An 18-year-old rifleman who dodged a hail of Taliban bullets to save his commanding officers life has become the youngest soldier since the Second World War to be awarded the Military Cross.
Pte Alex Kennedy was just eight months into his Army career when he put himself in the line of fire to deliver his platoon from a ferocious enemy ambush.
And he cheated death after a bullet struck his gun during the daredevil mission in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
But despite the medal the youngster, of 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment, insists he was only doing the job I was trained to do and says he does not feel like a hero.
He said: That title should go to those who go out to Afghanistan and dont make it back.
Describing his actions during last Junes raid in Gamsir, he adds: We were clearing the area and were ambushed by the Taliban just 100 metres away. They started firing and my commanding officer was shot three times. I crawled across the ground to get to him as the bullets were whizzing past. One of them hit the barrel of my gun. I managed to drag him to safety and took his radio to tell the others where to shoot.
Pte Kennedy was in South America when he found out he was to be awarded for his gallantry. He said yesterday: I was speechless. I told my mum as soon as I knew and when I got back, all the family said they were so proud. And Pte Kennedys family in Bromsgrove, West Mids, were almost as shocked as he was by the prestigious decoration. His 23-year-old brother James, a plumber, said Alex had been an incredibly shy yet single-minded young teenager, giving no hint of the extraordinary bravery he would show. He said: I still find it hard to believe how brave he has been over there. My little brother is a hero. He joined the Army as a boy but came back from Afghanistan his first posting a man.