Kerling in 2017
|Years of service||2009 – present|
|Unit||1st Air Assault Battalion, Kommandosow|
Elizabeth Cross, 2nd Class |
Conspicuous Combat Action Medal
Order of the Most Revered Patriots
Army Combat Action Medal
United Kingdom Service Medal
Foreign Service Medal
William Charles Kerling, EC (born c. 1990) is an Aquitaynian soldier currently serving in the Aquitaynian Army. In 2017, he was awarded the Elizabeth Cross, the highest military decoration for valor in Aquitayne and the United Kingdom armed forces, for his involvement in a joint Aquitaynian-Symphonian raid in Corvus that lead to the capture of three high-ranking Heraldan Rebels leaders in 2014. He is the first living recipient of the Elizabeth Cross for actions in The War in New Pangus, and the first Elizabeth Cross recipient in over 30 years.
Kerling joined the Aquitaynian Army in 2009, at the age of 19, and was subsequently assigned to the 1st Air Assault Battalion, of the 1st Kommandosow Brigade. He served two tours of duty in New Pangus during Operation United Resolve and Operation Enduring Resolve.
Elizabeth Cross action
The action for which Kerling was awarded the Elizabeth Cross occurred on the 15th of June, 2015, in the capital city of Corvus. While attached to a specialized unit of the 1st Air Assault Battalion, his Kommandosow patrol left their forward-operating base to link with Symphonian Marines to conduct a search and seizure of illegal weapons suspected of being harbored inside an apartment complex deep in the dense urban areas of the city. The patrol utilized armored vehicles to reach their target, and once arrived, were engaged by heavy machine gun fire and rocket-propelled grenades. The lead vehicle was destroyed by an improvised explosive device which killed the Kerling's platoon leader, Lieutenant Francis Morris.
Kerling exited his vehicle in the convoy and began directing fire to the top-side machine gunners, telling them to engage the small arms fire coming from various levels of the apartment complex. Taking command of the situation, he gave orders to disembark the vehicles and enter the apartment complex to directly engage the enemy. While directing the counter-assault, Kerling noticed that the rear contingent of the convoy had been pinned down and were taking casualties as the middle vehicle of the convoy had been destroyed by an RPG.
Seeing this, Kerling raced back to the rear of the detachment and began giving first aid to the wounded. Simultaneously, Kerling got on the radio and began coordinating air support and MEDEVACs for the wounded. While running back and forth between the rear detachment and the front of the convoy, Kerling was shot in the right thigh, just to the right of his femoral artery. Wrapping up his wound, he continued to carry wounded to the rear of the convoy and prepare them to be extracted.
In order to provide adequate cover for the wounded to be extracted, Kerling manned one of the .50 caliber machine guns on one of the convoy vehicles and opened fire on the enemy, suppressing them for long enough to allow the first evacuations to commence. From there, Kerling ran ammunition from the rear of the convoy to the front, where his men were continuously engaging the enemy. It was during this time that Kerling was shot a second time. This round hit Kerling in the left shoulder. Even still, Kerling continued to coordinate air support and reinforcements to subdue enemy forces.
The fighting lasted for roughly five hours, and at the end of the engagement an estimated sixty insurgents had been killed with eight coalition deaths and twenty-five wounded. All those at the scene attested to Kerling moving each of those wounded and killed himself.
Honors and decorations
|Elizabeth Cross, Second Class (EC)||8 February 2017, "in recognition of gallantry in action and disregard for one's own personal safety and life in the defense of their comrades.".|
|Gallantry Cross (GC)||5 December 2015, "in recognition of gallant action in the Battle of Corvus in leading men and subduing the enemy through superior bravery and willpower.".|
|Conspicuous Combat Action Medal||5 December 2015, "for bravery in the face of overwhelming odds, and keeping composure in battle to lead his men to victory."|
|Order of the Most Revered Patriots||24 December 2016, "for wounds sustained in combat in Corvus fighting the enemy."|
|Army Combat Action Medal||With clasp ' Pangus '|
|United Kingdom Service Medal||2010|
|Foreign Service Medal||For deployment to Insula Fera. 2014.|
|Operation United Resolve Campaign Medal||2014|
|Operation Enduring Resolve Campaign Medal||2015|
|Insula Fera Campaign Medal||2015|