5 Mar 2010

On the move and taking over a compound

Trooper Pete Sheppard, from the Brigade Reconnaissance Force, writes from Afghanistan as they move closer to enemy positions.

On the move and taking over a compound

Trooper Pete Sheppard is a radio operator with the Brigade Reconnaissance Force (BRF), which is part of Operation Moshtarak against insurgents in Helmand province.

Reveille was at 0600 this morning. I did not sleep well at all.

We woke up and the first thing we did was pack all of our kit away. This included all of the radio masts and laptops we use for file transfers.

I was due to go out on patrol very soon, so I was checking last bits of kit. Once we had done this we threw some scoff in the BV (boiling vessel) to heat up and eat shortly.

The previous day, 3 Troop (Foxy used to be in this one) went back to Bastion for a larger service there. They returned for first light this morning with a small number of cold pizzas which they had bought the previous night at Pizza Hut. That was awesome!

At 0700 the patrol that I was in set off to a compound that we are taking over for a few days. We are pushing closer towards the enemy’s positions. We do not just rock up and move the locals out, we actually pay them money like compensation for us moving in.

We gave them a couple of hours to remove any of their belongings and then we moved into the compound. This patrol only had about eight British and about nine ATF (it was not the whole BRF yet).

A few hours later the jackals and coyotes started to arrive. We had to make a small bridge so that the vehicles could cross the irrigation ditches but within a couple of hours everyone was in.

Once in this compound, we positioned all of the vehicles facing rearwards, set up the radios, sorted our kit out and got some hot food on the go. It has been quite hot today so we have all been drinking a lot of water.

Again some of the guys keep saying how they are breaking and really cannot wait to get home. The support everyone gives us is brilliant and I can say that we are all grateful for this.

It is just getting dark now, been a long day. Everyone is up at ridiculous o’clock, as the troops are going out on big clearance patrols. It is straight to bed for the majority of people now. Need all the rest we can get for tomorrow.