Skip to comments.Vikings honoured for Afghan deployment (1st Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment)
Posted on 11/17/2007 12:22:05 PM PST by SandRat
Soldiers from 1st Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment (The Vikings) have received their campaign medals today, Thursday 15 November 2007, following their return from what was a gruelling six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Just weeks after returning home from the dust and heat the soldiers were honoured in front of proud families and friends. More than 500 soldiers marched onto the parade square at Elizabeth Barracks, in Pirbright, to be awarded their Operation Herrick campaign medals.
The soldiers were presented their campaign medals by the Colonel The Royal Anglian Regiment Major General John Sutherell CB CBE DL, assisted by four veterans from Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridge.
Praising his men, the Commanding Officer of The 1st Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Carver, said:
"The Vikings are in excellent shape. It has been a life changing tour for many. Officers and soldiers have been in contact with the enemy regularly. They have demonstrated professional skill and courage and the physical demands of both the extreme climate and such difficult terrain all added its own complexity. I pay huge tribute to them all.
"We also recognise the tremendous support we have received from our families and friends, and the communities both here in Pirbright and in East Anglia.
"While our return from Afghanistan is a very happy time for the soldiers, their families and friends, it is tinged with sadness as we remember the soldiers from our own and other Regiments and Battalions who have been killed and wounded whilst serving in Afghanistan. It is incumbent on us all to ensure that our fallen are never forgotten and the wounded are given every opportunity to continue their careers."
The soldiers returned to Pirbright last month where they were greeted by hundreds of friends and family who had waited in the rain for them to arrive. Throughout the last six months, the Royal Anglians have been at the very forefront of the fight against the Taliban, a tenacious and determined enemy. Based in Helmand Province the Anglians conducted four Battlegroup operations and over 100 Company level operations across the length and breadth of the Province.
In common with all units in Task Force Helmand, they took the fight to the enemy with over 350 engagements during that period. As a result of their efforts the Regiment has helped to improve security while enabling the ability of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to bring governance and redevelopment to the area.
Nicknamed 'The Vikings', The Royal Anglians had an arduous and challenging tour. With temperatures reaching 50 Celsius, the soldiers suffered in the searing heat. June saw A and B Company take part in Operation Ghartse Ghar which saw them make their approach through the Green Zone at night in order to be in position to block the enemy escape routes across the Helmand River.
After a 12 kilometre approach both companies were in almost continuous contact the following day and remained in the Green Zone for nine days. The Taliban perception that the area was a safe haven for them was shattered and the locals began to realise that there was an alternative to intimidation. Reconstruction efforts were boosted following this operation with a significant increase in locals coming forward with proposals for projects, in particular a number of irrigation projects.
Meanwhile, residents, visitors and workers in Guildford are set to line the streets of the town centre next week to officially welcome home the Vikings from Afghanistan. The homecoming parade, organised by Guildford Borough Council and the Mayor of Guildford, will take place on Tuesday 20 November 2007. The public will see 400 soldiers from the regiment march through the town centre led by a military band.
Thought the two MOD Stories would make you smile.
Good to hear they got a nice welcome home from Afghanistan!
...........To maintain the element of surprise, soldiers from A, Norfolk Company set off on the operation overnight and on foot from their base in Sangin to cover the 16km distance to their starting position, carrying up to 80lbs worth of equipment such as heavy machine guns, mortars, and under slung grenade launchers as well as supplies.
At dawn the following day the Royal Anglian soldiers approached the Taliban positions in a pincer movement from all sides blocking their escape routes, with the Afghan National Army used to draw out the Taliban so that the Royal Anglians could engage them and push them further north and out of the Sangin Valley area.
The soldiers came under attack from small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades, which continued throughout the day.
At one point during the battle, the Afghan National Army soldiers were pinned down by Taliban and support from an Apache helicopter was called in to drop a 2000lb bomb on the Taliban position, killing 8 Taliban fighters.(Ouch!)
Despite severe fire fights, A and B Companies continued their advance up and down the Sangin Valley clearing the Juysalay area. The remaining hardcore Taliban were destroyed or managed to escape from the area.
During their advance, the soldiers were helped by local villagers they came across, who gave them vital intelligence on the whereabouts of Taliban in the area.
After reaching their objective twelve hours later, the Royal Anglians pitched camp. There followed a brief fire fight with more Taliban fighters when a Royal Anglian soldier was shot in the chest, but the bullet was deflected by his body armour resulting in a less serious wrist injury.
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