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Lest We Forget Issue no 8 Issue no 8 15 15 November 2011 November 2011 Inside
Lest We Forget
Issue no 8
Issue no 8
November 2011
November 2011
Inside this issue:
Commanding Officer’s
The gathering—feel
the power
AES-CP Khaki
and Pipers working
with alongside the
The weather is finally turning towards the winter throughout Helmand. The
upgrade, LAD work-
ing with the
Engrs ,Life in Af-
ghanistan , the ASG
And by popular de-
change in seasons brings both advantages and disadvantages. On one
hand, the cooler temperatures stop the constant sweating and lethargy in-
duced by the extreme heat; the sunbathing has now stopped and thankfully
the physical work is easier- body armour is now, finally, comfortable rather
than a cooker! Conversely, the bad weather wrecks the roads, turning the
mand ―G4 it just
tracks to sludge in which they become almost impassable. The rain water
(which falls like a monsoon) lies on the ground for days and seeps into our
tents, sleeping bags and clothing… ..
HQ & Sp Sqn-
repairs to the Bastion
memorial wall, Camp
124 Phystastic
In all, the change in weather is noticeable and welcomed by the Regiment. I
recently spent some time with 37 Sqn in the North where they have been
working along side the Danish contingent. Despite being here for over 2
months, it was the first time I could meet some of the lads under Cpl Amos
and Doran-Thorpe, both of whom have had their sections in the thick of ac-
tion over the last few weeks. Irrepressibly upbeat, the work they‘ve done has
Op Massive, first find
been magnificent. More impressive is Cpl simpson; he is working by day in a
pretty basic Patrol Base and studying for a Masters Degree throughout the
night. How he can survive on 3hrs sleep a night with the pace of life over
BAG/RCC– RCC over-
ANA RCC capability
here is unbelievable.
Lastly, I also met up with the blokes supporting 2 MERCIANS. 9 Tp, 37 Sqn
are constantly denying the nearby area to the insurgents who consistently try
to attack the nearby bases. The Troop are using a mine flail in order to de-
stroy explosive devices in the ground.
Padre‘s Progress
Thankfully R&R is now in full swing, which is a great mental block for us out
here-we now count down the R&R blocks until our own; life becomes 2-week
segments until the R&R window closes in late Feb 12.
I‘d like to take the opportunity to reinforce the messages of thanks recently
Kids corner– Ellies
Blog and Baby Hec-
placed on our Regimental Facebook site to the Welfare element of the Rear
Ops Team. Their imagination and capacity to provide great events for the
wives and families in Paderborn is really getting noticed. Successful Sunday
lunches, trips to the local water park and a great Halloween party in the Light
Chillaxing and Down
Time NEW!!
Aid Detachment‘s vast hanger typifies a great team that is helping to make
the separation amongst the families and children a little easier to bear. From
all of us in Helmand, thank you.
Lieutenant Colonel Kev Copsey - Commanding Officer
Page 1
. The Gathering FEEL THE POWER The Commanding Officer and his Command Team during the 30


The Gathering FEEL THE POWER

The Commanding Officer and his Command Team during the 30 day review
The Commanding Officer and his Command Team during the 30 day review
The CO and the Squadron Commanders
The CO and the Squadron Commanders

Page 2

29 Armoured Engineer Squadron Officer Commanding’s Foreword
29 Armoured Engineer Squadron
Officer Commanding’s Foreword

Hello all,

  • I hope you have all had an enjoyable Halloween and Bon Fire Night since we last sent out an edition of

Trojan Times we have seen the pictures of the party back in Paderborn and it definitely topped our eve- ning here in Afghanistan. The Squadron continues to work in support of both the QRH and 5 RIFLES with plenty of tasks. The latest tasks have seen 4 troop building a new check point for the Afghan Uniformed Police alongside one of the major roads, with 5 troop and 6 troop focussed on upgrading routes (to call them roads would be to much!) in the more remote areas.

  • I write this fourth introduction (4 already!) having been out and involved in tasks with every troop over the

last 7 days I can report that everybody is in fighting spirit and enjoying both the number and variety of

jobs. My time out on tasks has reinforced the view that humour can get very black and our language can get very blue those in the Squadron reading this will know what I am talking about! It is not all about the troops deployed on the front line though. Nearly 20% of 29 is based in Camp Bastion doing the essential but often thankless task of supporting the troops and remainder of the Regiment. I will take this opportu- nity to tell you all that they do a brilliant job and without their tireless effort the Squadron would not be

achieving great success forward with the infantry. They won‘t thank me but the Seniors must receive a

mention SSgt Will Matthews, SSgt Taff Owen, SSgt Jim Snell, Sgt Axle Alecks and Sgt Jimmy Bellis. I make that 5 crates and next time I will name all the Juniors unless I receive a sufficiently large bung!

Whilst out on the ground with the troops I have been telling them all the details I have for the return back to Paderborn, the Medals Parade, post operational tour leave (we will have earned it) and early plans for 2012. My hope is that this information is now filtering back to you all in Germany and UK so families and friends can make plans for late March next year and beyond, if you are wanting to know more the please do contact the rear Operations team in Paderborn and they will tell you all they know at this stage.

This edition has articles from 4 Tp who have just finished building a CP for the Queens Royal Hussars and 6 Tp who have recovered 2 temporary sangers and replaced them with more permanent structures. Both tasks were physically demanding and involved working extremely long hours whist working to help im- prove the security of Helmand Province.

Si Carvel

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Check Point Khaki By Spr Hainey, 4 Troop Two months into the tour and the troop

Check Point Khaki

By Spr Hainey, 4 Troop

Two months into the tour and the troop would be ‗getting amongst it‘ on our first ‗proper‘ task, to build

Check Point (CP) Khaki. The aim was to cut off known insurgent supply routes and deny them freedom of movement within the Lashkar Gah Area, predominantly on and around Route 601. The task was to be bro- ken down into 3 major phases firstly the clearance of the area to be constructed on by search teams, secondly the construction of the walls to provide Force Protection and then finally the upgrade to make the CP habitable. The search team started bright and early (I mean dark early) with me in tow. All credit to the lads, they worked tirelessly clearing an area of 100m by 100 m in the searing heat with all of their protec- tive equipment on. All this was done under the protection of a Warrior(tanks) multiple from 5 Rifles who were well and truly dug in and ready for any eventuality. After an arduous 10 hour clearance the Brim- stone team were finished and ready for some well earned down time.

Filling HESCO
Filling HESCO

Phase 2 began with another early start and a road move consisting of sev- eral different cap badges including the trucks carrying our stores, tools sup- plied by the Queens Royal Hussars and our infantry escort from the Recon- naissance Platoon, 1 Princess of Wales Royal Regiment (PWRR). It was good to see all the wheels turning in the same direction, especially as it was

a joint operation. Once on the ground the task started with the construction of the Force Protection (FP), which consisted of the perimeter walls and 2 HESCO sangars. The lads in the troop dug out blind during the whole of FP

construction and barring few hiccups. The task went as well as I could have hoped for and we managed to complete the FP phase ahead of schedule. Thanks to the hard work of the plant operators Sprs Bingham, Coveney and Ratcliffe and of course me with next to nearly no sleep.

Before the upgrade in phase 3, we were able to reorganise ourselves back in PB Attal and get some well earned rest before returning to fin- ish the job. The upgrade consisted of constructing all the basic ameni-

Sangar construction
Sangar construction

ties in order for a force to be able to live in relative comfort including shower and toilet units, winterisation of the CP itself and a means of waste disposal. Again the fine men of 4 Troop, 29 Armd Engr Sqn pulled it out the bag and managed to complete the upgrade in 36 hours in-

stead of the planned 96, well done us. Obviously that meant that the ISAF multiple could move in earlier than expected and begin partnered operations with the ANSF. Happy that the new occupants were con- tent with their new home for the foreseeable future we were able to col-

Time for a pose
Time for a pose

lapse the site and make our way back for tea and medals.

The task was a success for everyone involved allowing the Queen‘s

Royal Hussars to commence partnered patrols immediately. Everyone had a massive part to play in the herculean effort to get the CP built ahead of schedule and also keeping spirits lifted throughout with some

good banter.

