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.


  1. I have found these blogs a vital communication link, one sided communication at least,it gives us at home an insight as to what you have to endure out there! you are all amazing. "swift and Bold"

  2. Was really sad that Michael Yon mucked up some terrific reporting about you guys there with that spat he had over his embed. Really did not need to read that protracted whinge. It detracted from some otherwise wonderful news about you guys and what a terrific job you are doing. We are all very proud of you. I have no family members serving. Just a regular civvie. But want you to be assured that many of us DO value what you are doing, understand why you are there, want you to be properly equipped but know you are the best trained soldiers in the world. Thank you for all your brave efforts. Keep on smashing the Taliban. And as we get closer to Poppy Day we will remember all those who lost their lives or have come away severely injured, for the heroes that they are. God bless.

  3. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 10/14/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.