Nourishing the grass roots in the Green Zone

Private Graham Thurston

Private Graham Thurston

Private Graham ‘T’ Thurston is a soldier in 5 Platoon, B Company, the 1st Battalion the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (1 PWRR) known as the ‘Tigers’.  Private Thurston is based in the Nahr-e-Seraj District of Helmand Province as part of the 5 RIFLES Battle Group.‘Scoot and shoot’

As my R&R (rest & recuperation) approached we patrolled into an insurgent hotspot, a small village on the edge of our Area of Operations (AO).  At the start of the tour, we had experienced a number of ‘shoot and scoot’ attacks.  For now the village is quiet.  The insurgents are still around, although at the minute they use propaganda leaflets to scare the population.  Because of this we have been able to increase patrolling into the area and improve our relationships with the locals.

As I flew out of Checkpoint Jeker on my R&R I left my colleagues behind to carry on the fight against the insurgents.  I spent a few days in Camp Bastion before flying home and while I was there I helped to load up a lorry which would carry supplies to Checkpoint Jeker in a convoy called an IRG.

Even though the flight back to the UK was long, everyone who was on it was looking forward to getting home.  When we landed at RAF Brize Norton it was really nice to see my parents for the first time in four months.  Whilst I was home it was good see my friends and family and, even though it was only for two weeks, it was good to relax.

Back into the swing of things

On the flight back to theatre people looked a little down, but everyone was looking forward to getting back to see our friends in Jeker.  When we got back there was no time to relax as it was straight on to a vehicle move, shortly followed by sangar duty, but after a few days we were back into the swing of things and it soon felt like we had never been away.

We have begun to patrol into a village which was previously an insurgent hotspot.  The village is a long way from CP Jeker, but our relationships with the local nationals is improving. The problem is that the insurgents are able to come in when we have gone so it has been decided to construct a new checkpoint there.  CP Parang, which means ‘tiger’, will be occupied by my multiple and some Afghan Local Police (ALP).  The new check point will be a good place for us to strengthen our relationships with the locals and help us to push the Taliban back.

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