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The Pipers Working Alongside the Afghan National Army By Spr Burns-Muir 6 Tp 6 Troop‘s first

The Pipers Working Alongside the Afghan National Army

By Spr Burns-Muir 6 Tp

6 Troop‘s first task working alongside the Afghan National Army (ANA) was at a small base called Check

Point 3 (CP3), in the NES(S) area of Helmand Province. The ANA had recently taken over the base from

ISAF and the decision had been made by their commanders to replace the guard towers with more per- manent HESCO structures. CP3 is situated on the main road that runs across Helmand and the guard

towers are very important for providing ‗eyes on‘ and security along the route. Therefore, 6 Troop were

called into action ...

After a short road move from our usual home in PB Nahidullah, 16 section lead by Cpl Abbott arrived at our temporary base in PB 2. Luckily, the majority of 5 Troop were out at the time on task so there was plenty of space for us to make our own during the short period of time we would be living there (thanks 5 Troop!). Following a quick heads up from Capt Cox on the task, we finished our final preparation and had

a good night‘s sleep before the inevitable early start.

Partnered activity
Partnered activity

The first day on task started with the arrival of the civilian stores trucks deliv- ering aggregate. We had to search and measure everyone to make sure they were delivering the correct amount. Luckily, Cpl Abbott had our trusty interpreter Mohammed with him and the negotiation went smoothly and sur- prisingly, the correct amounts were delivered first time! Following the arrival of the stores we set about dismantling the old guard tower, which included the relocation of a number of ANA soldiers that had moved their beds into the framework of the tower! After a slow start by the ANA (reluctant to get out of their beds) they were soon helping us to take down the old structure.

By the end of the first day the main part of the tower was down ready to start the new tower the following day.

Following a small site clear up, we were ready to construct the new guard towers. Spr Thompson fired up his machine and set about collecting the soil to fill the new structure. For many of the section, this was their first time using Mil 7 (1m x 1m) HESCO baskets. These giant baskets are as tall as an average man and require a lot of hard work and concentration to construct right first time. After the initial test and adjust, the section was working like a well oiled machine. Spr Thompson and LCpl Isaac using their trucks and diggers to fill the basket, whilst Spr Robson, Johnson and myself made sure that they were levelled and compacted correctly also known as HESCO hopping! The new tower began to take shape very quickly, even with the constant requests from the

Nearly there
Nearly there

ANA to borrow our tools to work on the rest of their compound. We soon came to an agreement that we would help them with the works when we were on our lunch breaks, cutting spare wood and fixing jobs soon had the ANA on side and willing to help out. Once into a rhythm, the HESCO structure was completed within two days and the second one went up without a glitch.

Not quite Wembley
Not quite Wembley

The experience of working alongside the ANA was extremely interesting. They do not have a lot in the compound to keep them entertained and they were very grateful of any work that we did for them, We enjoyed doing the work for them and the occasional game of football towards the end of the day always helped to boost morale. Following the completion of the works the ANA now have a much safer base to operate from, enabling them to provide security along one of the main roads through Helmand Province for a long time to come.

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37 Armoured Engineer Squadron Officer Commanding’s Foreword
37 Armoured Engineer
Officer Commanding’s Foreword

The tour is really flying by and Camp Bastion has come alive this week as the Armoured Support Group has returned for some much needed maintenance, and the lads have started flying back through for R&R. We also had an equipment maintenance study period and all the Squadron's SSgts flew back in to be re- vised on all the various processes and paperwork in theatre (SSgts Scott, Adcock and Norman were liter- ally broken that day by the QM's chat - I feel your pain Gentlemen).

At the front everything is still going well - I got around pretty much the whole AO, with Sergeant-Major Driver this last week and we also escorted the CO and RSM who were impressed by the work the lads are doing. 7 Troop have just finished a major task and you can read a blow by blow account from SSgt Scott below (I am refusing to call him Nighthawk). 8 Troop have also been busy upgrading bases and are about to start a major project to prepare one of bases to have more people in it. The current location has no in- frastructure at all to speak of so they are living in very basic conditions, surviving on barbecues every night for tea. 9 Troop have been preparing for their next adventure which will see them using the latest bit of equipment available to us - an exciting opportunity for us all (more of this next time).

Back in Bastion, Captain Dominic 'Rain-Man' Riley has now departed on leave which has had two radical effects - firstly productivity in the Dental Centre seems to have risen and secondly WO2 Driver's free time seems to have decreased (as he is covering him), although there still seems to be plenty of time for the 'Guns Show'. The QM's team have continued to do some great work and we have had a couple of good inspections - I am hugely grateful for all their hard work.

I hope you are all well at home - we are now well in to the tour and December feels just around the corner. Please remember to get your parcels posted by 2 December or they may not reach us in time, and mark them 'Personal For' so they can be distinguished from the general welfare ones that we get a lot of. I hope you are seeing the various posts on Facebook and we will continue to get photos of our exploits up- loaded there as well. I wish you the very best.

Guy Boxall

Page 6

Patrol Base HAZRAT upgrade - 19 and 20 Sections 7 Troop (God’s Own) by SSgt Scotty

Patrol Base HAZRAT upgrade - 19 and 20 Sections 7 Troop (God’s Own)

by SSgt Scotty ‘Nighthawk’ Scott

Ok so this month saw the whole troop deploy to PB HAZRAT which is a Danish run camp.

It was great to finally see 19 Section who had been ‗lost souls‘ up in Khar Nikah since the tour started!

Before we launched into this task we conducted a 3Cs operation, (Captain Clare Callahan) the Regimen-

tal Padre turned up to wish us well and send us on our way. Also before we deployed I went back to Bas-

tion on what can only be described as a ‗robbing mission‘ and thanks to SSgt Dickie Page for helping to fill

the back of my Wolfhound vehicle up with goodies for the lads!

Once we got to HAZRAT it was nice to see 19 Section (Cpl Amos and his Sapper Mortar team) arrive in




in obviously.

Now due to the fact no one from 29 Squadron was about, the mickey taking and leg pulling was soon aimed at inter section level.

The lads soon continued to strengthen our ties to B Coy DANBAT (The Royal Danish Hussars) which sounds dead posh but they all do really look like Dolph Lundgren or crazy Viking types and soon we were taking

the mickey out of them too. There are also a couple of US Marine Corps

lads there who we started to ‗civilise‘ and teach them how to make tea

(proper tea, Taylors of Harrogate - none of that foreign muck for the Queens troops)

Working together
Working together

We deployed 5 days early due to the Eid local celebrations, so the lads being the damn fine Engineers that they are were soon running round the PB making the place a safe and secure environment for the Danish to live in. Cpl D-T was instrumental in giving the camp lighting, and the Plant Operators (Planties) once again proving they are the true Gods on this tour with some sterling work in their tractors.

At one stage we ‗lost‘ Spr Lear and Spr Themaras as they looked like ‗locals‘ and could always be found

down at the Afghan National Army (ANA) compound. The ANA lads based there have a pet monkey which is trained to assault Brits, yet even the monkey was fooled into believing these two are actually Afghans!

Patrol Base HAZRAT upgrade - 19 and 20 Sections 7 Troop (God’s Own) by SSgt Scotty

Some well needed improve- ments

Now due to only being a PB they get limited food and water and its proper world

war two style rationing (ask the QM for details), and Spr ‗Look at my guns‘

Pangop was soon sulking due to the limited food supply, however once the Dan- ish resupply came in and we were given the order to eat, he chomped his way through six square meals a day.

Page 7

The highlight of the task was the rebuilding of the cookhouse area. The lads and lasses
The highlight of the task was the rebuilding of the cookhouse
area. The lads and lasses did me proud by making not only the
cookhouse, but also using spare stores the Danes had ac-
crued. They soon had up a kitchen, food prep area and pantry
(see QM for description of pantry), rebuilt the girls shower area
and toilets and the planties sorted out the front gate to camp.
All in record time!
The new cook house

As we left, the Danish and American troops in HAZRAT were very gratefully for the STEEL support and said we are easily better than their own countries Engineers. HAPPY DAYS!

The highlight of the task was the rebuilding of the cookhouse area. The lads and lasses

Now most of you know I hate flying, and at the time of writing this report the USMC are flying me back to my troop tomorrow, stand by for an update in the next issue of Trojan Times to see if I can be sick in the back of their helicopter/plane thingy!

