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Army May 23, 2013
FOUR soldiers from the 7RAR
Task Group have been commended
for their quick thinking and deci-
sive action after saving four people,
including an Afghan National Police
general, from a stranded car during a
On the afternoon of April 23, Ptes
Thomas Blair, Lloyd Gravolin, Ryan
Middleton and Peter Moser were mov-
ing Bushmasters between Forward
Operating Base Lindsey and Kandahar
Airfield in Afghanistan when they
came across an Afghan National Army
(ANA) four-wheel-drive in the middle
of a swollen river, pinned precariously
against a concrete pylon.
With three occupants already on
the roof of the car, the soldiers acted
quickly. It was at this point crew com-
mander Pte Blair formulated a plan.
“We were going to winch them in,
and as we started we realised it was
probably unsafe for the people still on
board,” he said.
“We called Pte Gravolin forward
and he came up and secured his vehi-
cle alongside the ANA vehicle and
then helped the passengers on board
Despite the fast-flowing water,
at first the ANA driver refused to
leave his vehicle, so it was left to Pte
Gravolin to coax him out.
“It took some convincing, but he
finally got out and climbed up onto our
vehicle,” Pte Gravolin said.
“Once we had all four on board,
we backed out and led them off
Pte Blair then attempted recovery
of the ANA vehicle, but the water was
“As soon as we tried to pull the
car just a little bit off the pylon it
was pinned to, the water picked it up,
flipped it over and carried it between
two other pylons downstream,” Pte
“That was the end of the car, but
we did manage to get all four people
There is little doubt Pte Gravolin
saved the Afghan driver’s life, accord-
ing to Pte Blair.
“If Pte Gravolin hadn’t convinced
the driver to get out, he would have
drowned,” Pte Blair said.
“It was only maybe 20 seconds
after we got the occupants on board
that the vehicle got swept onto its side,
onto its roof and all the way down-
stream. [The driver] definitely would
have been pinned inside the vehicle.”
The soldiers are from the 205th
Corps Coalition Advisory Team Force
Protection Platoon, which provides
mobility and security escort support to
coalition forces advising the leadership
of the ANA.
Bushmaster driver Pte Middleton
said that he never thought he would be
rescuing people from a flooded river.
“When we saw the situation unfold
it surprised all of us and we are really
happy we could help,” Pte Middleton
The Afghan police commander
praised the crew’s actions and indi-
cated that if the four soldiers did not
act as swiftly as they did, there could
have been Afghan casualties.
Diggers’ daring rescue
Bushmaster crews rescue Afghan soldiers and police from vehicle stranded in flood waters
Cpl Janine Fabre
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