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SSgt Adam Marshall MBE

02 July 2015

A British soldier from the Corps of Royal Engineers who delivered a 100-bed Ebola Treatment Unit in eight weeks in Sierra Leone is to be recognised with an MBE in the latest Operational Honours and Awards list for ‘demonstrating maturity and leadership far beyond his rank’, it has been announced.

Chilwell-based Staff Sergeant Adam Marshall, aged 37, stepped into a role normally filled by an experienced Captain. Taking command of a remote Forward Operating Base (FOB), he rapidly built a close-knit team that displayed the highest standards of discipline and military professionalism.

On learning of the award Adam, a Military Plant Foreman in 170 Infrastructure Support Group, said: “It’s slightly surreal to be honest. It sounds like an old cliché but obviously I was doing my job in Sierra Leone and I don’t class it as anything other than that. I was quite shocked to be fair.”

Adam and his team deployed as the Vanguard STRE [Specialist Team Royal Engineers] to Freetown at a moment’s notice because of the Ebola crisis. He said: “It was something new to us. It was something we’d never done before so it was completed in a very good time.

“It was busy. My days were full, constantly, but I absolutely loved it. I had a really, really great bunch of guys working with me at the FOB and working with me on site. And they just made life a lot easier.”

His citation states: “Marshall demonstrated exceptional presence, building trust and understanding between his team, members of the Sierra Leone Armed Forces, the engineering contractor and the large locally employed unskilled workforce,” transforming the construction company into a capable and well managed organisation.”

It was very rewarding

Father of three Adam found his time in Sierra Leone very rewarding. He said: “It was a good feeling being in Sierra Leone because they’re very pro-British and they really appreciated what we were doing and appreciated us being there. And, seeing so many people work so hard in the heat that we had in West Africa was just a pleasure to see on a daily basis.

SSgt Adam Marshall MBE“It was hard work. I’ve worked in Kenya before, but I’ve never worked in the humidity of West Africa before. It was draining because it’s totally different to what we experience in the UK, even in Afghanistan where it’s a dry heat.”

Adam’s citation continued: “His inspirational leadership, personal dedication, drive and tenacity to see things through was emulated by the wider community, who under quarantine, responded and rallied to the cause. Marshall’s enormous contribution in creating a 100-bed Ebola Treatment Unit in just eight weeks cannot be understated.”

Adam, who is already a recipient of the Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service (QCVS) for his work in Afghanistan, said: “Handing the facility over to what was going to encourage people to go and get Ebola treatment and to get their symptoms diagnosed early and their possible survival, and helping the district - it was a brilliant feeling.”

The announcement was made today (2 July 15) with the release of the latest operational honours and awards list, which includes 55 personnel. The awards are principally for actions on Op GRITROCK in Sierra Leone and Op HERRICK in Afghanistan, and cover the period 1 July to 31 December 2014.

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