Captain Stuart Thomas is the Main Troop Commander of 204 Signal Squadron, based in Lashkar Gah for his six-month tour on Operation HERRICK 12. He writes about the fitness craze gripping Lashkar Gah.
Main Troop monitors all communications into Task Force Helmand Headquarters based in Lashkar Gah. We also have Information Systems Engineers (computer geeks) and technicians who look after the repair and maintenance of the numerous computer and radio systems.
The Troop has been bolstered significantly, with two operators flying in from Catterick Garrison and a couple returning from their adventures on the ground.
We’re trying to raise £10,000 for ABF – The Soldiers’ Charity. To kickstart the charity drive, we have been organising the Lashkar Gah 10km race which will take place this weekend (23 May 2010). A route around the camp has been cleared and competitors will run 12 laps across sand, stone and shale. So far about 80 people have signed up and pledged $10 each to run. Some of the troop have been training harder than others and some not at all!
Now two months into the tour it’s working well as a weight loss programme for some. No need for gastric bands here. The heat, the weight carried by those out on the ground and the good gym facilities have allowed the guys to tone up in an attempt to get beach ready (beached whale perhaps?) for their loved ones back home. One of the Troop has lost over two stone so far (equivalent to a medium sized toddler?), and by the end of the tour we are going to get one of those photos of him holding his previously tent-sized trousers, and he can wonder how he ever fit into them.
The general election was followed closely, and much like the Olympics, everyone became an expert on all things they previously knew nothing about. If you don’t believe me wait until 2012 and listen to your parents discuss synchronized swimming, and shake their heads in disappointment when a diver attempts a triple pike and double back flip and makes too much of a splash on entry.
I have been explaining over and over again what a Hung Parliament is. After the excitement we had that stewards enquiry (I know horse racing is not in the Olympics!) to find out the winner, and now everyone has lost interest.