Page 8

An attachment to the Engineers by Craftsman Wilson - LAD (Light Aid Detachment) I am Craftsman

An attachment to the Engineers

by Craftsman Wilson - LAD (Light Aid Detachment)

I am Craftsman Hayley ―Fixingdorf‖ Wilson and I am currently deployed as the vehicle mechanic for 7

Troop in MOB Price. My job is to maintain and inspect 7 Troop‘s wagons. When the troop are deployed

on the ground I have many other jobs which include Second in Command of brew making (Spr Rumbelow,

known as ―Storingdorf‖ is the chief brew maker), mail collector (none of which belongs to Lt Cole, despite his claims to having a ―fan club‖ back home), forwarding the mail to any random unit who‘s mail we seem to receive regularly. I also have adopted the roll of Troop hairdresser and I have done a fontsiln job on Spr ―Jonny‖ Whitakers hair, strangely nobody has asked me to do it since.

In my spare time I like to play Bop-it Extreme 2 and currently hold the high score with 216, which is down to hours of practise, hard work and much dedication to the sport. For those of you that are not familiar with ―Bop-it‖ it is an electronic toy that makes lots of irritating noises, much to the annoyance of Lt Cole and SSgt Scott.

When the vehicles and the Troop come in after tasks, Spr ―Stevie‖ Taylor kindly makes sure I am kept

busy by his problem vehicle; a HUSKY. This has a jobs list as long as King Kong‘s… erm… arm. Fingers

crossed after hours of work half of the electrical systems replaced the wagon should breeze all inspec-

tions! The Troop‘s biggest concern at the moment though seems to be the fixing of the air conditioning

system, it might be the start of winter but it's still pretty hot.

Also whilst being deployed out here in Afghanistan I have been able to brush up on my wood work skills. I

have helped make a rifle rack and a gun rack and also shelves for all of the Troop‘s equipment. Nothing I

made is quite as amazing as Spr ―Brian‖ Shorthouse‘s (armoured god/local leg-end), awesome umpires chair for the volleyball court, this should be useful when we finally get around to having our tournament against the Search team based on camp.

We have many creatures here living at Price and that‘s not including members of the Troop. We had one times Camel Spider that thought it would come along and watch Top Gear with the guys, but this didn‘t

last long. It was frozen to death by a can of athlete‘s foot powder spray (from a safe distance with every-

one screaming like girls).

We also had a mouse that used to watch Troopy Cole while he worked in the ops room until he bravely chased it under the flooring. This was followed by lots of rustling, squeaking and hissing from under the floorboards leading everyone to think that there was a snake (or a dragon or whatever else their imagina- tion stretched to) living under there. This has led us to start singing the theme tune from the TV show

―Trapdoor‖ when we are in there.

Page 9

Life in Afghanistan by Spr Bond 8 Tp I am currently serving on my first operational

Life in Afghanistan

by Spr Bond 8 Tp

  • I am currently serving on my first operational tour of Afghanistan. We deployed in September and have already completed various tasks on the ground. The tasks we have been detailed with have primarily

been construction, winterisation of existing camps and building a Check Point from scratch.

Living in Afghanistan has given a new meaning to ―living out of a bag‖, as we shower out of a bag, eat out

of a bag and last of all go to the toilet in a bag.

The standard of

food and accommodation largely varies between camps. The two ends of the spectrum so far which have been camp Bastion at the top end which had quality food, facilities and accommodation and then down to Camp Ouellette which was anything but Camp Bas- tion. As for the patrol bases, we take what we can get. Sapper Carter-Smith has proven himself a fabulous chef and we even managed to get a few barbeques which are always good for mo- rale.

  • I have already been adopted by the local police who invited me for

tea after they decided that we had been doing a fantastic job. The

local ―chai‖(tea) was interesting and I was then harassed by them

Another break
Another break

for the following days to come for tea again, to which I had to accept. They are a friendly bunch and al-

though I didn‘t understand anything of what they said although they seemed similar to us with lots of ban-

ter flying around.

So far I am enjoying my experience in Afghanistan, it has been a lot busier than I expected and I hope we manage to achieve all the tasks set to us as a Troop. It has been interesting meeting the local people and

especially the children who took great joy in bullying LCpl Wright whilst we winterised one of the PB‘s. I

am very much looking forward to making it back to the UK for a cold beer.

Armoured Support Group to ABACOT

by Cpl Roberts 9 Tp

As well as many other tasks across our area (Armoured Support Group being the best, obviously) 37 Squadron have also taken on strength a new vital piece of equipment called

My gun is bigger than your gun
My gun is bigger than your gun

‗ABACOT‘. This piece of equipment has been sent all over Camp Bastion

along with some highly skilled civilian advisors from the UK and with operators Sprs Pascoe, Broxton and Evans, who have been put through testing that even Top Gear would find hard to beat. Like a Swiss penknife, it has various attachments for different jobs.

Once these lads had completed their refresher training, Cpl AJ ‗Huge Guns‘ Roberts and Sgt ‗Fraz‘ Weatherston were brought in to oversee the use of it

out on the ground. Now we‘re up in FOB Ouellete with 9 Troop, everyone here has been interested in this

new character in the vehicle park. Yesterday we ran a demonstration for the infantry company to show off our skills as many had been bemused earlier in the day when the ABACOT had been working around

camp but no operators were in sight! On the whole, all members involved in the future operation are look-

ing forward to seeing this ‗Robot Wars‘ style machine in action, and we‘ll keep you updated with how we

get on.

Page 10

“G4…It Just Happens” - The Land of Oz. The Wizard This week the Echelon department is

“G4…It Just Happens” - The Land of Oz.

The Wizard
The Wizard

This week the Echelon department is going to be referred to as the Land of Oz

complete with characters as it‘s a place full of magic and wonder! Firstly let‘s

introduce you to the main players.

Capt Joe Monaghan (The Wizard…not because he is a fountain of knowledge

but because he looks like Simon Whitlock the Darts professional minus the beard).

SSgt Dickie Page (Cowardly Lion…not because he is full of bravery but because he is scared of PT).

SSgt Si Anderson (Tin Man…plain and simple, the man has no heart).

SSgt Tony McDermott (Tick Tock…Because he is a soldier, fat and lags as the day goes on and has to be

wound up just after lunch to make it through the day).

Cpl Robbo Robertson (The Rock King…because he is a fossil).

Cpl Karma Rai (Wicked Witch……Hated because of the Iron Man Competition).

Cpl Billy Suksiri (Dorothy….because he lives in his own little world).

LCpl Danny Gardiner (Toto…Because he follows Billy everywhere).

Spr Talbot (Scarecrow….He is lacking in the upstairs department).

Well it has been another glorious two weeks in Oz and as usual there has been mountains of work that

―Just Happens‖. Firstly there was Engineer Logistic Inspection which was the Regiment‘s first official in-

spection of the tour in which the G4 team were heavily involved. 37 Armd Engr Sqn were volunteered by the Wizard to get inspected 5 days before we were supposed to, but due to the efforts of the Wicked

Witch, Tick Tock and the Scarecrow the inspection went extremely well with the Sqn being awarded Best Practice throughout the Regiment. Next in Oz came an inspection in preparation for the Equipment Care Inspection, with the Tin Man, Rock King, Dorothy and Toto all working until the small hours to ensure the inspection went smoothly. Again Oz excelled and the Pre-Inspection was well above the required stan- dard despite the Rock King (who‘s sponsored by Dyson) hoovering all of the Kit-Kats that were meant to be for sweetening the inspector.

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Some moments to savour in Oz these past few weeks have been the Wizard eating his

Some moments to savour in Oz these past few weeks have been the Wizard eating his way through cakes, acting as Chief Taster of each variety and leaving none for the rest of Oz. The Wicked Witch has been as popular as ever catching the guys returning to Bastion for a well deserved break in preparation for R&R. He has been ensuring they are suitably thrashed on his Iron Man Competition before leaving for

the flight. There is simply no escape and the Wicked Witch will catch you no matter what time of day…

unless you are the 2ic and cry off with a mysterious-minute-flu!

Another few things during the busy time in Oz have been the Scarecrow missing his first Guard Duty be- cause he ―forgot‖. The Cowardly Lion nearly found some courage and actually got some PT kit on but on-

route to the Gym he got distracted by the smoking area and consequently missed PT again. Tick Tock went to sleep at dinner again but only after telling some of his jokes. He calls them jokes but he and his 3

yr old son are the only ones who find them funny. Son thinks Dad‘s funny; that‘s what counts though. The Tin Man has now informed us that ‗Christmas is overrated‘ and he ‗really can‘t see the point in Birth- days‘.

It‘s not all mysterious in the land of G4. Cpl Bugler and Sprs ‗G‘ Sealy and ‗V‘ Phoughat have been hard at work doing the jobs people hate, which mainly includes a never-ending ream of accounting. Spr ‗Glass- eye‘ Hough is the unsung hero that is utilised by everyone, he goes about his business quietly, not

through choice but because when he is actually heard it means whoever is within the vicinity is affected by narcolepsy.

