Belfast Telegraph

Salute to girl who has it all

By Lindy McDowell

Brains, beauty, bravery. Kylie Watson from Ballymena has it all. The 24-year-old medic has been awarded the Military Cross for her "immense courage" in Afghanistan. L/Cpl Watson put herself in "mortal danger" to run out under enemy fire and spend over 20 minutes treating an injured soldier in Helmand province.

Modestly, she says this is what anyone else would have done in the same circumstances. Maybe not, many of us might reply.

Her mother Lorna points out: "She hasn't really told us in detail what happened, I think she doesn't want us to worry. She just sort of said she went out to save ones under fire."

Kylie is only the fourth woman to receive what is the third highest award for bravery. Does the fact that she is a girl make her courage seem any more impressive? Not really.

And yet there is something about this vibrant, pretty girl - even her very name - which is yet another jolting reminder that war isn't just the stuff of fusty history books but sadly relevant to another generation of youth.

Those old generals of yesteryear would doubtless have been bemused at the thought of one of the highest medals for gallantry in the land going to a mere slip of a girl.

They would also, doubtless, have been damned proud of her.

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