Monday, March 1, 2010
Lance Corporal Jeevan Rai, Queens Own Gurkha Logisitics Regiment
It was 0400 and there were people everywhere preparing vehicles and checking routes. Whilst noisy and busy, each vehicle knew exactly where it fitted into the convoy to resupply A Company, 1 Royal Welsh at Showal. We were not only taking re-supplies but bringing in building equipment to build a new Patrol Base at Showal.
This was no mean feat as there were 59 vehicles and 188 people involved in the move, known as Op Clay 5. We were one of the vehicles at the front of the convoy and were there to provide Force Protection. I was in charge of Whiskey 3, a mastiff with Counter-IED rollers, a formidable beast of a vehicle. My team and I have lots of experience of clearing routes and making convoys safe. It makes me really proud to be able to do this and it also feels quite a big responsibility knowing that other people’s safety is in my hands.
Breakfast had been at some crazy time (about 0200) so we cracked open our plastic pot of noodles that we shared around after about 1 hour on the road. Bit spicy but just the way we like it.
The journey to Showal was 3.5 hours long and after about 2 hours my driver shouted “Stop!” The vehicle in front of us had spotted an IED. My team got out the mastiff to assess the danger and the decision was made to divert the convoy on another route. Its our business to create by-pass routes and provide that safe passage. Was I nervous? Well actually not. Though it sounds big headed, I don’t get nervous easily but I am cautious and careful.
And so was the convoy which reached Showal on time. We were greeted by the engineers who were in a hurry to see us and in a bigger hurry to build the patrol base.
Pictures: Sqn Ldr Dee Taylor, RAF