Newbury officers return from war
Lt Ed Aitken and Lt Freddie Taylor-Dickson, who have been in Afghanistan, are looking forward to the cold weather
TWO army officers from Newbury are about to return home following a six month tour of Afghanistan.
Lt Ed Aitken and Lt Freddie Taylor-Dickson, both aged 25, are serving in Helmand Province with A Squadron of the 9th/12th Royal Lancers.
The two officers were deployed from their base in Hohne, Germany, back in April and over the past six months have been working to provide security on one of the main roads running through the British area of operations.
In their Scimitar light tanks and Jackal vehicles, the soldiers patrol along Highway one, preventing insurgents from being able to plant roadside bombs or Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
When not on patrol, Lt Aitken and Lt Taylor-Dickson work out of Forward Operating Base Price in the northern part of the Nahr-e Saraj District of Helmand Province.
They share the base with members of the Danish battlegroup, as well as Bosnian troops and US Marines.
The pair have both been in the army since 2009 and Lt Taylor-Dickson said: "There are a number of gun men operating in the area and they quite often have a pot shot at us depending on where we go - sometimes with rockets and sometimes with machine guns."
He said the most challenging aspect was getting the local army to trust them. "They operate very differently to us and it's a matter of establishing close relationships with the local commanders and developing a level of trust so that we can do some of the more dangerous patrols and plan them together."
He added that he was looking forward to seeing family and friends on his return and enjoying the cold weather.
Meanwhile, a member of the Royal Air Force from Goring has been awarded a special medal by the American Navy and Marine Corps for her work in Afghanistan. See this week's Newbury Weekly News for the story.