fiancée I love her.” That was it. I do think about it all the time. All the