Kate Nesbitt

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Able Seaman Nesbitt MC
Born (1988-04-21) 21 April 1988 (age 26)[1][2]
Plymouth
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Navy
Years of service 2005–present
Rank Able Seaman Class 1
Unit MDHU Derriford, Plymouth
Battles/wars War in Afghanistan
Awards Military Cross

Kate Louise Nesbitt[3] MC (born 21 April 1988)[1][2] is the first female member of the British Royal Navy, and the second woman in the British Armed Forces, to be awarded the Military Cross (MC). Nesbitt, a Navy medic from Plymouth, was awarded the MC for actions in Afghanistan during March 2009.

Personal life[edit]

Nesbitt is from Whitleigh in Plymouth, Devon and was educated at Sir John Hunt Community College in Whitleigh.[1][4] Her father Clive Nesbitt is a former Royal Marine colour sergeant who served for 22 years, and two of her brothers are also in the armed forces.[1][5] She is 5 ft 0 in (1.52 m) tall.[4]

Military career[edit]

Nesbitt joined the Royal Navy in 2005.[5] She passed a Military Prehospital Emergency Care course run by the charity British Association for Immediate Care (BASICS) at the Royal Marines base in Arbroath in Scotland.[6] After medical training, she served at the Commando Training Centre in Lympstone, followed by a posting aboard the Type 42 destroyer HMS Nottingham.[5]

Nesbitt was deployed to Afghanistan for six months between October 2008 and March 2009 as part of the ongoing Operation Herrick, the British contribution to the War in Afghanistan which began in 2001.[1] With the rank of Able Seaman Class 1, Nesbitt was a Medical Assistant attached to 3 Commando Brigade, working in close support of C Company, 1st Battalion The Rifles (1 RIFLES).[2][5] (The Royal Navy provides the medical support to 3 Commando Brigade, who are normally based in Plymouth.[7])

On her return from Afghanistan, Nesbitt worked in the Surgical Assessment Unit at the Military Hospital Unit in Derriford Hospital, Plymouth.[4] (MDHU Derriford[5])

Military Cross[edit]

Medal[edit]

The Military Cross

The Military Cross is awarded to any rank of the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force "in recognition of exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy on land".[8] For her performance in the Afghanistan tour, including during an ambush on 12 March 2009, Nesbitt (then aged 21) became the first female member of the Royal Navy, and the second woman in the British Armed Forces, to be awarded the Military Cross (MC), after Private Michelle Norris of the Royal Army Medical Corps, who received the MC for action in Iraq in 2006.[2] After the abolition of the Military Medal in 1993, the Military Cross was extended to all ranks, and thus, Nesbitt is also the first member of the Royal Navy below Warrant Officer rank to be awarded the Military Cross.[citation needed] Nesbit is also the first member of the Royal Navy to win the MC since the Second World War (and possibly since the First World War).[citation needed]

Taliban ambush[edit]

The primary action for which Nesbitt received the Military Cross was for acts during a Taliban ambush. On 12 March 2009, while under fire from Taliban forces, Nesbitt administered emergency medical treatment which saved the life of Lance Corporal John List, a 22-year-old soldier of 1st Battalion, The Rifles (1 RIFLES), from Holsworthy, Devon.[1][2][9]

On that day, List's unit was undertaking a five-day operation in Marjah district, Helmand Province, securing the area for the forthcoming Afghan elections.[1][2][7] In the mid-afternoon, during a Taliban ambush and ensuing gun-battle, List was shot in the neck.[1][2][7] Nesbitt, on being informed by radio of a "man down" and the location, ran 60 to 70 metres under fire and found List struggling to breathe, as the bullet had gone through his top lip, ruptured his jaw and come out of his neck.[1] She administered aid for around 45 minutes, stemming the blood loss, and providing him with another airway.[1] During treatment they were subject to gun and rocket fire from the Taliban forces.[2][7] List said of the incident, "I felt the impact go through my jaw, and the next thing I knew I was on my back. I thought that was it. Kate appeared from nowhere, reassuring me everything would be ok".[9] List was later airlifted to hospital by Merlin helicopter.[1]

Nesbitt returned from Afghanistan three weeks after the ambush, at the end of her tour.[1] Nesbitt next met List back in England in May 2009, at a medals parade for 1 RIFLES at their Chepstow barracks, the first time he was able to speak, and thank Nesbitt.[1]

Award[edit]

Nesbitt's award was first announced on 11 September 2009.[2][3] Both List and Nesbitt attended the Devon Festival of Remembrance at the University of Exeter on 5 November 2009.[10] Nesbitt also read the citation during the Royal British Legion's Festival of Remembrance in the Royal Albert Hall in London on Saturday 7 November 2009.[11]

Nesbitt was presented with her Military Cross by Prince Charles on 27 November 2009 at Buckingham Palace.[7] Nesbitt's citation read:

Nesbitt's actions throughout a series of offensive operations were exemplary; under fire and under pressure her commitment and courage were inspirational and made the difference between life and death. She performed in the highest traditions of her service.[1]

Honours and Awards[edit]

Military cross BAR.svg OSM for Afghanistan BAR.svg QEII Diamond Jubilee Medal ribbon.png

Military cross BAR.svg Military Cross (MC) November 2009
OSM for Afghanistan BAR.svg Operational Service Medal for Afghanistan With 'Afghanistan' Clasp
QEII Diamond Jubilee Medal ribbon.png Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal 2012

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Military Cross for Plymouth woman medic". The Herald (Plymouth). Daily Mail and General Trust. 11 September 2009. Archived from the original on 27 November 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Navy woman awarded Military Cross". BBC News. 11 September 2009. Archived from the original on 27 November 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  3. ^ a b The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 59182. p. 15640. 11 September 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2009.
  4. ^ a b c "'Proudest day' for award winner". Press Association. 27 November 2009. Archived from the original on 27 November 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Navy Medical Assistant to Receive the Military Cross". www.royalnavy.mod.uk > Operations and Support > Global Operations > Operations in Afghanistan > News. Royal Navy. undated. Archived from the original on 27 November 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  6. ^ "BASICS Education trains Military lifesaver". www.basics.org.uk – > Press. British Association for Immediate Care (BASICS). undated. Archived from the original on 27 November 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "Navy woman collects bravery award". BBC News. 27 November 2009. Archived from the original on 27 November 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  8. ^ "Military Cross (MC)". www.mod.uk — Medals. Ministry of Defence. undated. Archived from the original on 27 November 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  9. ^ a b "I'm the soldier hero Kate saved". The Sun. 14 September 2009. Archived from the original on 27 November 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  10. ^ "Festival to focus on Afghanistan". BBC News. 5 November 2009. Archived from the original on 27 November 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  11. ^ "Queen attends remembrance event". BBC News. 7 November 2009. Archived from the original on 27 November 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2009.