A WREXHAM soldier has returned to Wales with an Army award for a lifesaving idea.
Staff Sergeant Keith Phillips was serving in Iraq as an equipment manager for 39 Regiment Royal Artillery, the Welsh Gunners.
He said: “We were using a device called an Advanced Sound Ranging Project (ASP) which is an acoustic weapon locator.
“It has three microphones which can be deployed around an airfield or on the top of buildings. When a rocket or mortar is fired, it picks up the sound waves and works out which direction the rocket came from and the direction of the impact.
“The ASPs I was responsible for were situated on the roof tops of buildings in Basra City and the airbase. They ran on two batteries with a lifespan of between six to eight hours.
“That meant the soldiers have to get out on the roof to replace the batteries every few hours. Being on a roof top they were vulnerable and exposed to incoming fire so it was a dangerous place to be when the threat was high.”
Sgt Phillips, 45, came up with the idea of running the sensors from main power using batteries as a back up in case the mains went down.
He said: “It was a simple idea but it made a difference. As well as being cost effective, saving about £57,000, it also saves lives which you can’t put a price on.”
Sgt Phillips has now received a GEMS award at the Imperial War Museum in London from the Chief of Defence Staff Air Chief Marshall Sir Jock Stirrup.
Sgt Phillips has returned to Wrexham to become a recruiter at the recruiting office in Rhosddu Road.