Private Davies is a Driver with 13 Close Support Logistic Regiment, currently deployed to Afghanistan. In his first blog post, he writes about Operation LOAM – the collection of British equipment from Sangin for return to Camp Bastion ready for redistribution throughout Helmand Province.
At the start of the operation I thought it was all going well – the move, the area we stayed in overnight near Forward Operating Base (FOB) Price and also the move out. I also thought that when the Combat Logistic Patrol (CLP) came across the first Improvised Explosive Device (IED), they took it quite well.
I believe it all started going downhill when the Combat Support Tractor (CST) and the Heavy Equipment Transporters (HETs – also known as Tank Transporters) started getting bogged in. It happened so many times the lads got fed up, started losing focus and switching off.
When we finally got to our first destination I thought everything went OK at the front of the CLP. But I’m not sure how the back of the convoy felt because they didn’t get in till 3am and the move out was at 5am!
On the way to next destination, again it was HET Troop getting bogged in. Then at night it came across the radio to light up the sky, and we were on guard – also known as stagging on. In the morning we turned back on ourselves and drove back the way we came.
When we got to our final destination I believed everything had run pretty smoothly. The blokes had time to shower and sort any personal kit. On the way out the vehicles were not in the right order because of the way we had driven into the camp. While we were waiting for the go ahead, the convoy came under contact from a man in a compound in the far distance. He then dropped his weapon, walked back into the compound and after that the farmers just came back out as normal. It felt strange. As we moved back through Sangin to get to the camp it all went pretty well. We weren’t waiting on HET Troop this time because we left them at the other camp en route to our final destination.
Everything then went well after we picked up the HETs, sorted out our loads and got our heads down for a few hours.
As we got to just outside the camp on the 611 road we were waiting for a good hour – just getting ready to push through Gereshk town. When we finally got moving everyone was aware of the suicide bomber threat – eyes peeled!
We had stones thrown at us by children and local insults. There were cars, bikes, tractors all over the roads. We had to be careful as our vehicles are a lot bigger than theirs. As we got through we knew it wasn’t that far back to Camp Bastion now, so the lead vehicle just put his foot down and we were back in no time. All we had left to do was drop the loads, re-fuel, clean weapons and de-kit all the vehicles. Which was OK!