Eight months of intense training and here we sit; waiting. Time slows, the days lengthen and we await our orders. Gone are the perpetual serials: mortar attacks, small arms firefights, helicopter assault operations all of which characterized intense but short weeks of training. Now life becomes less certain, as commanders wrestle with decisions based on their understanding of events, plans and timings change perpetually. Uncertainty; ours, our partners and the insurgents, pervades our every waking moment.
The company is well fed, the accommodation is comfortable, the gyms well furnished, our washing is done on a daily basis and the mail flows in from home. We are comfortable, yet a sense of intense frustration fills the air, ‘let me have my turn’ demand the majority of the Company whilst older, wiser heads are only to aware that you want to be careful what you wish for. Despite the obvious dangers the Company is rearing at the bit, let us prove ourselves, give us an opportunity. Don’t let this training be in vain, give it meaning. Let me soldier.
This is simply petulance. As a commander there is no place for such sentiment. I have no doubt that the entire Company will rise to the challenges that will present themselves but men will not be sent forward based on their desire to fight. Capabilities, skills and suitability will all be considered so that the appropriate Riflemen are selected for missions. The time is approaching to deploy the Company onto the front line.
Words count for little out here; amongst our team only actions matter. Not the actions of individuals but the actions of the team. Over the past eight months we have built and trained our teams from four men to eighty now we get to put ourselves to the test. Bravado fades, black humor remains, but individuals focus, training increases in intensity and then the pauses linger. We await our call forward.
The work that Colour Serjeant Rob Grimes is attempting to expose is the side that you rarely see. These are the quiet, personal moments, how we live, laugh, cope and support each other through the challenges of a six month deployment. How our team survives the trials that this place subjects us to. These are the moments before we step outside the relatively safe perimeter of our two hundred meter square FOB and where we can seek comfort once we return.
By Maj I Posgate (Officer Commanding B Company)
Regards Project Afghan