My Tour So Far
Cpl JDL Moncrieff
25 May 2008
As a gunner I am constantly assigned with arcs, “left of arc lone hut, right of arc group of trees”. What is within these arcs is what I am responsible for. For myself, I have broken this tour down into two separate arcs; “left of arc start of tour, right of arc start of HLTA”, “left of arc end of HLTA, right of arc end of tour”. By the time this is being read my first set of arcs will be complete, and this is what happened in between them.
When we arrived in Afghanistan we had about five days in KAF before heading out to FOB Ma’Sum Ghar. This time was spent doing our arrival briefings, and receiving our remaining tan kit. During this time we also attended the ramp ceremony for Tpr Hayakaze, this was a sad time but it served to bring home the seriousness of this mission. We then hopped on helicopters and we were soon in our new home. We were all looking forward to getting acquainted with our new digs, especially the soldiers who were here on the last B SQN tour who had slept in tents, however SSM Batty had other plans. We were politely told to drop our kit and head out to the tanks so that we could take part in a range. We spent not even five minutes in the place we had waited so long to get to and we were already out the door. The range went well and we were able to check the accuracy of our guns as well as get some tips from the outgoing squadron.
With the handover from the outgoing squadron complete we began to assume other responsibilities such as Quick Reaction Force, (QRF) and Defense and Security (D&S). D&S entails manning the run ups that over look the surrounding area. This task, combined with the Observation Posts, gives us a 360 degree awareness of our immediate surroundings.
Our first Operation (Op) took place in mid March. 1st and 2nd Troop traveled west, along with many other Battle Group elements, in support of a Recce Squadron task taking place to our North. For me the Op was uneventful, and was a good opportunity to gain some experience and see more of the country.
The next big event for 2nd Troop was our trip down to Patrol Base Sperwan Ghar (Sper) for two weeks. The troop thoroughly enjoyed Sper and the many amenities it offered, specifically the seemingly endless supply of energy drinks! While we were there we participated in a small one day Op. We traveled a few kilometers down the Arghandab river bed in order to re-supply a Police Sub-Station( PSS).
Another important part of this tour is the new Leopard 2 A6M tanks. So far we are greatly enjoying them. They have taken a bit to get used to but all in all they are an incredible piece of kit. The many new features allow us to do our jobs even better than before and we are grateful to have them.
The first 3 months of the tour have gone by fairly fast. My first set of arcs will soon come to an end, at which time my crew and I will jockey back for HLTA and then take up our next firing position and a new set of arcs. The experience thus far has been a good one. As a Reservist I have enjoyed being a part of an operational tank squadron. Two years ago this would have been unheard of. It hasn’t always been easy, but the motto of my adoptive regiment, “Perseverance”, has helped me through.