Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Maj Rupert Follett, 2 RIFLES BG, FOB Wishtan
Update from Forward Operating Base Wishtan – 23rd September
The end of the tour is almost in sight, the days are ticking by and our replacements have started to arrive. The new Royal Engineer section has now been here for over a week, new signallers arrived today and the first man from 1 SCOTS is in and getting used to his new surroundings. All our replacements will receive a thorough handover during the coming few weeks, so that they are prepared for the challenges of living and operating in Wishtan. The R and R window has now closed so the FOB is as full as it has been for months.
Operationally there is no let up and the tempo remains high. 5 Pl under Lt Parry and Sjt Clark deployed on a 4 day expeditionary patrol and worked closely with the Afghan National Army with great results. C Company are now a routine presence in the Sangin Wadi, which is one of the main arterial routes into Sangin District Centre. We patrol to extend ISAF influence, deter insurgent activity and reassure the locals.
9 Pl under 2Lt Little and Cpl Scott recently deployed to Patrol Base Chakaw and will remain there until the end of the tour. Sjt Moncho has remained in the FOB to conduct the G4 handover and has his hands full accounting for kit and equipment. We have said goodbye to Sjt Heng who was the previous G4 stores account holder, he has finished his tour and has headed back to 7 Rifles.
Election day is now a month ago and we still feel the tragic loss of Pte Young YORKS and Sjt McAleese who were killed that awful day. Now that we have BFBS television and internet we have been able to watch some of the coverage surrounding their deaths and their funerals, all of our hearts go out to their families and friends.
C Company also feel the loss of Sjt McGrath, killed in action recently near FOB Keenan. He was our Mortar Fire Controller in FOB Gibraltar before the Company moved to Wishtan and again our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.
We have had the RSM patrol up from FOB Jackson to spend a few days with us. It was good to see him and he helped to reconstruct our outdoor gym. Sideburns have noticeably lengthened since he went back to FOB Jackson! On a lighter note the Company Serjeant Major, WO2 Thompson, continues to play the same tracks from ‘The Wurzels’ greatest hits every night. Cpl Rowley has just returned from Bastion, where he managed to squeeze a morning’s work into 5 days as he checked the signals account. The Pharmacy Road Cricket Club has been formed, 2Lt Hilliard fashioned a bat from a piece of wood, a pole from a cot bed and a lot of black nasty tape. Regrettably on the very first ball delivered by our Doctor – Capt Cranley, 2Lt Hilliard’s enthusiasm got the better of him, as an Australian he was probably trying to win back the Ashes, and he smashed the ball over the perimeter wall. No one has yet been brave enough or daft enough to go and retrieve it. It is hoped that a game against the Salamanca Cricket Club founded by Lt Horsfall when he was in Patrol Base Chakaw can be arranged.
We are all looking forward to coming home as it has been a long and brutal slog. The number of Riflemen sun bathing in any spare moment has increased, in an effort to look suntanned and interesting for our return. I cannot finish without mentioning all the welfare parcels and mail we have received throughout the tour. It has been overwhelming and really does make a marked difference to morale, so huge thanks to everybody who has supported us.
With best wishes
Major Rupert Follett
Officer Commanding FOB Wishtan.