A Royal Navy Consultant Radiologist from the South West who extended her tour in Afghanistan to ensure that Afghan surgical teams could successfully treat their own wounded soldiers, has been presented with her OBE Medal.
Surgeon Commander Jo Leason, who grew up in Yealmpton, near Plymouth, was made an OBE in the Operational Honours and Awards List for her “inspired leadership and dogmatic resolve” during her time in Afghanistan.
Before she arrived Afghan National Security Force (ANSF) doctors had only performed one simple surgical procedure at Camp Shorabak in the south west of the country. Now they have performed several hundred, largely on battle injuries, and are better placed to assess and treat their own wounded.
Receiving her OBE Medal at Buckingham Palace, Surg Cdr Leason, said: “I feel immensely proud to receive this award, in particular to follow in my father, David Keogh’s, footsteps as he was awarded a CBE in 2000. Luckily my sister is also able to attend as she is visiting from South Africa which has really been the icing on the cake.”
The 39-year-old, who was head girl at St Dunstan’s Abbey before pursuing a career in medicine, grew up in Yealmpton, Devon. She now works as a link between UK and Afghan forces at PJHQ in Northwood, Hertfordshire.
Surg Cdr Leason added: “One year on from my initial involvement, progress has continued with the UK mentors working daily with the ANSF. As we move through the summer of 2014 the ANSF surgical facility will increasingly take responsibility for the majority of their casualties, this is key to supporting their troops as we head towards Transition later this year.”
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry and is awarded to those who make a significant impact in support of UK interests. A large gold star it is worn on a red ribbon.