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    United Kingdom - Current Valor awardees

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    Johnson Gideon Beharry VC (born 26 July 1979, in Grenada), of the 1st Battalion, Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment is a British soldier who, on 18 March 2005, was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest military decoration for valour in the British and Commonwealth armed forces, for twice saving members of his unit from ambushes on 1 May and 11 June 2004 at Al-Amarah, Iraq. He sustained serious head injuries in the latter engagement. Beharry was formally invested with the Victoria Cross by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 27 April 2005.

    Beharry is the first recipient of the Victoria Cross since the posthumous awards to Lieutenant Colonel H. Jones and Sergeant Ian John McKay for service in the Falklands War in 1982. He is the first living recipient of the VC since Keith Payne and Rayene Stewart Simpson, both Australian, for actions in Vietnam in 1969, and the first living recipient of the VC in the British Army since Rambahadur Limbu, a Gurkha, in the Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation in 1965. As of 26 June 2006, he is one of only 12 living recipients of the VC, and the youngest.

    Beharry was born in Grenada, and has four brothers and three sisters. He moved to the UK in 1999. He is currently estranged from his wife Lynthia Beharry, who is also from Grenada and is three years his junior. Beharry said in an official statement released through the Ministry of Defence that the trauma of his war experiences had caused "difficulties" in his marriage.

    Beharry joined the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment in August 2001. After training at Catterick, he became a driver of Warrior armoured vehicles in C Company, 1st Battalion. Prior to Iraq, he served for six months in Kosovo and three months in Northern Ireland.

    On 1 May 2004, Beharry was driving a Warrior Tracked Armoured Vehicle that had been called to the assistance of a foot patrol caught in a series of ambushes. The Warrior was hit by multiple rocket propelled grenades, causing damage and resulting in the loss of radio communications. The platoon commander, the vehicle?s gunner and a number of other soldiers in the vehicle were injured. Beharry drove through the ambush, taking his own crew and leading five other Warriors to safety. He then extracted his wounded colleagues from the vehicle, all the time exposed to further enemy fire. He was cited on this occasion for "valour of the highest order".

    While back on duty on 11 June 2004, Beharry was again driving the lead Warrior vehicle of his platoon through Al Amarah when his vehicle was ambushed. A rocket propelled grenade hit the vehicle and Beharry received serious head injuries. Other rockets hit the vehicle incapacitating his commander and injuring several of the crew. Despite his very serious injuries, Beharry then took control of his vehicle and drove it out of the ambush area before losing consciousness. He required brain surgery for his head injuries, and he was still recovering when he was awarded the VC in March 2005. He suggested on at least one occasion that he would return to military service if physically able.

    Part of his citation reads:

    "For his repeated extreme gallantry and unquestioned valour, despite intense direct attacks, personal injury and damage to his vehicle in the face of relentless enemy action, Private Beharry deserves the highest possible recognition."

    As of 23 September 2006, as a result of his injuries, he still has severe pain in his back and head. He is on the Army payroll but has been unable to return to duty.[1]

    On 26 September 2006 it was reported that he has been promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal

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