8 Mar 2010

Succumbing to the idea of staying longer

Trooper Pete Sheppard, from the Brigade Reconnaissance Force, writes from Afghanistan while he finds that his unit will be spending more time on the ground than originally thought.

Succumbing to the idea of staying longer

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

This morning we found out that the brigade want to extend our time on the ground. There were mixed feelings about this.

On the whole though it’s a good thing as it just makes the time we have left on the ground go quicker. We are also going to be going into Lashkar Gah at some point for 12 hours so we can have a shower, use a proper toilet, get some clothes washed, eat some hot food and get some supplies from the shop there. The food there is immense.

We heard across the radio a warning of a controlled explosion this morning from some one else. We passed round our guy’s notice of the warning. Not everyone heard the warning.

One of the guys came over to me after the explosion and told me that he and the guys were stood around laughing and joking when the bang went off. We had troops out working on a culvert but as it came from that general direction they just all went quiet and looked at each other thinking the worst. I was told you could hear a pin drop. They then heard that it was a controlled explosion and there was a big sigh of relief.

Today we’ve been building a culvert 500m down the road for the locals. They seem to really appreciate this and it is good for us to help win the support from them.

It’s been hard work for the troops though, as it has been 26 degrees today with no wind.

Some of the guys have made make shift weights to use when back at the compound. Me and Dave used the outdoor, make-shift gym earlier and are both feeling the aches and pains from it now. It’s amazing how much strength you actually lose from not doing any weights or press ups for so long.

Everyone is succumbing to the idea of being extended longer and moral is slowly creeping back up.

The days are going quite quickly, so before too long we’ll be back at Bastion handing our kit over to the next BRF.