There is still a long way to go on the Yellow Brick Road (Herrick 15) and a lot of adventures to come. Will the Lion pluck up enough courage to open the dust-covered box of his new trainers? Will the Tin Man find a heart; stranger things have hap- pened? Will Tick Tock manage to stay awake for a full working day and will the Wizard manage to control his computer rage (the chances of the current laptop lasting to Christmas are not good)? All of these questions and more will be answered as the journey continues!

G4 posing
G4 posing

The Wizards Top Tips

  • 1. A melted Kit-Kat is the only safe Kit-Kat; it leaves too much evidence for the Rock King.

  • 2. When showing off on the TRX trainer (fabric straps that move like a skipping rope through a kara-

biner) attached to the pull-up bar, don‘t try a one-handed pull-up because gravity takes over and you‘ll

take a dirt nap.

  • 3. Always ensure you volunteer to go first it can pay off.

  • 4. Place the smoking area by the gym (for the Cowardly Lion)

Page 12

37 AES Rear Operations Group (ROG) by Sgt Sean Killen Firstly for the wives and children,

37 AES Rear Operations Group (ROG)

by Sgt Sean Killen

Firstly for the wives and children, LAD set up an excellent Halloween party on Sunday 30th September, following that we had the Bonfire Night on Friday 4th November which brought out a massive crowd, and Sunday 6th November we had the families Sunday lunch in Chards Restaurant which has had excellent feed back from the families.

The past couple of weeks have seen the squadron ROG involved in a varied array of tasks and recrea- tional activities. Work duties have included de-gunging the Squadron bar in preparation for its redecora- tion, not the easiest job considering how sticky the floor was, and the checking and re-checking of the troop stores which was also a time consuming job. The Reserve Troop have continued with Military An- nual Training Test training and PT.

Regular PT sessions have been on the agenda for the remainder also, and this has been coupled with members of the squadron playing for the regimental football team. The team were invited to a tournament against other 20 Brigade unit teams including QRH, 5 Rifles and 3 Battalion REME. The Regimental team came out on top and subsequently a league is now being organised for the teams.

The squadron has also been on a trip to the local bowling alley for a well deserved day out. The time was enjoyed by all, some more merrily than others.

Members of the squadron have also been helping with finding and transporting wood for the Regimental Bonfire Night, an evening enjoyed by all the wives and children.

Page 13

44 HQ & SP SQN NEWS Officer Commanding Foreword
Officer Commanding Foreword

Well as the OC of 44 HQ & Sp Sqn, I have been looking through all the other previous articles and have

established that my photo isn‘t one of an ―Ally war type‖ picture as all the other OC‘s are, so I thought I

would give you a mugshot of my work environment!!! As you can see it‘s all pipes and tubes here!

Life in the sqn is moving at a rapid rate of knots with guys now starting to go home on some well deserved R & R and others now counting the short days they have left until theirs. This has kept the Squadron Ser- geant Major, WO2 (SSM) Scott Misun very busy planning in the dates and giving regular briefs to the lucky ones who will depart on their two week, well deserved break.

The work rate has not let up, with all departments continuing to work hard in all tasks that are thrown their way. We have had a couple of inspections involving the G4 (accounts, stores and Equipment Care) areas of the Sqn which has kept them hard at work preparing vehicles and procedures for scrutiny by the inspectors from outside the Engr Gp. Happily there have been no major problems and the guys have dug out blind to ensure that the Sqn maintains a good working ethos in all that we do, so a big well done for that.

The SQMS department, under the witty guidance of SSgt ―Webertron‖ Webster, have been extremely

busy preparing all the troops for life in the wet cold winter by ordering all new waterproofs for the Regi- ment. This has been quite a painstaking task, there is in excess of 300 personnel to cater for. Picking up, receiving and issuing it all out to the guys that need it the most can be a tiresome long task.

Located on the other side of the office complex you have Sgt Mick Pumfrey and Spr ―Mani‖ Jere who work

long and unsociable hours to ensure that all the troops forward continue to receive the required spares for the broken and damaged vehicles. They also feed the Light Aid Detachment (LAD) with their endless re- quirement of spares, this may sound simple but when you receive in excess of 500 items a week which need processing and distributing, an enduring task which Sgt Mick Pumfrey and his one man team take on with no complaints.

So a different angle again on Sqn life from some of the departments who are hard at work ensuring that

the bigger picture requirements are met and that the Engr Gp and Sqn are smooth running, but as is al-

ways reiterated, these guys can‘t achieve this without your support from back home, so a big thank you to

you all, and hope all is well back there. I look forward to giving you another update on the elements of the Sqn in the next edition. Still to beat is eight blueys at once, the challenge is out there see if you can better it.

Chris Darke

Page 14

CAMP BASTION MEMORIAL WALL By The CSC With Remembrance Day fast approaching the memorial wall on


By The CSC

With Remembrance Day fast approaching the memorial wall on the Bastion vigil site was in dire need of a face lift. Paint was flaking from the wall, surface cracks had appeared on the cenotaph, the brass cenotaph cross was damaged, and the general appearance of the site was poor. The Garrison Sergeant Major approached 35 Engineer Regiment requesting their assistance with improving the site, and in turn the Regimental Construction Supervision Cell

(RCSC) was tasked with carrying out the work.

A date of the 4 November 2011 for the work to be completed was given so that a dedication service for the memorial could be held exactly 1 week before Remem- brance Day. This would prove to be a tight deadline as the RCSC had to support the Regiment on several ongoing tasks in theatre, work on the memorial site would have to fit around this. With the help of civilian contractors at Bastion the cenotaph was re-plastered and the cross which is made of brass cartridge cases repaired. The wall, cenotaph and wooden posts that surround it were then

sanded down before being re-painted.

CAMP BASTION MEMORIAL WALL By The CSC With Remembrance Day fast approaching the memorial wall on

Spr Bakeburg replaces the memo- rial plaques

The final part of the task was to attach 11 brass plates to the memorial wall. These brass pates are engraved with the names of all the British service persons that have been killed in Afghanistan since operations began here 10 years ago. This part of the task proved to be the most challenging as the memorial wall is constructed from reinforced concrete blast walls. Over a two day period numerous drill bits were either broke or damaged, but all 11 plates were eventually secured to wall and the completion date met, allowing the dedication service to take place. The overall finish was to a very high standard befitting those named on the brass plates who had sac-

The final plaque is secured in place
The final plaque is secured in place

rificed their lives.

Despite the extra hours needed to complete the task, all of us that worked on the site felt very privileged to be able to do something that would show

our respect to our fallen comrades.

Page 15

Camp 124 the First 10 Weeks By WO2 (SSM) Scott Misun. The lads have been here

Camp 124 the First 10 Weeks

By WO2 (SSM) Scott Misun.

The lads have been here in Camp 124 (44 Sqncamp within Camp Bastion) for 10 weeks; plenty of time to settle into routine relax and let their guard down. I feel that it is only fair to share some of what I have seen with you guys at home.

Camp 124 appears to be one of the better Camps within Camp Bastion 1, and so it should be we have 100+ Royal Engineers living here. I have however noticed some unusual goings on. Shortly after arriving here a collection of tyres, ropes, sledgehammers, chains, clamps and exer- cise mats appeared near the volleyball court. After staking out the area for a couple of days I discovered that this is a frustration vent for a Neanderthal looking man who has also been spotted monkey running around the re-

Instruments of Pain
Instruments of Pain

source‘s yard.

The Sqn Operations Room has also lent itself to some oddity and is at the

mercy of unrelenting banter. Kingy, one of the signallers who works here has developed eyes similar to that of Igor the cartoon character and when he talks he sounds as if he has a major mucus problem.

Our other guy Paddy speaks a language unknown to us and uses the night-

shift as his own little ―Bandcamp‖ for flute practice. The guy in charge of

Kingy & Paddy has not been without fault. Mungo (Strange name) has sur-

passed all expectations by thinking the quad bike runs on diesel. (It doesn‘t).

This delayed my weekly trip to the NAAFI to pick up stock for the lads. Yes I

Devil eyes Crozier
Devil eyes Crozier

know, after 21 years of service I‘ve made it! The only other peculiarity I would like to mention for now is the contract cleaners‘ insistence on mopping

the carpets. I have never seen this before and it causes me uneasiness. Did I miss this at the University of


All of that said the time is passing quickly, R&R is now into the second week and morale is high. Living the Dream 2011 & 2012. (LTD).

