Exploding cola and a bag of clean washing

Cpl Paul Birkett

Cpl Paul Birkett

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.

Darts “Darts during some much welcomed downtime”, Lt Thorpe, Cpl Paul Birkett and LCpl Danny Attwood
Darts during some much welcomed downtime

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.

LCpl Andrews and LCpl Simpson inspect a number of power distribution systems

LCpl Andrews and LCpl Simpson inspect a number of power distribution systems

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.

Plans

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.

11 thoughts on “Exploding cola and a bag of clean washing

  1. Excellent blog, it is always good to hear about the experiences of the troops when they deploy, such articles provide a valuable insight into teh daily lives of our service men and women.
    Please keep the blogs coming and I await the next installment, thank you.

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  2. Brilliant blog. Really enjoyed reading that. I’m starting on the 20th of Feb as a communications systems engineer. I really can’t wait to do my bit.

    Matt.

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  3. Praying you all stay safe, eagerly awaiting your next blog, as my son is out there and its good to know what you are all up to! All the very best and thanks for taking the time out of your busy days to do this.

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  4. Nice one Paul, time moves on but it seems the job is just the same. I was a ComCen Op more years ago than I care to mention working mainly with NATO.
    You & your troop keep safe, you will think back on it with fondness for your mates in years to come.
    Regards
    Mac

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  5. Hi Paul,

    Good to see you out there making a difference, good luck and stay safe.
    From you old roomate from blandford when we were doing trade training.

    Paul

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  6. Pingback: Exploding cola and a bag of clean washing « The Official British … | Armyrats

  7. Yo soy de Punta Arenas- Chile, y les agradesco que lichen por mantener un mundo seguro, democretico

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  8. Bueno como les dije les agradesco como ciudadano comun de este planeta que luchen por mantener la democracia y la libertad. En mi pais aun buscamos el camino de la igualdad y la democracia

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  9. A cola-flavored IED. Makes me think of the stories I used to hear from Viet Nam vets about Coca-Cola being sold by secret enemy sappers; think ground-up glass and battery acid! Trust your own PX, or whatever they call it in the Royal Army.

    Well – – there’s no clean wash in the field anyway. But seriously, the best of luck to you guys, each and every one, from an American ex-artilleryman.

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  10. Its really nice to know what you and the others get up during the 6 month tours, and good to see you get a little bit of time to relax, the blog gives everyone information of what you all are doing and the vital part you all play. i guess a lot of people don’t even think much about what soldiers actually do while they away on tour. please keep safe all of you and please don’t have to much fun over there i want you home!!! x

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  11. i want to bee solce i want to come to army i dnot no how i m türkişh any boday know how help me dis my number 00905447858317

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