Plymouth medic becomes first woman to shoot Taliban gunman
A PLYMOUTH Army medic has told the extraordinary story of how she became the first woman to shoot a Taliban fighter in Afghanistan.
Former Notre Dame pupil, Chantelle Taylor, now 32, described the terrifying moment she came within 50 feet of an insurgent who she felt was intent on shooting her in the face.
Sergeant Taylor, who was raised on a Stonehouse council estate, fired seven shots, killing the enemy fighter. Writing in the Mail on Sunday, she said: "It would never be right to claim a kill as a medic, but at the end of the day, he no longer had the ability to engage us, and that's all I am concerned about. Faced with the choice of him or me, I chose me."
Sgt Taylor, who left the Army because she was disillusioned with political decisions made over the war in Afghanistan, also told how she taught Prince William to apply a tourniquet at a lecture at a Suffolk military base.
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She has now published a book, Bad Company: A Woman Face to Face with the Taliban.
Female Army soldiers are banned from fighting on the front line, and from serving with units whose job is to "close with and kill" the enemy. But Sgt Taylor was faced with a life or death situation.
The combat medical technician detailed the moment in 2008, 11 years after she signed up, when 16 Air Assault Brigade were ambushed as they monitored the town of Marjah.
Sgt Taylor found herself travelling in a Land Rover, as part of a lightly armoured convoy which was soon at the centre of a "Taliban shooting gallery", she wrote.
"Boom! Boom! Two deafening explosions are followed by small arms fire and heavy machine guns. The first explosion rocks the vehicle, smashing my head against the front of the wagon. An air burst of incoming rocket-propelled grenades rains debris and shrapnel around us."
She described rounds of ammunition pinging off the vehicle above her. "I pop back up and immediately get eyes on a Taliban fighter – a little more than 50 feet away, in a field to our left. Suddenly, overwhelmed by a fear that I am about to be shot in the face, I experience a massive rush of blood to the head. I take in a mouthful of dust as I remind myself to breathe. Instinctively and purposefully, I engage him, firing seven shots, which would later become quite the joke within our regiment. Apparently I was wasting ammunition."
She said she was struck by the "fearlessness" of the bearded fighter. "He knows the odds are that he is about to die, but continues to fire elaborate, drug-crazed bursts from his AK-47."