Stuart Tootal Keynote Speaker
- Commanded 1,200 British troops in most intense fighting since Falklands War
- Decorated for "outstanding leadership"
- Head of global security for leading UK banking group
As Commanding Officer of the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment (3 PARA), Stuart Tootal DSO commanded the UK’s first battle group to deploy to Southern Afghanistan in 2006. Stuart’s 1,200 strong battle group was tasked with providing security to reconstruction efforts, a deployment the Ministry of Defence hoped would pass without a shot being fired.
In fact, during their six month deployment, Stuart’s men saw near continuous combat – one gruelling battle after another – in what would become one of the most extraordinary campaigns ever fought by British troops. Around parched, dusty outposts reliant on a limited number of helicopters for food and ammunition resupply, troops were subjected to relentless Taliban attacks, as well as energy-sapping 50 degree heat and spartan conditions. At the end of the tour, the Taliban offensive had been tactically defeated. But 3 PARA paid a high price: fourteen soldiers and one interpreter were killed, and 46 wounded.
Stuart Tootal is now Head of Global Security for a major financial services provider.