Camp 124 the First 10 Weeks By WO2 (SSM) Scott Misun. The lads have been here

Does this really need mopping?

Page 16

Phystastic By Capt Andy Kerr You could tell the majority of the Regiment that we were


By Capt Andy Kerr

You could tell the majority of the Regiment that we were taking over from were badged “Commando” by the na-

ture of the gym facilities they had managed to procure. Everything from weights to more weights and a sprin- kling of running, stepping and rowing machines. Oh and did I mention the weights?

Now with this sort of facility you can imagine (one for the ladies) there were some buff individuals and along with this came the suntan and sun bleached hair. Yeah whatever.

Bring on the real Sappers, not afraid to have a pint or two and a kebab on a Saturday night in down town Pader- born, without fear of ruining their highly toned physiques. The guys tipped up

Foxy‟s Gym CV area
Foxy‟s Gym CV area

and saw the specimens that they were taking over from and immediately started to dig into the gym. Utilising the experts that are the CSC the lads turned it into something with a little less testosterone and a little more func-

tionality. Ably led by Sgt “Sat Nav “ Fox and LCpl “Check me out” Webster the

gym was transformed with the extension mentioned in the last edition of the

Trojan Times. New equipment was obtained by the “sat Nav” Sgt Fox; how I don‟t know but he got it all and more. This included a

LCpl Harrison does his thing
LCpl Harrison does his thing

full suite of spinners, the promise of a new multi gym and several new bits of CV equipment.

This done the new “Foxys gym” was born The guys wasted no time at all in utilising

the new facilities. Now I am constantly impressed with what our guys can do when they set their minds to it. In this case it was smashing out the miles on the roads and

in the gym. Something that would not happen in some cases unless it was on Sqn PT, however they were, and in some case s they were doing it twice a day. They even do phys as a ritual before going out on operations with the Force Protection Multiple.

There are bodies changing shape and a prime example of this is WO2 “Maxi Muscle”

Reynolds. This man can eat all day long and still not put any weight on in fact I have never seen anyone eat three puddings in one sitting un-

Foxy‟s Gym weights area
Foxy‟s Gym weights area

til he did. Put him in the gym with a dumbbell and a couple of protein shakes and the lumps and bumps start to pop out all over the place.

SSgt “boring boring Arsenal “ Finn, who is taking part in the Squadrons charity run-

ning event, at the time of writing this article had only 79 miles left to do out of his 300 miles allocation and that is dragging his right leg which is usually the quicker

one. In fact I am led believe WO2 “Fitzy” Fitzsimmons is even offering to lend him


some of his miles to see him through to the end of the Impressive to say the least.

My final mention on the phys side is Sgt ”Resources” Butler. This man is insane. If

an item has the slightest weight to it he will lift it creating some random exercise to

thrash himself with. If it isn‟t flipping tyres it is beating them with a sledge hammer.

This can become rather annoying on the only day you get to rest. I‟ll have you But-


ler. The grumpy LE

Butler‟s “Palace of Pain “
Butler‟s “Palace of Pain “

Page 17

77 TALISMAN SQUADRON NEWS Officer Commanding Foreword
Officer Commanding Foreword

Hello Friends and Family of the TALISMAN Squadron wherever you are…….

The majority of the Squadron have now been in Afghanistan for a little over 9 weeks. While we are still learning about our environment and those who we are serving along side, it feels like we have reached a stage where we have done most things at least once. We are now able to fine tune the way we go about our business and although our role requires total concentration, in the gaps in between we are now able to cast an eye to the future. That is the future for those squadrons who will follow us in the TALISMAN role and also our own future as a Squadron with all of you back in Paderborn.

So far we have been going at a good rate and the three Troops have proven the way for numerous Combat Logistic Patrols all over Helmand Province. This has enabled the vital resupply of the troops, including our own fellow sap- pers, who live and work out of the Forward Operating Bases and more remote Patrol Bases and Check Points. They have also completed a good number of deliberate route clearance operations. This means that they have made the route safe (or at least as safe you can get in this part of the world) for our own forces, the Afghan forces we work with and the locals for whom this place is home. All these operations are supported by a dedicated support team who work tirelessly to keep our large protected vehicles and numerous bits of techy kit on the road. The whole team are doing a cracking job and despite the constant challenges and persistent threat faced when out on the ground they continue to drive on and lead the way for others to follow. You are right to be extremely proud of each one of them.

On the slightly lighter side teams and individuals have also been busy enhancing our camp in true sapper tradition. Buffalo Bills is now a more colourful and comfortable place to enjoy a bit of down time. An impressive and substan- tial piece of new equipment has recently appeared in the outdoor gym area and the TALISMAN arch will soon be erected to better mark our territory! Finally can I take this opportunity to remind you that 'Santa is coming to the TAL- ISMAN Squadron'. If you want to make sure your loved ones (or mates!) receive your presents (or cards!) on Christ- mas Day then you can send parcels (containing your individually labelled and gift wrapped gifts) to: QM (FAO Santa), 77 TALISMAN Squadron, TFH Engr Gp, Op HERRICK, BFPO 792 by 2 Dec 11.

If there is anything we can do to improve the link back to you then please let us know. As you know SSgt Fish and his team in Paderborn are there for you and will be happy to help in any way they can. Keep in touch and go well!

Regards, Major Sam Hughes

Page 18

Op Massive by Spr Dickie Day 10 Tp I‘ve been asked to write a few words

Op Massive

by Spr Dickie Day 10 Tp

I‘ve been asked to write a few words on why I‘ve stared to use the gym since being here at Camp Bastion.

Well there are a few reasons for this:

  • 1. To improve my fitness level

  • 2. I wasn‘t happy with my physique

  • 3. To challenge myself

  • 4. To prevent boredom setting in

  • 5. To pass away the time

I‘ve never been a regular gym user, it‘s always been on and off but now I‘m set into a routine and I‘m en-

joying it, as strange as it may sound to some. I have decided not to take any supplements and just go for

a low carb, high protein diet, which seems to be working for me, plus I‘m a cheap pad and don‘t want to

part with the cash! The gym itself is of good size and has a great range of equipment from running ma- chines though to ab balls. Its always clean and tidy and as long as you go at certain times of the day there is no need to queue up to get on to the equipment. I would like to see more lads from the troop in

there, but then the gym may start to get over crowded. To alleviate this, the lads just keep doing what

they‘re doing (eating rubbish and playing darts) lol.

Op Massive by Spr Dickie Day 10 Tp I‘ve been asked to write a few words

LCpl Butler misunderstands the meaning of Op Massive

Each month I take a photo of myself and LCpl ‗Jeeves‘ Butler and, after just 2 months,I can see the differ- ence. I‘m not quite willing to share the photos as they do not leave much to the imagination! I‘m hoping to

keep it up after my tour (fingers crossed), and as long as we keep looking after the gym then it should be in good order for the squadrons that will follow on after we leave.

Page 19

Another Longest Day Spr Adam Foster 11 Troop The Troop had been busy mentally and physically

Another Longest Day

Spr Adam Foster 11 Troop

The Troop had been busy mentally and physically preparing themselves for the next Op which started on a cold early morning on the vehicle park. Op Mubarez 16E Teyz was ready to start. It involved us escort- ing a Combat Logistic Patrol (CLP) to one of the Forward Operating Bases

Wagons role
Wagons role

(FOB‘s) to drop off essential supplies and then escort them back. The pace

started out good as we headed out of Bastion but as usual the CLP found a

way to slow things down. Thankfully, the road was quiet at the time so the movement of traffic was not a problem.

About 2 hours in, as we left the tarmac road, we started to head onto softer ground and the CLP started to find it difficult to

The team
The team

keep moving as their vehicles have not got the same cross country capa- bilities as ours. Eventually one of the CLP vehicles got so bogged in it re- quired a REME Recovery wagon (an SVR) to drag it out which then broke down during recovery requiring two more SVRs to recover both vehicles. It was left to the CLP commander to decide whether to proceed on with the task or return to Bastion and try again the following day. The call was even- tually made after over 3 hours to push on with the task continue on to the

FOB. This was after Staff Salter in the rear vehicle got fed up waiting for the ―professional‖ help and used

his Mastiff to recover the lead CLP vehicle in about 5 minutes! With Spr Paul Hudson proving there is no end to his talents, signaller, heavy weapons gunner, recovery specialist.

