Phillip on patrol in Afghanistan.
LISBURN soldier has spoken of how he narrowly escaped death
after he was hit in the chest with a Rocket Propelled Grenade
(RPG) in Afghanistan earlier this month.
Royal Ranger Phillip Stout, who is on
deployment with the Royal Irish Regiment, miraculously survived
the blast during the attack in Helmand province on August 6.
In what he described as a "close call",
Phillip said that his body armour had taken all of the damage.
Phillip, a former pupil of Brownlee Primary
and Lisnagarvey High School, was part of a foot patrol that came
under attack from insurgents, which left him with cracked ribs
and bruising to his chest.
from the Royal Irish base at Camp Shorabak in Helmand, Phillip
said: "We were at the PB (patrol base) when the ANA (Afghan
National Army) were out on their routine patrol and radioed
through to us say Taliban had been seen in the area.
We came into direct contact with them in an
open field — it was in an area south of Musa Qal'eh.
"In a split second something hit my chest and
I blacked out for a time. My Osprey body armour took all the
Phillip paid tribute to his comrades who battled
for more than an hour to bring him to safety. He added:
"Fortunately no one else was injured. It was a lucky escape but
it's one of those things."
Speaking to the Star this week, Phillip's mum
June said that she only found out about the incident when
Phillip, who turned 22 last Saturday, called her on Friday
June said: "He phoned me after it happened,
but he played it down as he didn't want me to worry. Phillip had
told the army that if anything happened to him not to contact
me, that he would contact me when he was well enough.
"He called to tell me something had happened
and he said he was out of the ward and in a place to rest, so he
was letting me know that he was out of danger. He doesn't tell
me everything because he doesn't want me to worry, so I'm still
finding out bits and pieces from his girlfriend Sarah."
continued: "He was hit with an RPG and was airlifted to
hospital. He had cracked ribs and bruising to his chest and they
kept checking his blood levels, I don't know whether that was
for gases or something."
June described the feelings she and Phillip's
siblings Mark, 19, and Rachel, 15, have. 'We're very proud,
certainly," she said. "It is a worrying time, I can't wait until
he is home which will be sometime in October."
Phillip, who followed in his father's
footsteps when he joined the army, has been in Afghanistan since
March and was home for two weeks in July.
June continued: "They asked him if he wanted
to come home when the attack happened, but he just wants to get
on with it, he doesn't want to come home, he just says 'I'm here
to do a job'."
"He couldn't wait to get back to his friends
and get back on patrol. They are like brothers, that is the way
it is, especially with the Royal Irish, they stay together, they
move around as a regiment so they are one big unit, like a
June concluded: "I'm so proud of them all."