The Royal Dragoon Guards have deployed to Afghanistan as the Police Mentoring and Advisory Group and are also responsible for Mobility Protection, with soldiers working in the Warthog Group. In the second of the Royal Dragoon Guards’ Blogs, Trooper Sam Lowe describes how he has found his first few weeks in Afghanistan. Sam, from Rotherham, is 22 years old. He is working in a Tac Team and this is his first tour.
Go go go…
On our arrival into CampBastion in the early hours of a Tuesday it was all go go go, straight into day one of the Reception, Staging and Onward Integration (RSOI) package. This is the final bit of training that we all do before the tour can properly get started. Day One was a load of briefs that told us all about what we needed to know for our time in CampBastion. Most of the Regiment got a ‘day zero’ to recover after their flights but because the flight was late, we were all pretty tired and so it was a very long day. The remainder of the week involved everything from marching in body armour (to get us used to working in the hot conditions) to stands about Health and Hygiene. Day Four even includes information on the life expectancy of fruit and veg in our Patrol Bases (PBs)! I thought that day 3 was the best day of RSOI because the staff taught us the most up to date life saving techniques and it gave me more confidence in being able to carry out my drills correctly.
Our new home!
At the end of RSOI, most of the lads flew out to their new bases, but not for two lucky people (Cpl Bob Littlefair and me) who had to conduct even more specialist training. But we eventually finished our training, had some time to get our kit squared away, and got on the flight to MOB Lashkar Gah… our new home!
A real eye opener
On landing in the base, we were greeted by some of the lads who came out on the earlier flight, and we were able to start the take-over from the Welsh Guards. The Royal Dragoon Guards lads have loads of different roles out in Afghanistan, but I’m one of the ones responsible for driving and patrolling everyone to the locations they then need to get to. The first time on the ground for me was a real eye opener, speaking with the local Afghans and starting up a new working relationship with the Afghan National Police (ANP). It was pretty daunting seeing how busy the area is, but you soon become more used of what’s normal and the way people act around you. Having been out a few times now, I now feel comfortable carrying out my job professionally and have belief in myself.
Going out in the vehicles, is not as daunting as doing the foot patrols, because you have the added protection of all the armour. Vehicle patrols also mean you get to see more of the Afghanistan countryside. It’s not much like our home in Catterick but at least there’s a lot to look at. I’ve had a really varied start to the tour and have visited most areas to protect lots of different shuras, as well as taking some long vehicle patrols. I’m really enjoying myself and I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of our tour holds for me and the lads.Credit Trooper Sam Lowe; Photographer: Lt Crean Soldiers from the RDG wait for the first of several flights; Photographer Lt Crean On Patrol in Lashkar Gah; Photographer: Sgt Elliott All material is Crown Copy Right