SSgt (FofS (IS)) Kay, a member of 2 Signal Regiment (2SR) and will be working in the Ops team of 246 Gurkha Signal Squadron, based in Camp Bastion for a six month tour on Operation HERRICK 17. He previously deployed in 2010/2011 with 16 Air Assault Brigade and was based in Lash Gakhar. The main tasks on Operation HERRICK 17 concentrate on working as part of a small Operations team ensuring that Fixed Trunk Communications throughout Helmand are sustained in order to enable the Brigade to concentrate on their main tasks at hand in defeating the enemy.
2 Signal Regiment go on tour
I was posted to 2 Signal Regiment to go on tour, and while this is my job and I am happy to do it, I am apprehensive about leaving my wife and children yet again to face yet another Operational challenge. The build up phase to the tour has been encapsulated by STA (Specific Training to Arm) courses which I have had to attend in order to prepare me for the task at hand. These STA courses have been entwined with mandatory courses such as MATTs (Military Annual Training Tests) and have included developed Infantry range work, all of which has ensured the last 7 months have sped by at a frenetic pace. At least I have had the occasional opportunity to pass an amorous glance at my wife between returning from one course and departing for the next. Annual leave has not been disregarded and the Commanding Officer has ensured that all his soldiers utilise their maximum individual leave allowance to ensure family life is as stable as it can be prior to deployment.
A personal note
Approximately 6 weeks or so before the unit deployed, the Squadron were concentrating on fine tuning the soldiers training, ensuring all deploying personnel are medically vaccinated and all final mandatory briefs have been attended to ensure everyone is prepared for the task at hand. On a personal note, it has recently been confirmed there is a good chance that I could be granted my 2 week R & R period (rest and recuperation) to fall over Valentine’s Day which has put a smile on my face, but maybe not the wife’s!
The recent start of the new school year has been a welcome distraction for my children, from both the deployment, and the heartache this brings. I’m sure, however, it won’t stop them being mischievous for my wife whilst I am away from home. Being away from my family at Christmas is an emotional thought, but all the latest technologies the Army have embraced allow us to speak to our families at this special time. The tour will also enable me to reduce my financial burden, as I now have an excuse not to buy my parents gifts at Christmas! (Hope they don’t read this blog, if they do, only joking mum and dad!)
Accepting families and friends
The deployment of Prince Harry to Bastion has raised the profile of Afghanistan recently, which brings more media focus to television, public newspapers and radio enabling families and friends a greater ability to try and understand the conditions facing all deployed soldiers. My children have expressed a desire for me to obtain an autograph from the Prince as a gift on my return. If I cross paths with him in Camp Bastion I may swallow my pride to ask him. Or then again maybe not; the goading I will receive will be too much to take. I now look to the deployment date to commence the countdown to an eventual return back to the United Kingdom in May 2013.