We arrived at the FOB mid afternoon, after to waiting for the CLP to complete their unload, which took about two hours, we decided to make the most of the daylight we had left

by spreading our vehicles out along the route, in the now famous Talisman

No it is my turn
No it is
my turn

Spring, ready for the return to Bastion. By the time we left the FOB it was dark so we knew it would be tricky to get back to the tarmac route. After some time and very dynamic route selection again expertly delivered by Sgt Edwards through fields we got back onto the tarmac and knew we were almost home. We finally arrived back into Bastion very late after a long day of driving. Despite the dramas we had with the CLP it was a good day and another Op complete and in the bag for the lads.

We are all kids at heart
We are all kids at heart

Page 20

Back to Oullette again Spr Bourner 12 Tp On the 31 Oct 11, 12 Troop left

Back to Oullette again

Spr Bourner 12 Tp

On the 31 Oct 11, 12 Troop left Camp Bastion heading for FOB Oullette. This was the second time the troop had been up to FOB Oullette and we followed the now familiar highway 1 up through Gereshk, which was as busy as usual. After managing to avoid all the animals, cars and people

Rush hour in Gereshk
Rush hour in Gereshk

that seem to clog up the road we turned off Highway 1 onto a track that we had not used before. The plan was to prove the route and to get eyes on the area for potential future ops and to see if it was suitable for the

Combat Logistic Patrol to use in the future.

The going was good and we made quick progress, this was aided by the fact that we had a Lynx helicopter in the air above us providing protection and eyes on the route ahead. We reached the FOB without any incidents and waited for the CLP which had arrived ahead of us to complete their in load of supplies and stores. Once they had finished we departed with the plan being to lead the CLP back down

to Highway 1 using the route that we had proved on the way up.

Again this went without incident and we were within sight of the highway 1, when two friendly call signs travel-

ling in Scimitar‟s drove past parallel to us. When they were about 200m past the TASLIMAN packet the second

Scimitar struck an IED resulting in a large explosion. No one in the vehicle was injured. It was lucky for them that we were right there as we were able to go and help them straight

Talisman troops help the stricken scimitar
Talisman troops help the stricken scimitar

away. Sgt Terris and his vehicle proved a route to the vehicle and offered

our assistance. The vehicle had a track blown off and couldn‟t move, so

we co-ordinated with the CLP to conduct a recovery of the vehicle. The CLP continued on leaving TALISMAN and a recovery vehicle with two force protection vehicles from the CLP behind to that could carry the damaged Scimitar. The vehicle was recovered and successfully transported back to a base. TALISMAN led the recovery vehicles to highway 1 before turning back north to head to our final destination of FOB Oullette where we

would be based for the next 5 days.

The next task for TALISMAN was on the following day. We received our orders and found out that we would be doing a search and a show of force in the local village as an important Shura (meeting) was being conducted there. The ground was hard baked and made it very easy to see any thing unusual. We had to pass one compound which con- tained a rather large dog, luckily a local quickly shooed

More PT for Toopy
More PT for Toopy

it away. We successfully completed the search. It was good to get out on to the ground. After completing the search we moved down the road until the Shura was over at which point we return to the FOB and awaited

our orders for the next task.

Spr Bourner on a search
Spr Bourner on a search

Page 21

The first find Cpl Hughes 12 Tp Our fourth day in OULLETTE saw us start our

The first find

Cpl Hughes 12 Tp

Our fourth day in OULLETTE saw us start our final task for this Op. The previous night we had received our or- ders from our Troop Commander, Lt Hutt. The orders were simple enough and split into two parts. Firstly we would be helping our fellow engineers from 9 Troop, proving a safe route and escorting some engineer kit to a small Pa- trol Base. Secondly we had to prove and clear a route for a small re-supply

convoy again to another Patrol Base.

We left the FOB in the morning with the T-Hawk already up and flying in the sky. Shaped like a dustbin with a video camera on, it still looks like it should

be able to fly. it is a great asset and allows us to get a visual „eyes on‟ the

The “beast” that is TALISMAN
The “beast” that is TALISMAN

LCpl Gorbutt preps his VALON

The first find Cpl Hughes 12 Tp Our fourth day in OULLETTE saw us start our

route we were about to take. After a trip cross coun- try we reached the Patrol Base in good time and successfully dropped the engineers off. We did an about turn and headed back to the FOB using the shame route the T-

Hawk had kept watch over it making sure it was safe.

The second task was of a similar nature to that of the first, Again we had our eyes in the sky and Sgt Terris selected a random route until we reached a point where we had no option but to take the route that we were forced to take. To save the searches from having to dismount and search the route, we used the remote controlled vehicle that we have, Controlled from the safety of the mine proof vehicle, the Buffalo. At the con-

trols of the remote vehicle were Spr‟s Quinn and Raper (wanna be 12 Troopers!!).

Things were going well until we had our first reading. After conducting a search we de- clared, with a sigh of relief, that it was a false alarm. We returned to the Buffalo and

continued on. About 200m further on we received another reading.

This time something was not right and all the previous months of training kicked in. There was a small bush with a piece of cloth in and the ground next to it dipped quite a bit. After carrying out confirmation drills as previ- ously taught, which seemed to take a life time, but was actually in reality

only a couple of minutes, there was single word was uttered. A word that every searcher works hard for and who one day wants to be able to say, a

word which was then stated for the first time this tour, it was „FIND‟. This

was the first find of the tour for the Sqn.

The main charge revealed
The main charge revealed

Before we returned to the vehicles we made a mental note of everything that we could see so we could pass the details onto the Troop Commander. Once back in the vehicles, it was over to the Troop Commander to con- firm what would happen next. The IED was destroyed in place, and after an inspection no further devices were

found and the re-supply convoy got successfully made it to the Patrol Base.

Page 22

Capt Matt Neave

In the last edition of the Trojan Times Major Steve White introduced the BAG and explained a little of what we do.

I command the Route Clearance Company (RCC). We are a small team made up of Corporal Steve Ill- sley (77 Sqn), Corporal Steve Menzies (11 Sqn) and me (77 Sqn). Or, as our interpreter Omid prefers, Captain Matt, English Steve and Scottish Steve.

VALON training
VALON training

Unlike the rest of the BAG Boys we live in Camp Tombstone, a delightfully named camp that caused my mum to raise a concerned eyebrow when I told her. Our camp sits in- side the larger ANA Camp Shorabak which is home to their Corps HQ and is their most important base in Helmand Province. We are just beside Bastion, and as such the con- ditions here are rather comfy, a far cry from the Spartan Jay-Zee. The RCC is broadly similar to our own TALISMAN Sqn in the sense that they drive along routes and make sure they are safe for the people following on behind. A lot of this involves being a bit sensible about where you drive, but it mainly involves IEDs. Where are they likely to be, how do we find them and finally what do we do with them?

Initially we were all a tad nervous about our new jobs. Afghans and IEDs are not two words that sit com- fortably in the same sentence. Seemingly everyone had a horror story. However, when we got here we were pleasantly surprised. Sure some of them wore flip-flops and they have three hours off for lunch, but their searching skills were pretty good. They found every dummy IED that Cor- poral Illsley and Menzies tried to hide (they would make a rubbish insurgents!). After a few weeks we concluded that the horror stories were just hot air, and that they are far better than people give them credit for, they are just different from us.

The “long walk”
The “long walk”

To show off how good they were we got their General, a bear of a man called Sheren Shah, to watch a demonstration. Getting our Afghans to rehearse was like herding cats. Actually no, it was more like herding


kittens. And naughty ones at that. On the day however they pulled it out of the proverbial bag and were cool, calm and looked the part. Sheren Shah was duly impressed and dished out phone-credit cards to say well done. The work they put in paid off during Op MALIKA-K, their first operation on our watch. They cleared

an area of ground so that Captain Rich Griffith‘s engineers could build the ANA a

RCC MEDIA ARTICLE Capt Matt Neave In the last edition of the Trojan Times Major Steve

checkpoint. ANA operations are slightly more chaotic than our own so we had to remain flexible and keep a fairly healthy sense of humor.

Whilst English and Scottish Steve worked like ten men in the Shorabak resources yard to send vital supplies to the engineers, I was wandering around the build site with Mohammed, the RCC commander. A cheerful little chap, he knows his search and made sure his men covered every inch of ground. It was not quite

how I would have done it but then that‘s the point. It wasn‘t perfect but they planned and searched it all by themselves and that‘s a huge success. It means that when we eventually

leave they will no longer need us. We all feel proud to be part of that. We are enjoying life with the BAG up in Tombstone and are making real progress with the Afghans we ad-

vise. Eid is fast approaching and we were able to give them $150 for a sheep. It‘s the most excited that

‘ve seen Mohammed in the two months we‘ve been here. I guess everyone likes a good bit of lamb.

