A CORK man who led a search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean helping to save the lives of more than 700 migrants has been awarded the Defence Forces inaugural award for physical courage.
Ryan Carroll from Passage West was nominated for the award following his outstanding dedication to duty in extremely challenging conditions.
Leading Seaman Carroll was deployed with Operation Pontus and on June 16 last, LÉ Eithne and her crew were involved in the rescue of 705 migrants.
During this operation, Carroll volunteered and was appointed as Search and Rescue Operator for this dangerous and challenging mission.
"Over the course of a 12 hour period, he placed the mission and his unit ahead of his own welfare and safety and the physical courage he displayed ensured lives were saved," the Defence forces said.
The Defence Forces Chief of Staff, Vice Admiral Mark Mellett DSM, accompanied by Jadotville medal recipient Captain Noel Carey presented the inaugural Defence Forces Values Champions with their awards in the United Nations Training School in the Curragh.
The winners were nominated by their peers as embodying the Defence Forces values of respect, loyalty, selflessness, physical courage, moral courage and integrity.
Commenting on the Awards Vice Admiral Mark Mellett said: “Today’s winners embody the same core values of the men and women who have served Ireland since the foundation of the state domestically and established our country's reputation on the international stage. They act as role models for our new entrants and as standard bearers for the organisation.” Commenting on his award Leading Seaman Carroll said: “I was shocked to hear I won the award, I felt any one of the crew onboard that day would equally deserve it."
"That said, it’s a proud day for my family and myself, it’s mean a lot particularly as I was nominated by my colleagues.” His father Paddy Carroll added: “What Ryan has achieved and experienced in his young life due to service within the Navy is a great source of pride to me and his mam. The Naval Service is very good to him and I would recommend any young person to join up”.
Veteran of the Battle of Jadotville, Captain (retired) Noel Carey, spoke at today's ceremony and highlighted the importance of the Defence Forces Values:
“The values being celebrated today as the same values my comrades of A Company and I relied on in Jadotville, all those years ago.”