A GREAT Harwood fighter jet engineer has been presented with a medal for his service in Afghanistan with the Royal Navy.
Leading Air Engineer Technician Kris Ansell, 26, of Russell Place, was awarded the campaign medal for his four months spent in the war zone last year.
Kris who is a former pupil of Great Harwood Primary School and Norden High School and Sports College, was in the country between July and December protecting the Kandahar air base.
His role, as aircraft engineer in the Fleet Air Arm, was to service Harrier jump jets and keep them flying around the clock.
He was part of the joint forces Harrier team – a partnership between the RAF and Navy.
A ceremony was held at RAF Cottesmore in Leicestershire when Kris was presented with the medal, given to servicemen who serve in a war zone for more than 30 days, by the Second Sea Lord.
He was proudly watched by parents Lesley, 50, a sales assistant at Marks and Spencer in Blackburn, and John, 53, a night manager at Asda in Horwich, and girlfriend Natalie Gregory.
His dad said: “We felt very proud to see him receive the medal. Hopefully it is the first of many for him.
“We tried not to worry about him when he was serving in Afghanistan. It was upsetting when the soldier from Clayton-le-Moors died while on active service because it really brought it home to us.
“He’s now gone to Nevada for a month where he will be taking part in night-time and eye level bomb runs.
“He’s also been to Malaysia and has followed his Harrier planes all over the world. He might be going back to Afghanistan in August.”
Kris joined the Navy when he was 17 after attending an open day while holidaying with his parents in Plymouth.
His younger brother Ross, 18, also wants to go into the Forces.