Sunday, March 28, 2010
Non Kinetic Effects Team - Colour Sergeant Johns
I am part of the D Company Non Kinetic Effects Team, 1 Royal Welsh. I am attached to D company and have been based with their HQ element since Operation Moshtarak started in the western Babaji area.
During Operation Moshtarak I have been working alongside WO2 Anthony MacGann who is a member of the Military Stabilisation and Support Team (MSST). Our roles vary from providing support to the local population and aiding with reconstruction to dealing with Psychological Operations (Psy Ops) which makes use of the sound commander (a form of loud speaker).
On the ground I may use the sound commander to let the local population know of upcoming shuras, to encourage people to meet their District Community Council representative, to let them know we can provide emergency medical treatment and to advertise for skilled workers in order to employ them in local reconstruction and development projects.
On a day-to-day basis we deal with walk-ins which vary from people asking for compensation for damaged property to requests for emergency medical assistance. The most common medical complaint we see is scalding for children and infections from cuts for adults. We also had one child who came in who had been shot in the shoulder some weeks back (prior to the troops’ arrival to the area). We checked the wound and the doctor gave him exercises to do to strengthen it and prevent the muscles from withering away.
My basic Pashtu is developing. Prior to deployment I took part in a five day course designed to enable us to be able to issue orders to locals when on Vehicle Check Points and conducting searches. Since arriving in Nad-e Ali I have used greetings and developed my general conversational skills with the children.
I work with the MSST in organising shuras which are then run by the ANA. We have bought carpets, glasses and tea pots for the chai in order to be able to host the locals properly. Before each shura we buy fresh chai and cakes. These are all bought from the local bazaar. If people are staying for lunch then we will serve fat-tailed sheep; a delicacy that is named from the local sheep which have fatty bottoms!
The fat is fried and is a bit like crackling. It is cooked, along with the meat, with potatoes and red onions by the ANA and served with rice. It is not heavily spiced, is quite greasy but tastes good and is always a treat to eat fresh food. The largest shura organised at this location so far has been for over 80 people.
The local bazaar has increased in trade due to the improved security in the area and because it is serving the newly arrived ANA and ANP in the area. We visit the bazaar too; every Friday we buy potatoes which we then use to cook chips. This is the first time I have worked as a member of the Non Kinetics Effects Team. Though it can take time for the positive effects of our work to show it is a highly rewarding job.