Corporal Georgina Coupe is the video camerawoman for the British Army’s Combat Camera Team (CCT) based in Afghanistan throughout summer 2012 as part of 12th Mechanized Brigade.
The last couple of weeks have been eventful for us all out here in Afghanistan, starting with the filming and photographing of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee message. This turned out to be a four-man job: my photographer colleague Sergeant Andy Reddy and I were joined by Corporal Barry Lloyd, who has come out from the UK for a short time, and Corporal Paul Morrison, the 12 Mechanized Brigade photographer based out here. While Barry filmed and photographed from a cherry picker above the parade, Paul took photos on the ground, and Andy had a chance to turn his hand to video for the day with me.
Insurgents melted away
Andy went out with the Brigade Reconnaissance Force on a short operation, which meant that Barry joined team leader Captain Will Campbell Ricketts and I for a few days out on the ground. After a vehicle move into Patrol Base Sparta, we were transported into Checkpoint Khobahn so we could start out early the following day as part of a clearance operation led by the Afghan National Army (ANA).
The purpose of the operation was to clear a previous insurgent stronghold, and allow the ANA to cross over a canal into what used to be a heavily contested area. This got off to a feisty start, initially with a lot of resistance from the insurgents. Once the ANA started to move across the ground, the insurgents soon melted away and the search phase of the operation began, resulting in several arrests.
The ANA engineers constructed an infantry assault bridge across the canal. Once they had completed their task, the bridge allowed us to safely cross the waterway to clear the area.
Over the last couple of weeks, I have been putting together a series of short web videos entitled ‘My Job in Afghanistan’. This series is proving to be quite popular and is a good opportunity for everyone back in the UK to see exactly what the variety of soldiers are doing out here. This operation in particular was a great opportunity for me to focus on Staff Sergeant Chris Leid, of 26 Engineer Regiment, who is acting as an advisor for the specialist Afghan Engineer unit.
Watch my Engineering Advisor video.
Back to Bastion
It was a fairly swift exit for us as a team. We got back to Camp Bastion to meet back up with Andy, where after a quick turnaround we are about to head out again to do some more work with the Brigade Advisory Group, who at the moment are advising and mentoring both the Afghan Police and the ANA.
This group is based in Forward Operating Base Shawqat, where Andy and I both spent some time last summer, and is built on the remains of an old British fort. It’s one of our favourite bases, so we’re looking forward to getting back down there and seeing how much it’s changed in the last few months.