Trooper Pete Sheppard enjoys some brief rest and recuperation back at base after ten days of “hard work” fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan’s tough conditions.
Trooper Pete Sheppard is a radio operator with the Brigade Reconnaissance Force (BRF), which has just returned to base after the opening phase of Operation Moshtarak against insurgents in Helmand Province.
We arrived back in Camp Bastion at supper time last night, having finished the first phase of Op Moshtarak
I’m part of the Squadron HQ element of the BRF, so we drove back to camp and arrived yesterday evening. The rest of the troops were still clearing out on the ground and didn’t get back until late evening.
The last 10 days have been hard work. The fields out on the ground are being irrigated at the moment so they are very boggy. Some of the guys were sinking up to their knees.
Limbu, our friendly Gurkha from the Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistics Regiment (we call them ‘Loggies’), stepped into a large muddy ditch waiting for the helicopter pick up. In the dark his section didn’t notice him flailing around trying to get out. He tried to take his heavy Bergen off to pull himself out but only managed to plant his face into the mud! It took two guys to go back and pull him out. I wish I had got a picture of him caked from head to foot!
Trooper Pete Sheppard Everyone was knackered! But glad to be back in camp to have a shower and eat normal food. Some went to the cookhouse but for many Camp Bastion’s own form of Pizza Hut was the favourite choice.
The boxes sent from friends and family at home were also a real treat to come back to. They are great, and the lads raid them for toiletries, biscuits, sweets and chewing gum.
We just about had time to visit the NAAFI to get all the little things like chocolate, pop and noodles – anything to break the routine of ration packs. Though with things heating up out here the chocolate isn’t going to last long anymore.
After a sound night’s sleep it was back down to our compound, to replen (sort out!) the vehicles in preparation for going straight out again.
The lads think it is going to be a hang out over the next few days. Lots of tabbing and long days in general on the ground. But while things are going well we want to keep at it.
We are leaving soon, so it is the last minute vehicle and kit checks, then off we go!