View Full Version : Gaz's Deployment Blog #1 by [R-DEV]Gaz

2010-04-12, 17:00
Some may already know that I am deploying again from June for a tour with 1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment (1 R IRISH). We will be part of 16 Air Assault Brigade and are expected to deploy to theatre around October 2010 on Operation Herrick 13 (H13), a winter tour in Afghanistan.

Our last tour as a Bn was 2008 as 'Imjin Coy' went very well. The first half of the 6 month tour was comprised of force protection (FP), sentry duties (stagging on in Bastion and IRT duties. The latter is a rough job. Basically the infantry protection for the medical teams who fly out to retrieve wounded personnel, locals and enemy combatants. They often assisted in the medical treatment of gun shot wounds and blast injuries. Unfortunately some don't make it, and is a rather messy affair. For a young soldier's first tour, it's not a sight to savour. The 2nd half of the 6 month tour was spent rotating platoons in Forward Operating Bases (FOBs). You can see the tour video here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqKSNUQgPcQ).

Back to the present day, and all those who had been warned of deployment for H13 were pulled in this weekend to fire the ACMT (the new name for the Annual Personal Weapon Test - APWT), which has been modified to reflect the more common engagements by troops on the ground in Afghanistan. Great shooting weather with a light head on wind and the sun splitting the trees. Passed without a problem from 400m down to the 50m snap shoot. We also did the usual re-fam on the Sig 226 pistols, GPMGs (Gimpies) and LMGs as background activities to stave off the mong factor everyone eventually goes into while waiting to fire. The usual bullshit and banter applied of course, all in good humour.

Sunday comprised of a Combat Fitness Test (CFT) and briefings. This is an annual requirement, but due to us being an air assault infantry battalion, we are expected to far surpass the 'basic' level. Personal fitness is something each individual soldier is required to maintain. The CFT is an 8 mile speed march to be completed in 120mins (2 hrs) over varying terrian, with 44lbs including rifle, webbing, helmet and daysacks. It was previously common to do this with Bergens, but again, no one goes on patrol on Herrick with a bergen. Lots of sandbags full of sand were filled and kit packed, and off we went. Went without a hitch, although for the first time in 10 years I got a blister from tabbing. I was not impressed. Turned out the Zinc Oxide tape I used on my left heel had a fold in it, right on a pressure point, but it's a minor thing that I will check next time! This was also the first time I had actually used my CamelBak instead of leaving it in a pile of kit in my office in the camp. Awesome piece of kit, makes life easier than trying to get hold of a water bottle that doesn't hold much liquid.

After completion, we warmed down, rehydrated and grabbed a quick wash and had a t-shirt and smock change. Cracked on with the admin and paperwork checks run by the admin staff and had some briefings on the call ups from various people. I've heard all these before, but as someone who was last on tour in 2003 in Iraq, it's good to see how the process has come on. The CO briefed us first, with a 'well done', and every person sitting in this room will be going speech. Our new CO has only been in post for a few months, but is very approachable, young, and a family man. Great to see. He has not missed out a CFT, PFT or Bn boot run yet. So that's our names now on a list as confirmed and we are just awaiting our legal notification of call up. I have 8 weeks before having to report to Chilwell Mobilisation Centre, and I have 2 teeth to be pulled, financial stuff to sort and a life to put on hold for a year.

I hope to blog as much as possible (internet access allowing) with my experiences from beginning to end, so that the community can see the job we do and to provide a personal insight to those who may be considering doing the same. I hope it is of some use, or at least is a good read. The next blog will be probably after next weekend.

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