Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Colour Sergeant Damo Hudson, Forward Air Controller (FAC), D Company, 1 Royal Welsh
I have been the FAC for D company, 1 Royal Welsh since the start of their tour. My role is to advise the company commander on the assets available for Close Air Support (CAS). I also direct Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) assets to where he requires them and interpret the images that are relayed back to me via the downlink. In addition, I guide the helicopters in to helicopter landing sites (HLSs) when the company is being resupplied or we have people leaving or joining us.
This morning I woke up and checked what air (ISTAR or CAS assets) I had been allocated. The company commander then gave me my tasks for the day. Today, I am looking for signs or movement that would indicate IED placements on one of the roads going into the village. So I settled at my desk in the ops room, hoping for a quiet day.
My job is mostly reactive so a quiet day is a good day. The ops room has been set up in one of the rooms in the compound we are operating from and currently houses the HQ elements of 1 Royal Welsh and number 1 Company of 1/3/201 Kandak and their French mentors.
A couple of hours into the start of the day there was an almighty explosion; one of our Mastiffs had been hit whilst going out to pick up some engineers from a Check Point (CP).
Thus my quiet day turned busy. I radioed back to our headquarter element in Camp Bastion for an ISTAR asset and I was given a Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to provide over-watch of the area. I was able to use this to provide protection to our lads who were dealing with the incident outside the compound.
After the area was checked for further IEDs, I tracked the recovery of the vehicle back to our compound. Again, my role was to provide over-watch in order to protect our guys during the process. I also used the UAV to scan the rest of the route for signs of further IEDs.
Finally, I used the UAV to provide security for a funeral procession that passed along the route later that day which the ANA and ANP attended. We had a fear that the IED attack might be followed up by small arms fire, or worse, and so we kept the UAV on task to ensure that the funeral could take place in relative safety.
As the day ended, I had a short rest before putting in requests for assets required over the next few days and starting my night shift of maintaining over-watch over the areas requested by the commanding officer.
In order to do this job I have been attached to 1 Royal Horse Artillery who are based in Tidworth. I will hold the post of FAC for two years before returning to the Royal Welsh. This job is very different to what I have done before and I have enjoyed it.