Royal Anglian Regiment British Army takes responsibility for one remaining base Afghanistan 2910131

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Defence & Security News - United Kingdom

 
 
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 08:36 AM
 
Royal Anglian Regiment of British Army takes responsibility for one remaining base in Afghanistan.
Soldiers from the Royal Anglian Regiment of British Army have taken responsibility for one of Britain’s remaining bases in Helmand Province, as Afghan security forces progress continues. Members of the Second Battalion, known by the nickname The Poachers, have taken charge of Main Operating Base Lashkar Gah, which is one of five remaining bases including Camp Bastion.
     
Soldiers from the Royal Anglian Regiment of British Army have taken responsibility for one of Britain’s remaining bases in Helmand Province, as Afghan security forces progress continues. Members of the Second Battalion, known by the nickname The Poachers, have taken charge of Main Operating Base Lashkar Gah, which is one of five remaining bases including Camp Bastion.
Major Matt Woodeson, Officer Commanding of A 'Norfolk' Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment [Picture: Corporal Paul Morrison RLC, Crown Copyright/MOD 2012]
     

Lieutenant Colonel Nigel Johnson, the battalion’s commanding officer, took charge of the base from Lieutenant Colonel Jason William, commanding officer of the Second Battalion, Royal Tank Regiment. His focus will be to continue supporting the Afghan forces where necessary, before the ultimate handover of the base and preparation of redeployment of equipment back to the UK.

He said: “It has been a long journey for the Battalion to get to this point, but the training and preparation has been excellent. This will be a very different tour of Afghanistan compared to those who have gone before – the Afghan National Security Forces are firmly in the lead.”

The soldiers, who come from Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, are likely to be the last British soldiers to be based in Helmand’s provincial capital.

As well as assuming control for MOB Lashkar Gah, soldiers from The Poachers are responsible for the Lashkar Gah Training Centre where the Afghan National Police receive a variety of training courses and the Operational Coordination Centre - Provincial (OCCP). The OCCP manages co-ordination between the Afghan National Army and the Afghan police allowing them to work together to provide security.

Lt Col Johnson said: “We are taking over from a battalion which has worked hard and witnessed great strides in the Afghan’s ability to provide security for their communities. The police training centre and operational centre are some of the key pillars in the security infrastructure here.”

For many young soldiers it is their first tour in Afghanistan but they are led by senior soldiers, some of whom have been several times.

Private Gary Shaw, 27, from Hemel Hempstead, is on his second tour. He said: “My last tour was in Iraq so I know how to deal with being away from home and being in an unfamiliar place. I went on my first patrol yesterday; I was surprised by how busy the city was. There were lots of people and children going about their normal business.

“The base we are at is well equipped so there is plenty to do between patrols. I’m going to make the most of the gym and train hard when not on duty.”

Private David Jackson, 23, from Lincoln, said: “I’m glad to finally be out here after training for so long for the tour. It’ll be difficult being away from home but I’m with my mates and I can still talk to my family by phone and email.

“This is my first tour, it’s hot here, hotter than I expected. You have to factor that in as you go about your work.”

 

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