Sunday, March 14, 2010

Corporal Simon Smith, D Company, 1 Royal Welsh

I am a multiple commander with 10 platoon, D company. My working pattern currently finds me located in the main company Patrol Base (PB) doing two days guard followed by two days patrolling.

Corporal Simon Smith briefing his patrol before heading out.

Our patrols have ranged from a company sized operation of 70 Afghan National Army plus 40 ISAF soldiers to multiple sized patrols (a multiple is 12) for security.

For the first 14 days I had a platoon that was composed of 15 ISAF and 15 ANA living in a single, small compound. This was a huge learning experience as we were two different cultures in a very small compound and there was just the one interpreter enabling us to talk to each other. We used that compound to mount joint patrols in the area.

Whilst on patrol we look to reassure the locals that we are here to provide security. We seek out projects that will improve the area and yesterday we took books to a mosque that teaches 100 children. Today we will focus on route clearance.

The illegal checkpoint with the white Taliban flag

When we first conducted a route clearance we tackled an area that was a cross roads where the Taliban were running an illegal checkpoint. It had Taleban flags flying from a tree.

There was even a sign that read: To all Muslim people in our country the Taleban are laying bombs in this area at night, stay away from this area. We cleared the route then the ANA changed the flag to an Afghan flag, watched by the people in the local area. It was a good start to Operation Moshtarak.

Last night 11 Platoon found an IED. This morning we went out and they handed over the task of over-watch of the area to us and we checked a nearby compound. The more we searched the compound, the more IED component parts we found, from battery packs to explosives.

We had kept an eye on the man who owned the compound whilst this was going on and, once we’d finished searching, the ANA that we were working with went and arrested him. Further tests confirmed that he had been handling explosives. Today has been a good day for us, as it means less IEDs are available to the insurgents.

The Afghan flag up which was a good start to Operation Moshtarak

I am particularly proud of my multiple as it is newly formed; not one of my soldiers has been in the Army longer than a year. They have all stepped up to the mark and remained professional throughout. We have managed to gather a lot of intelligence through speaking to locals and working closely with the ANA and ANP. I think this is in part due to our having done so much Pre Deployment Training before coming out to Helmand.

Whatever the reason, their professionalism and positive attitude has enabled us to have successful days like today.


  1. Good luck to all the Royal Welsh currently on tour, we are behind you 100% back at home!

  2. Very interesting article - especially the fact that the Taleban notify the locals that they have planted IED's which obviously will make you even more aware. With regards to your 'squashed' compound I hope by now that has grown - as being on top of each other must only add to the stress of the job..As always, Proud of our Troops - God Bless you All. x

  3. its very intresting to hear first hand what the boys are actually doing out there- and very nice to know they are still pushing forward well. good luck simon- make sure you come home safe. xx

  4. aww wow amazing to see my bro in articles like this. well done simon ur awsome xxxxx