Private Antony London blogs from Afghanistan for the first time. He writes about the challenges that Drivers like him regularly face.
I’m Private Antony London, serving with the Force Protection Troop of 15 Air Assault Close Support Squadron. My experiences so far of the Combat Logistic Patrols (CLPs) have all been good, because of the fear of not knowing what to expect every time we leave Camp Bastion.
There are so many dangers and obstacles that us Drivers face. The improvised explosive device (IED) threat and insurgents are the main ones but the locals and even the terrain make things very difficult as well. We have to take Tank Transporters on the CLPs and they are so big that they get bogged in all the time which creates further problems as we have to get out of our vehicles to help recover them. Sometimes it can take a whole day just to move 8km or so.
For us Drivers, the toughest challenge is often sleep deprivation as we have to drive for up to 36 hours at a time in order to complete missions. It is extra tiring because we need to be switched on at all times especially when static for long periods in the middle of the desert, next to compounds or near the Green Zone. We have to do all this in 40 degree heat while wearing helmets and heavy body armour.
My most nerve-racking moment was one night when the CLP was split in half due to vehicles getting bogged in. Me and my Troop Sergeant had to clear IEDs from 2km of track to allow the rear of the CLP to catch up safely. At one point we did actually find an IED, which we had to carefully mark so that the vehicles didn’t drive over it.