Gereshk Evening Patrol and Fighting

September 2, 2007

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Now I have arrived in a forward operating base in Gereshk, still in Helmand, where I am staying with 3 Company, Grenadier Guards. I have been told that the base is frequently mortared but the soldiers seem jovial.
But it’s more than jovial. It is as if they don’t think that life can throw anything at them that they can’t handle anymore. It is strange meeting a large group of 18 year-old men with this sort of confidence.
In some of the older soldiers, even those in their early twenties, that I have been with I noticed that they would be happy never too see another bullet fired. They are business-like about carrying on. The young soldiers I have seen here still find these actions thrilling.
I have been on an evening patrol with 3 Platoon, commanded by Lieutenant Rupert Stevens. The idea was that they would go forward in “Viking” vehicles and occupy an area to dissuade the Taliban from mortaring the main base that we are staying at.
I thought that the patrol would end without incident when darkness fell, but the Taliban fired at us just when it was too late for my Sony Z1 camera to film it. My Z1 is full of sand anyway and I’m finding it hard to keep it going. Fortunately I have a small backup camera, which has some limited night-vision capability, and so I used that to film the contact.
It was another day’s soldiering for the young men I was with but for me it was an evening that I will never forget.



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