My First Contact

2011, Age twenty-one

I had been living and operating in Nad-e-Ali for a few weeks by now and although we may have been familiar with the Afghanistan terrain, we were certainly still unfamiliar with the Taliban activities in the local area. Having said this, we also knew it would only be a matter of time before we would bump into them. Continue reading “My First Contact”

The Frontline of a War-Torn Country

2011, Age twenty-one

Sitting upon a wooden box with a toilet seat fixed in place, and a plastic bag positioned strategically beneath the hole which the toilet seat was located over. With the risk of a grenade coming over the wall at any moment, and with the possible chance of coming under attack at any given time during the day, I had to go about my business as quickly as one man could physically do so. This is the simple task of going for a s**t, in a hostile environment. Continue reading “The Frontline of a War-Torn Country”

Time To Switch On

2011, Age twenty-one

So here I stood, in a small hollow square mud structure, referred to as a compound. Walls up to ten feet high made out of mud, straw and s**t. This was all that protected us from the hostile and dangerous environments of Nad-e-Ali, Helmand Province. This compound would also be known as our home for the next six months. Continue reading “Time To Switch On”

The Last Supper

2011, Age twenty-one

Firing live rounds down the range and into the desert terrain of Afghanistan, check zeroing my rifle prior to deploying into the hostile environments of Nad-e-Ali, Helmand Province. After three or four vital days of final pre-deployment training, acclimatisation and detailed briefings on the current situations in Afghanistan, the company and I were now on standby to deploy. Continue reading “The Last Supper”

Mind-Numbing Hours

2008, Age eighteen

Stepping off the ramp of a Merlin helicopter and into the high temperatures of Iraq. Walking into such intense heat, as if you were walking into an oven (not that I’ve ever walked into an oven). Though at last, I was here, deployed on my first operational tour in Iraq. Continue reading “Mind-Numbing Hours”

Soldier to Civi Forecast

Ladies & gentlemen

I would like to thank you all for the overwhelming continued support.

I really do appreciate every read, comment and ‘share’. We are now entering the sixth week of my blogs and I have already had great feedback, immense positive support and almost two thousand views.

I thank you Continue reading “Soldier to Civi Forecast”

The Most Memorable Day

2011, Age twenty-one

Sitting in a small mud structured room, referred to as ‘CP (Check Point) Karim’, a compound situated in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.  Listening to the Company debrief with my notebook in hand. As every night, the multiple (team) commanders would gather in the Operations Room, to receive debrief reports over the radio. However, on the 20th of November 2011, we received a report which would trigger many emotions.
Continue reading “The Most Memorable Day”

Under the Wings

2008, Age Seventeen

Seventeen months on, from walking through the gates of The Army Foundation College in Harrogate, as a young and naive sixteen-year-old, I was once again walking through a new set of gates. This time, however, these were the gates of The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, and I had now completed the transition from ‘civi to soldier’.

I had learned a great deal in basic training and compared to the sixteen-year-old I was seventeen months ago, I had certainly come a long way. I was extremely proud of what I had already achieved and I was excited to finally be joining my regiment. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but remember the valuable lesson I had learned during the early stages of basic training (reference blog one, titled: Shock of Capture) and I noted, it would probably still be in my favour to keep my head down and play the grey man. Continue reading “Under the Wings”