A GROUP of Fylde coast soldiers have sent back their first report from the front in Afghanistan.
Troops from 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards) (2 Yorks] – who are based at Weeton Barracks – have been deployed in Helmand province where they are teaching soldiers of the Afghan National Army.
As well as facing the stress of being on the front line, soldiers have to deal with being away from their creature comforts and their loved-ones.
Commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel David Colthup said: "Living conditions vary depending on location and the length of time British forces have been operating in a particular area, with the more recently established bases having a more austere feel.
"Each team is entirely self-sufficient, cooking their own food from ration packs and in many instances making improvised gym equipment to maintain levels of fitness.
"Despite the daily challenges of operating with the Afghan National Army (ANA) and adapting to a prolonged period away from normal comforts, morale among the teams is continually high."
The Battle Group consists of six Operational Mentor and Liaison Teams (OMLTs) – four infantry, one combat support including reconnaissance, engineers, communications and artillery and one for combat service support or logistics.
The infantry element is deployed across the Helmand area in which UK forces operate; where they live, sleep, eat, patrol and fight alongside the soldiers of the ANA on a daily basis.
Lt Col Colthup said: "The role itself involves mentoring Afghan soldiers from the ANA.
"Complementing the work done by the other battle groups within Task Force Helmand, the work is critical in developing the ANA and building the capacity needed by their security forces to defeat the insurgents and protect the people of Afghanistan. Mentoring is not a new concept.
"It has been used in Afghanistan for nearly four years now.
"We work on a day-to-day basis with Afghan counterparts deploying forward where necessary to support artillery gun positions, engineer work or resupply convoys to the infantry Kandaks," Lt Col Colthup added.