By: Tpr McAulay
17 July 2009
C Squadron has finally past the half-way mark of our tour and now find ourselves in the middle of the hottest weather Afghanistan has to offer. Along with the heat has come the fighting season here in the Panjwai district. C Squadron's role in the mission has proven to be a busy task as we face nearly daily Quick Reaction Force (QRF) calls and find that the tanks are always in high demand.
The QRF deals with a variety of challenges on nearly a daily basis. They are called out anytime a Improvised Explosive Device (IED) is found, whether it is to attempt to exploit and remove the danger or to provide security to area and to help anyone that may have been injured due to the Taliban's cowardly attacks. Due to the destructive nature of the Taliban's tactics, we find ourselves spending a large amount of our time helping to rebuild local infrastructure in an attempt to help keep the local population in our favour. We also need to overcome the sometimes damaging results that can occur through the use of our military vehicles. The new Leopard tanks that are now in use here weigh in at upwards of seventy tons. The local highways and bridges were not designed for heavy use by large vehicles as many were designed for nothing more than a small car or a home-made cart being pulled by a donkey. Bridges are constantly needed to be repaired and can become lengthy tasking for all involved.
Although we have become increasingly busy over the past months everyone has remained positive and in good spirits. The variety and multitude of tasks helps keep the monotony to a minimum and makes the days and week seem to fly by. Many people have now returned from their HLTA's while some have yet to start. Whether they return home to see their families or take some time to visit vacationing hotspots around the world, everyone seems to come back re-energized and ready to finish out the last half of the tour.
It is encouraging seeing how positive everyone has remained, overcoming challenges here that most people could not imagine. With temperatures averaging forty-five degrees or higher and long hours of hard physically demanding work it's impressive to see how high everyone's spirits remain. The good humour from many of the soldiers helps to keep the laughs constant and the morale up. There will always be the few standouts who do their extra part to keep smiles on peoples faces, and they are always appreciated. There is rarely a time you can find anyone who doesn't enjoy a good chortle. These are the types of people that have helped to pass this tour quickly and get everyone home in good spirits.