This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
This Press Release – in the form of a briefing from the Commanding Officer - was issued soon after the Battalion’s arrival in Afghanistan and is reproduced here as it sums up the Battalion’s rôle.


2 MERCIAN take over responsibility for mentoring The Afghanistan National Army


Left to right: Sgt Lowe, Cpl Cope, Pte Ridley, Pte Mackenzie, Cpl Atherton, Sgt Wood, Pte Sammut, LCpl Gavan, Capt Kennedy, Capt Lygo, Sgt Edwards


Left to right, rear row: Pte Ridley, Pte Sammut, Sgt Edwards, Cpl Cope, LCpl Gavan, Cpl Atherton. Front row: Sgt Lowe, Capt Kennedy, Capt Lygo, CSgt Wood, Pte Mackenzie


We are now complete in Camp Tombstone, Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Located next to Camp Shorabak, the home of 3 Brigade of 205 “Hero Corps” of The Afghanistan National Army (ANA), we are in a prime location to be the Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT) Battle Group (BG) for the ANA. In this role, we are mentoring the ANA, guiding them into a position where they will be able to work independently and, in the foreseeable future, enable them to provide their own security for Afghanistan. We do this by attaching mentors to ANA Kandaks (Battalions) and attaching teams of 8-10 men to ANA Companies, themselves about 100 men strong. In effect, our soldiers are spread over a number of Patrol Bases (PBs) throughout Helmand. These locations are often remote and austere and, for the next 6 months, we will be living, working and fighting alongside our Afghan comrades.


For the majority, the move to Afghanistan was a charter flight from the UK to Dubai followed by a military flight by C17 to Camp Bastion (BSN) in the middle of the Helmand desert. Immediately on landing, no matter what time of day it was, there were mandatory briefs to listen to, after which everyone could get their heads down for the night before the Reception, Staging and Onward Integration (RSOI) commenced in earnest. The RSOI package for the OMLT BG is slightly different to the rest in southern Afghanistan. After one long day of PowerPoint presentations in Bastion, we moved direct to Camp Tombstone for an OMLT-specific four day training package.


The first day incorporated an overview of the ANA and the whole spectrum of operations. The second covered basic personal skills specific to theatre involving key reports which would need


50 October 2009


to be filled out whilst on operations, theatre hygiene and, most importantly, specific medical training which would be useful to us over the next 6 months. The third day covered what was, for most, the most interesting subject - weapons training. Here, the Heavy Machine Gun, Grenade Machine Gun, General Purpose Machine Gun, Sig Sauer pistol and the traditional SA80A2 personal rifle were fired by every individual. The highlight was the live firing Section attack carrying radios and a casualty on the withdrawal, not something we expected to do in the first few days of arriving in Afghanistan but something which could become very real over the next six months. On the fourth day, we were split into two groups with one group completing Signals and vehicle equipment care demonstrations and the other group covering counter measures for dealing with Improvised Explosive Devices at day and night (a salient issue at the present time and a sobering piece of training for most). Each night there were several lectures for all ranks to attend to ensure that the plethora of information was fully taken in. These covered an array of subjects, including how the OMLT fitted into the NATO role and how individuals were expected to interact with the ANA - a lot to absorb in such a short time but highly relevant to what we were about to take on.


Everyone agreed that this was one of the best RSOI packages that they have taken part in and congratulations go to the 1 RIFLES BG for delivering such a worthwhile package. The lessons we have learnt will stand us in excellent stead for the tour and there is no doubt that we will hit the ground running. From Tombstone, the BG has deployed to over 20 different locations spread over hundreds of miles to start their takeovers. This was completed as of 27th March and I took command of the OMLT BG; the Battalion’s soldiers are in position and already patrolling with their ANA counterparts. Over the next 6 months I look forward to working with our ANA allies, fostering our links with them and furthering their abilities. They are the future for this country and it is our job to support them and mentor them until they are ready to take the helm. For all of you at home, we hope that you are well and, as always, I pass on my best wishes. It is good to hear that the first meetings of the Wives’ group were so well supported (I hope that this continues). Morale here is high and the men are itching to crack on with their task. This promises to be a memorable tour and one which will allow us to make a real difference to the ANA.


The Mercian Eagle


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110  |  Page 111  |  Page 112  |  Page 113  |  Page 114  |  Page 115  |  Page 116  |  Page 117  |  Page 118  |  Page 119  |  Page 120  |  Page 121  |  Page 122  |  Page 123  |  Page 124  |  Page 125  |  Page 126  |  Page 127  |  Page 128  |  Page 129  |  Page 130  |  Page 131  |  Page 132  |  Page 133  |  Page 134  |  Page 135  |  Page 136  |  Page 137  |  Page 138  |  Page 139  |  Page 140  |  Page 141  |  Page 142  |  Page 143  |  Page 144  |  Page 145  |  Page 146  |  Page 147  |  Page 148  |  Page 149  |  Page 150  |  Page 151  |  Page 152  |  Page 153  |  Page 154  |  Page 155  |  Page 156  |  Page 157  |  Page 158  |  Page 159  |  Page 160  |  Page 161  |  Page 162  |  Page 163  |  Page 164
Produced with Yudu - www.yudu.com