WAR hero Jason Blackwell, who spearheaded the British invasion of Iraq, has been honoured.
And it was a fitting end to the military career of the 30-year-old Huddersfield man.
Lt Blackwell, who has served in the Royal Navy, is leaving at the end of the year to pursue a new career - in journalism.
But yesterday he was awarded a gallantry medal for action in Iraq.
The former student of All Saints High School, Bradley Bar, has been awarded a Mention in Dispatches, at a ceremony honouring Britain's Gulf heroes.
It is the oldest form of recognition of gallantry within the UK Armed Forces, and is reserved for gallantry during active operations.
Lt Blackwell was at the heart of a top-secret and highly-dangerous mission to kickstart the Iraq conflict.
On March 20 - the first night of the war- he was the first member of the UK's elite 3 Commando Brigade to land on Iraqi soil.
Under enemy fire he set up two helicopter landing sites and controlled UK and US helicopters that were bringing in 40 Commando Royal Marines.
His citation to mark his bravery reads: "Your focus, stamina and professional determination was exceptional and in the finest traditions of the service."
Lt Blackwell has also served on operations in Bosnia, and has trained in environments as diverse as the Arctic circle in Norway and the deserts of the Middle East.
He joined the Navy on leaving Huddersfield Technical College and earned his Green Beret with Royal Marines training.
He said: "I left the UK on January 16 on HMS Ocean and we sailed to Cyprus, before moving on to Kuwait.
"I was there in Iraq 90 minutes before 40 Commando began the invasion, and I then linked up with them for the front-line push to Basra.
"The adrenaline and excitement can never be forgotten, but there was always apprehension. We were under constant fire and we had no idea how the enemy would react.
"It was something to remember. I set myself various goals and achieved them in my 10 years in the military. Now it is time to move on."
Now he plans to start a training course in February at Highbury College in Portsmouth, studying journalism.
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