Norwich army officer David Stead recognised for life saving work in fight against Da’esh
PUBLISHED: 09:04 26 April 2017 | UPDATED: 09:16 26 April 2017
A Norwich Army officer has been recognised for life saving work in the Sinai as part of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) group monitoring peace in the peninsula, when it came under threat of Da’esh terrorists.
Andover-based Major David Stead, 38, of the Royal Engineers, was Officer Commanding 9 Parachute Squadron (9 Para Sqn RE) from February to May 2016 when the unit was dramatically reconfigured for a new Force Protection mission.
Maj Stead said the award was “very humbling”.
He said: It was a privilege to play a small part in the important work that the MFO has done since 1982, and continues to do, in the service of peace in the Sinai.
“We received an enormously warm welcome from the other contingents of the MFO; and Op BRANTA was a unique opportunity to work with and learn from troops from as far apart as Australia, Canada, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Fiji, France, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, the US and Uruguay.”
Following a lengthy period of overseeing a relatively benign environment, the MFO found themselves caught between the Egyptian Armed forces and Da’esh looking to gain territorial dominance in the peninsula. This was when 9 Para Sqn RE was redeployed at very short notice to bolster the Force Protection of the operating bases.
According to Maj Stead’s citation: “He reacted extremely quickly ensuring that the squadron could deliver the desired effect on the ground. He organised extensive pre-deployment training and was meticulous in preparing his troops for what was to come.”
The squadron significantly improved the physical force protection infrastructure of the camp, including building more than 16 kilometres of defensive walls.
Maj Stead said: “The hard work of our deployment was done by the soldiers of 9 Parachute Squadron (and those attached to us for the tour); without their enthusiasm, determination and professionalism, none of the improvement works would have been possible.”
“Their work directly contributed to the increased survivability of the international forces and undoubtedly saved lives by providing protection from direct and indirect fire,” said the citation.