Pit Stop on the Road Home
By Corporal Tom Hume
21 September 2009
Our bags are packed and we are ready to leave the FOB for good but not for home just yet. A few Leopard C2’s and an ARV are heading out on one last adventure before coming home never to see the FOB again (this tour). We are rolling old school due to the lack of weapons tech support required for the Leo 2 turrets. So just when we thought we may finally be done with the “well used” C2’s everything had to be topped up, triple checked, and packed in preparation for our almost month long task away from the FOB and Squadron. Implements were mounted on all the participating tanks to include the plough and dozer blade that have seen little use this tour and the rollers that have never stopped.
Initial reaction upon hearing the news was mixed but leaned heavily on the disappointed side as the realization that communication with home would be limited to a single satellite phone and that we would not be living in comfort, the same as the Recce troops we are supporting. We had a week to get to 100% and we barely made it because not only did we have to prepare for the task but our return home as well. All was resting on getting the last tanks engine running and back in after three previously failed attempts. Packs were pulled from other tanks and the scramble to get at least one of them working lasted until noon the day before we leave. I know anyone that has worked in the squadrons can relate to the frustrations of tank maintenance especially with a deadline.
With the majority of 2 Troop soon to be out of the FOB the squadron was forced to Re-organize once again, fielding 3 tank troops, pillaging soldiers from every corner of the squadron to meet the requirements of the FOB. Troopers, Captains (read DO) and everyone in between squinted in the sun as they found themselves venturing outside the CP as part of the new 33 Troop. For those of us in 2 Troop our kit has been loaded into seacans not to be seen till we get to KAF, all we have is our Rucks, our tanks and hopefully a sense of humour as we head out for a month of uncomfortable but truly real soldiering. The first tours know what it’s like but as with any tour with every roto life gets a little more comfortable. I am glad to get a taste of how it used to be but with the beaches and beers of Cyprus on the horizon I hope it all goes by fast.