Corporal Paul Birkett is a Communications Systems Operator (CS Op) currently stationed with 1st United Kingdom Armoured Division Headquarters and Signal Regiment (1 (UK) ADSR) based in Herford, Germany. He recently deployed on Op HERRICK 15 where he is employed as Communications Centre (COMMCEN) Operator/Commcen IC.
He is responsible for transmitting, receiving and distributing messages within Main Operating Base (MOB) Lashkar Gah. Secondary duties include providing support via telephone to outstations around the area and monitoring the communications systems.
Op GET MASSIVE
We are now in December and unlike back at home, the temperature throughout the day is a comfortable 23 – 24 degrees. The Troop has now settled in well and we have started to think of ideas to make the tour a little more enjoyable. The boss, Lt Thorpe, has instigated PT at a bright and early 0600 hours on a Wednesday morning. We conduct our PT early because generally everyone is busy throughout the day.
However if there is further time to get away to the gym we make the most of it and do our own ‘Op GET MASSIVE’ sessions. LCpl ‘Tash’ Allonby organised a well received games night for the Troop to further help us relax and spend some quality time together, the night consisted of a number games of poker, with darts in the background. I have also instigated a darts ladder for the entire troop to participate in for the remainder of our 6 months. Considering he wasn’t interested at first, SSgt ‘Paul’ Smith is getting into the flight of things. Although, to date, he has played the most games he still hasn’t left the bottom rung of the ladder.
I am now comfortably within a routine working within the communications centre – with things ticking along nicely. Recently I experienced my first sangar fortunately nothing much was going on. The only exciting incident of the duty was observing a pack of dogs moving around and about my sangar position and 3 or 4 vehicles transiting up and down the main road. However, most importantly, I am doing my part for the security of the MOB.
Recently, within the troop office we experienced our very own IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices), with the victim being SSgt ‘Paul’ Smith. He removed a can of coke from the fridge and when he opened it, much to his surprise, it exploded everywhere. He temporarily lost his sight, but the unluckiest victim was the Tp OC, his work area and his bag of clean washing.
Unfortunately, we have had to sadly lose 2 members from the Troop, LCpl ‘Shakka’ Hislop and Sig ‘Sam’ Wall; this is due to them being required elsewhere by the Helmand Signal Squadron. We hope this is only for a temporary period and we get them back soon.
We have also begun to establish plans for members of the Troop to go and visit some of the deployed communications detachments in the near future. This will enable to meet the personnel that we work alongside and better understand the equipment that they operate.