Page 23

My First Op Cfn Simmo Simpson 77 LAD It‟s hard to believe we have now completed

My First Op

Cfn Simmo Simpson 77 LAD

It‟s hard to believe we have now completed a third of the tour already, time seems

like it is flying out here. Due to the rugged terrain we operate over we are seeing

similar recurring faults with the vehicles and seem to be constantly changing the ve- hicle suspension and propshafts, resulting in the days going along at a good pace.

October wasn‟t all just leaf springs and prop shafts, it was also the month I got to go

First Op
First Op

out on my first Operation. Thankfully, I had the veteran Scotty “poppet” Wainwright to

hold my hand and guide me along the way.

Check out my halo
Check out my halo

The Op was quite eventful with many of the RLC vehicles struggling with the harsh desert terrain and getting bogged in (surprise surprise). This

gave Scotty and me plenty of quality time together which we spent singing duets , me telling a hilarious joke about a pink gorilla and taking as many ally pho-


tos as possible. On a more serious note, while the convoy was on the return

journey to Camp Bastion, one of the vehicles struck an IED. Thankfully no one

was harmed and only the choker, a frame attachment „roller‟ which fixes to the

front of the vehicles, was damaged. This incident provided a good opportunity

for the engineer search team to put their skills to the test by clearing a large enough work area for the SV-R recovery vehicle to detach the choker from the vehicle, allowing the convoy to get on the move again. With the recovery task com-

End of the day
End of the day

pleted the convoy returned to Camp Bastion safely with no further incidents.

October saw us saying goodbye to Nick Burrows, a civilian support engineer who has been an asset to the team. His loss has hit Sgt Logan the hardest due to them being old friends and the best of buddies. We have now welcomed Nicks replacement, Scott Mk3 to the gang and he is already proving a bit of a shark with the darts!

Training continues with Tiff Simpson, Scott Mk 1 and myself, all completing a gruelling 17 mile run around Camp Bastion with 20 pound bergan. We all did really well with me coming in 5 th place tiff 3 rd and Scott 10 th out of a field of 340 runners.

Finally my R and R is coming up in a few days time which will be a welcome break after a very hectic first two months. I look forward to coming back feeling relaxed, full of stories, and ready to complete the remainder of tour.

Page 24

PADRE’S PROGRESS 14 November As a young child my father taught me the stories of the


14 November

As a young child my father taught me the stories of the stars and constellations. I recall gazing up into the dark sky and watching the shapes and stories form with his words. I have forgotten many of them now but something

I never forgot was the point made that though we see the stars at night…they are still there even during the day. I argued with him for a long time over that one…I could see (or rather not see!) very clearly that there were

no stars in the daytime. His comment that just because I could not see them did not mean they were not there.

Another one of life‟s little truths.

This relates to something of which I have become increasingly aware in recent days. It is to do with absence and the fact that we often do not realise something or someone is there in our lives until they are no longer there. A sort of awareness reversal. It can be in the little things and in the big things. In the micro picture it is shown by my experience the other morning when at another location I was woken up by the sound of birds sing- ing…or rather sparrow chattering away non-stop. It took a moment or two to realise that was what I was hearing and that it is a very normal sound outside my bedroom window in the morning in Paderborn. However in Bastion it is not an everyday sound at all. Indeed I realise now, now that I have noticed the presence of it elsewhere, the distinct absence of it in Bastion. Again, it is not until my eyes were drawn to the seedlings the laundry man is trying to nurture in solid caked dust outside one of the tents, that I realised so starkly the absence of green, colour, brightness in this drab, beige part of Afghanistan. The brilliant contrast of the scarlet poppies against the dust or stones of the memorials was almost a shock to the eye on Remembrance Sunday. In another way the stillness and quiet experienced in forward locations (except for the occasional helicopter or weapon fire!) is remarkable in its absence of noise as opposed to the constant assault on the ears whenever and wherever in

Bastion…helicopters, airplane engines running, generators, vehicles, tannoy messages, septic tank emptying


The lack of contact with family and friends is, for many, the macro picture as far as absence is concerned. We attempt to overcome that emptiness with photographs around our workplace or bedspace, as screen savers or

as Facebook profiles. We write emails (well, my daughter doesn‟t!), letters, blueys; we phone with our precious

30 minutes a week allowance. We each cope in different ways and perhaps it is when we do not understand

one another‟s coping mechanisms that we experience conflict or tension or a different sense of loss. Does it get

any easier over time and frequency? I am not sure that it gets any easier: it is just that we learn to adapt to it

and deal with it in different ways.

Yet just like the stars, we have to come to the realisation and acknowledgement that even when there appears to be an absence; there is always something, somewhere. Whether it is birdsong heard afresh or a seedling struggling to uncurl and unfurl in this sunbaked earth; whether it is a voice on a phone or a kiss and picture in a letter. Somewhere in an absence we will have a sense of a presence, if not an actual proof.

For many this is the basis of the Christian faith. I cannot prove God exists in any tangible way that people some- times want. Indeed, I believe that a God who has to be proved is a God of no mystery and even is a God to be pitied. Yet in that apparent absence there is always a presence some where that is the Holy Spirit, sent by God to be with us after Jesus left the earth as a human presence. The Holy Spirit is described as a counsellor, a

helper, a comforter who “God will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” Just like those stars who seem absent in the daytime but are really still there…so is God.


Page 25

Hey kids Well another couple of weeks have passed and I have been out and about
Hey kids
Well another couple of weeks have passed and I have been out and about in
the big sand pit called Camp Bastion. The weather is back to normal so I
have been able to top up my tan a little bit before I go home for R & R.

BLOG Number 5 - 14 Nov 11

Hey kids Well another couple of weeks have passed and I have been out and about

This week I have visited the Combat support Troop and the squadron Operations Room.

The first person I visited was LCpl ―Rocky‖ Rokotoro. Rocky is a member of the

Combat Support Troop working in Bastion, and rocky is also a member of the Force Protection Multiple. Responsible for the Husky Armoured Vehicle Rocky will carryout any maintenance required whilst also driving it wherever it needs to go in Afghanistan. Rocky would like to send a special message to his family in Detmold - Bula vinaka,Sera.Au nuitaka ni o bulabula vinaka,ka vaka talega kina o ratou na gone,o Sova,Una vata i Luisa.Au bulabula vinaka tiko qoka I Afghani- stan.Totoka tu na cakacaka kei na veika taucoko sara.Qoka keitou warai ni bai qai tiko I tuba.Sa viavia 2 na macawa qo.tukuni me keitou na qai I tuba na mate na vula qo,o Noveba kei nai tekivu ni vula o Tiseba.Sa tekivu vakilai tiko mai na vula I kudukudua,ia vinaka ga ni tu na heater vana vei rumu.Au sa mai raica ka sarava tiko na kemudou I taba.Au vakadredrevaki rau tiko la o Luisa vata I Una.Sa daba na kedratou levu.Au sa vakamoce tale tiko yani vei kemudou.Vinaka vakalevu na veimasu- laki tiko mai.Au sa mai vakila tiko eke ka.Au sa vakamoce tale tiko yani vei kemudou taucoko sara.Loloma kei na masu ga yani qo,e Afghanistan.

The second person I saw this week was Capt Andy ―grumpy dog‖ Kerr who works

in the Operations room and is the Second in command of the Headquarters Squadron. He is responsible for the day-to-day running of the squadron and the tasking of all the different parts of the Squadron. He is also responsible for man- aging the careers of the soldiers, ensuring they carry out the correct courses to progress in their chosen trades.

Andy would like to send his love to Karen his long suffering wife, his Bunny Rab- bit Elleanor (12) and Brett (17). He says he is looking forward to coming home on R & R and having a tickle fight, oh and a pint. xxxxxx

Well that‘s all for another edition of the newsletter so until next time

Remember every day they are away is a day closer to coming home.

Ellie OUT x

Hey kids Well another couple of weeks have passed and I have been out and about

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Have you thought about post tour Adventurous Training yet? Exercise contact Captain Cameron 29 Armoured Engineer

Have you thought about post tour Adventurous Training yet?

