Monday, June 1, 2009

Corporal Steve Childs, 10 Platoon, 2 RIFLES, FOB Gibraltar, Helmand

10 Platoon arrived in FOB Gibraltar around the 15th of April, taking over from a group of very large, tanned Royal Marines. There was an element of ground rush almost immediately as the enormity of the task ahead presented itself. However the lads soon got ready and we were on patrol almost immediately.

The Green Zone, where we operate is a strip of irrigated land either side of the Helmand River. It is made up of poppy and wheat fields, tree lines and deep irrigation ditches. Interspersed among all of this are mud walled compounds that could have been there for hundreds of years. The fields are divided up in a similar way to England with tree lines and irrigation ditches taking the place of hedges. The heat can be intense. When you take a knee in the wheat field the heat is trapped among the stalks and it can get oppressive.

The first few days we were here the Poppies were in full bloom and you could be mistaken for calling the local area beautiful. Since we have been here, we have watched the poppy harvested and the fields cleared for maize and the wheat ripen and turn yellow. The Afghans trying as much as possible to carry on with their everyday lives despite being caught in the middle of an intense conflict between ourselves and the Taliban.

The local Afghans are an interesting lot. 30 years of near perpetual conflict has left them philosophical about their future and their present. Most of the elders are illiterate although they are no fools; they are resigned to their fate of being middlemen in our current deployment.

The Afghan National Army, which we work with on a daily basis down in their own Patrol Base are very different. Most of them are from the North of Afghanistan, so they look different. The locals here are ethnic Pashtuns where as the ANA are Tajiks and Uzbeks. They can be very funny not least in their partiality to some of the younger, better looking members of the platoon. Strangely Cpl Waldron has been invited to the ANA Commander’s summer house on leave, sorry Steph but you have some competition.

As far as welfare in the FOB is concerned we need to correct the expectation that there is internet and text link in the FOB. There was the former but all the terminals are broken and are now back in Bastion so the only means of communication is by Satellite Phone.

The lads are writing letters but you must realise that helicopters come so rarely to the FOB that there can be at least a month disconnect from the letter being written to it arriving to you so please be patient.

I cannot emphasise how important Parcels are for morale and every fortnight when the Helicopter comes in it is like Christmas morning for the guys so keep sending them!
My job as platoon commander is made so easy by the hard work, dedication and diligence of the men under my command. They are an inspiration to me and you should all be very proud.

Corporal Steve Childs
1 Section Commander
10 Platoon


  1. Keep the blog up Steve my nephew is In Jackson with A company. Good luck to you and the lads keep your heads down and chin's up!.

  2. I agree. Well done Steve.I have a mate with A Coy. Keep up the good work. I know that its not easy and the risks you run are immense. You'd be surprised at the strength of the support you lads have back here.

  3. Hey Steve, my son is in A Coy. I love these blogs! Please keep them coming. looking forward to the medal parade when you are all home, safe. x