Aged 42, Stuart Tootal was commissioned into the Queen’s Own Highlanders from Sandhurst in 1988. He initially served in Germany during the Cold War and completed several emergency tours of Northern Ireland during the ‘Troubles’. He saw active service as a reconnaissance platoon commander in the 1991 Gulf War and as the chief of staff of 1 PARA during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He has also completed two MOD staff appointments. First as a Major in the Army’s strategic planning department and then as the Lieutenant Colonel military assistant to the Assistant Chief of the General Staff, a role for which he was awarded the OBE.
He was selected to command the 3rd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment (3 PARA) in 2005. This included commanding the first UK Battle Group of 1200 soldiers to be sent to Helmand Province in Southern Afghanistan in 2006, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. The fighting 3 PARA participated in during their six month tour of duty in Afghanistan has been described as the most intense combat the British Army has experienced since the Korean War. It involved 498 engagements with the Taliban and the expenditure of over 479,000 rounds of ammunition. Fifteen members of the Battle Group were killed in action and another 46 were wounded in combat. The numerous gallantry awards for the Battle Group included a posthumous Victoria Cross and George Cross. On returning to the UK, he set up the 3 PARA Afghan Trust charity. The charity provides support to the seriously wounded soldiers and the next of kin of those members of 3 PARA that were killed in the fighting.
Following promotion to full Colonel in 2007, he resigned from the Army and is pursuing a career in corporate banking security. He is also a media defence and security commentator and has lectured regularly on leadership in complex environments to a number of business organisations. He is a trustee of the 3 PARA Afghan Trust and remains active in raising funds for Armed Forces charities.
He is a graduate of the Joint Services Command and Staff College. He also holds a Master in Philosophy in International Relations from Cambridge University and an MA in Defence Studies from London University. He completed a six month visiting research fellowship at King’s College London University in 2004, where he wrote a thesis on the post-9/11 strategic security environment.
Danger Close, Col. Stuart Tootal’s first book, was published in 2009 by John Murray. A Sunday Times Bestseller, Danger Close has received widespread praise. His second book, The Manner of Men: 9 PARA’s Heroic D-Day Mission, was published by John Murray in May 2013.
Associate's name: Laura Williams
Telephone number: 020 7344 1029
DANGER CLOSE: COMMANDING 3 PARA IN AFGHANISTAN
Colonel Stuart Tootal is the first senior commander to provide an account of the fighting in Afghanistan. A gritty portrayal of unforgiving conflict, Danger Close captures the essence of combat, the risks involved and the aftermath. 3 PARA was the first unit into Helmand in 2006. Sent on a peace mission, it became engaged in a level of combat that has not been experienced by the British Army since the end of the Korean War. Undermanned and suffering from equipment shortages, 3 PARA fought doggedly to win the break in battle. Numerous gallantry decorations were awarded, but they were not without cost. On returning from Afghanistan, Tootal fought to get proper treatment for his wounded and feeling frustrated with the Government’s treatment of its soldiers, he resigned from the Army. This is a dramatic, and often moving, insight into the leadership of soldiers and the sharp end of war.
PUBLISHER: John Murray
PUBLICATION DATE: 27 July 2009
THE MANNER OF MEN: 9 PARA’S HEROIC D-DAY MISSION
PUBLISHER: John Murray
PUBLICATION DATE: 9th May 2013