Exercise contact Captain Cameron 29 Armoured Engineer Squadron Where - Thailand Doing what - Scuba Diving How long for - 12 Days How much - Initial costs of 900 Euro with up to a 250 Euro refund ex- pected Spaces available - Limited

Exercise Diamond Bubble Piper
Exercise Diamond Bubble Piper

Exercise contact Captain Loots 29 Armoured Engineer Squadron Where - Croatia Doing what - Sailing How long for - 10 days How much - Initial costs of 500 Euro with up to a 250 Euro refund ex- pected Spaces available - 5

Exercise Diamond Mare Superum
Exercise Diamond Mare

Exercise contact Lt Dow 37 Armoured Engineer Squadron Where - California National Parks Doing what - Hiking How long for - 2 weeks How much - Initial costs of 900 Euro with up to a 300 Euro refund ex- pected Spaces available - Few

Exercise Diamond Canyon
Exercise Diamond Canyon

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Exercise Diamond Tiffy
Exercise Diamond Tiffy

Exercise contact Captain Green Light Aid Detachment Where - Croatia Doing what - Multi activity including Mountain biking, Hiking and Sea Kay- aking How long for - 12 days How much - 400 Spaces available - Limited

Exercise Diamond Slovenia Pyramid
Exercise Diamond Slovenia

Exercise contact Lt Ball 44 Hq & Sp Squadron Where - Slovenia Doing what - Mountain Biking How long for - 2 trips each 1 week long How much - 400 Spaces available - 15

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Exercise contact Captain Green Light Aid Detachment Where - Alps Doing what - Mountain Biking How

Exercise contact Captain Green Light Aid Detachment Where - Alps Doing what - Mountain Biking How long for - 10 days How much - 350 Spaces available - Limited

Exercise Diamond Crafty
Exercise Diamond Crafty

Exercise contact Captain Cox 29 Armoured Engineer Squadron Where - Lake Elsinore, California Doing what - Skydiving How long for - 2 weeks How much - Complete novice 1200 Euro, Beginners 900 Euro Spaces available - 10

Exercise Diamond Jumper
Exercise Diamond Jumper

Any missing information will be published in the next edition of The Trojan Times. If you would like to take part in any of the exercises advertised please let your chain of command know which trip you are interested in and who is the exercise contact.

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Cpl Taylor joined the Army in September 1996 and has served in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Iraq,
Cpl Taylor joined the Army in September 1996 and has served in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Iraq,
Cpl Taylor joined the Army in September 1996 and has served in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Iraq,
Cpl Taylor joined the Army in September 1996 and has served in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Iraq,

Cpl Taylor joined the Army in September 1996 and has served in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Cyprus, Canada and the Falkland Islands. He is married to Erin and they have 3 children, Cerys (3), Freya (2) and Caleb (10 months). He is a Mastiff vehicle commander while here in Afghanistan and is currently leading on Troop training. He enjoys his photography but has yet to give the SSM any photos for FaceBook!

Highlight of the tour so far? On Ops with the lads going up north to FOB Oullette was special. Cheryl Cole or Katherine Jenkins? Both! Favourite dessert? Chocolate brownies at lunchtime yum yum! Food you miss most on tour? My roast dinner – I‟m normally the chef! Last film you watched? Point Break a real oldie. Song of the tour so far? Raise your glass by Pink. If you won the lottery, what would you spend the money on? Modify my 1987 Toyota Supra my toy. Who has sent you the most mail? Myself – things I couldn‟t carry! Best gift sent out so far? Electronic photo frame. Best book? The Last Europe by John Grisham. Favourite bit of issue kit? Osprey Body Armour.

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W02 Driver joined as a Junior Leader in 1989, and has since then served in BFG
W02 Driver joined as a Junior Leader in 1989, and has since then served in BFG
W02 Driver joined as a Junior Leader in 1989, and has since then served in BFG

W02 Driver joined as a Junior Leader in 1989, and has since then served in BFG and UK and France. His first Op tour was as a high risk searcher in Northern Ireland in 1992. He has also completed 2 tours in the Falklands (for his sins) and has subsequently served in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan and finds him- self once again deployed to foreign soil.

What Sports do you play? Rugby What is your earliest sporting memory? Playing French cricket in the back garden with my dad. Do you have a favourite piece of sporting memorabilia? U15 Scottish Cricket Champs trophy What was the last CD you bought? The Clash, Singles CD Box Set When was your last music download? July What's the best posting you have had? HQ Rapid Reaction Corps France What is your favourite TV show? The Office What is your favourite film? A Bridge Too Far What is the best book you have read? James Herbert novels Eastenders or Coronation Street? Eastenders What make of car do you drive? BMW X5 Formula 1 motor racing or MOTO GP? Formula 1

What was the best piece of advice you have ever received? The army belongs to officers we just help them run it

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SSgt Rob Finn works in the HQ Sqn as the Ops SNCO and J6 centre of
SSgt Rob Finn works in the HQ Sqn as the Ops SNCO and J6 centre of

SSgt Rob Finn

works in

the HQ Sqn as the Ops SNCO and J6 centre of gravity.

He would like to be

known as the RSWO, but we think just one step at a time.

He is married to Lucy, and has two children

Reece and ThomasJames. He is good looking (clearly his own words) and is one of 10 personnel tak- ing part in the Premier League Club Charity Run, he has currently completed 229 mileswell done Rob- bie!

What is the best assignment you have hadMy best assignment was Malta Tp, RSME Minley.

What is your favourite TV show? - Match of the Day.

What is your favourite film? - My wedding video (if Lucy reads this).

What is the best book you have read , if you can actually read? - Bravo Two Zero.

If you were not in the Army, what job would you do? - A banker on Wall Street.

What are your hobbies? - At the moment I am concentrating on growing my hair. hobby.

Its going to be a long

What is your favourite meal? - Steak.

What is your biggest achievement? - Marriage and my boys.

If I gave you £100 what would you spend it on? - A romantic weekend with my girlfriend Sgt Sammy Chandler (sorry Lucy!).

Jordan or Jodie Marsh? - Jordanthe country.

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Spr - Sapper LCpl - Lance Corporal

Cpl - Corporal Sgt - Sergeant SSgt - Staff Sergeant WO2 - Warrant Officer Second Class WO1 - Warrant Officer First Class Capt - Captain Maj - Major Lt Col - Lieutenant Colonel

Afghanistan specific terms

Sub Units

Tp - Troop Armd Engr Sqn - Armoured Engineer Squadron

Fd Engr Sqn - Field Engineer Squadron

Hq & Sp Sqn - Headquarters and Support Squadron

Op - Operation, mission, task (not surgery) PB - Patrol Base CP - Check Point SANGAR - A watch tower which is manned 24 hours a day to provide protection to a base

Stag - standing in the Sanger keeping watch and providing protection JOB - Joint Operating Base FOB - Forward Operating Base NES (S) - Nahr-e Saraj South NES (N) - Nahr-e Saraj North NDA - Nad-e Ali TFH - Task Force Helmand ISAF - International Security Assistance Force ANSF - Afghanistan National Security Force ANA - Afghan National Army ANP - Afghan National Police IED - Improvised Explosive Device SAF - Small Arms Fire SOP - Standard Operating procedure

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HESCO - Large flat packed containers made of thick strong wire containing a large sandbag. The sandbag is filled with sand to produce a large protective brick. The individual HESCO blocks are then used like giant bricks to produce a protective wall for our bases. HLS - Helicopter Landing Site Barma - Our drill used to find Improvised Explosive Devices with a hand held metal detector.


MASTIFF - Large armoured truck with a with a heavy machine gun for protection. TALISMAN - A series of vehicles used to clear a route of improvised explosive devices.

HUSKY - Another type of large armoured vehicle. MWT - Medium wheeled tractor (dump truck). SLDT(P) - Self Loading Dump Truck (Protected) - A small dump truck. Apache - Ugly looking attack helicopter. Chinook - Large helicopter featured in the film Big Friendly Giant. Sea-king - Royal Navy helicopter used as search and rescue in the UK.

Merlin - Medium to large Royal Air Force and Navy helicopter used to move Troops around from base to base.

Messages from the Editor

If you hear any news about anything that might have happened in Afghanistan, which gives you cause for concern in any way, please get in touch with the Welfare Office on +495251101213. We will ensure that the team holds the most up to date and accurate information so that they will be able to advise you appro- priately or deal with the issue. In the event of any casualties they will be able to clarify the situation, in ac- cordance with the wishes of the individual or family. Many thanks

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