This first blog from Private Baker of 13 Combat Support Logistic Regiment covers the journey to Forward Operating Base (FOB) SHAWQAT and taking over the job of delivering kit to infantry troops from where 12 Logistic Support Regiment left off.
The journey to Forward Operating Base (FOB) SHAWQAT was very exciting for all of us, but with that came apprehension as were going into the unknown. After the Alton Towers-style flight we arrived and instantly started to pick up the pieces that 12 Logistic Support Regiment had left. We spent a few days bolting together wagons and tracking down kit. The maintenance of the vehicles was a steep learning curve for everyone as we had only really touched the main Heavy Goods Vehicle we use out here whilst on an 8-day course. It was during a 2-yearly inspection that an unnamed Private turned into a human oil rag, which was brilliant to see for everyone apart from himself.
FOB SHAWQAT, although small and basic is a good place to be, where everyone knows each other. 1 Royal Irish Battle Group and all the other small detachments all bring something special to the party and have looked after us as we have them.
During our short time here Private Theaker has found romance and has decided he will be getting married to the FOB Education Officer whilst on rest and recuperation time (R&R), the only problem being that she doesn’t know anything about it yet. We are all hoping that one day she will notice the little Northern lad following her around singing a very monotone version of James Blunt’s ‘You’re Beautiful’.
The operations that we do are generally short moves to replenish the Patrol Bases (PB) and Check Points (CPs). The most kinetic place is KALANG where we are almost guaranteed contacts within minutes of us getting there. One of the most memorable was coming under contact from an insurgent who climbed onto some Hesco and sprayed a PB with rounds. Corporal Scott had to give a young Irish Ranger a full magazine of ammunition as the lad was tying to return fire without one on!
Although we are in a very dangerous place within Helmand everyone has remained safe outside the FOB. In the FOB it’s a different story. Private Weale one day ended up looking like an extra from the ‘Saw’ films after head butting the Container Handling Unit (CHU) on his vehicle (apparently the CHU won). The Doctor glued him up and he was good to go the next day. Private Derbyshire also decided he wanted to introduce his arse to his battery box clamps, leaving him with an epic bruise.
The whole Section are really enjoying life on the Immediate Replenishment Group (IRG). We all have a very close bond and we have learnt so much in a very short time. We are gaining some invaluable experience and we all feel we are making a big difference to the Infantry on the ground by delivering their kit.