CHIEF of the General Staff, General Sir Peter Wall travelled to Lashkar Gah, where he visited the headquarters of Task Force Helmand and spoke with the Commander of British Forces in Helmand, Brigadier Rupert Jones, who updated him on the role of his troops in support of Afghan security forces.

General Wall then flew to the main British operating base in Helmand, Camp Bastion, where he visited the Brigade Advisory Group (BAG), made up of Bulford-based 4th Battalion The Rifles (4 RIFLES), under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Tom Bewick.

The BAG advises the Afghan National Army’s 3/215 Brigade, and General Wall took the opportunity to watch Afghan soldiers conduct mortar training in the adjacent Afghan Camp Shorabak.

He then conducted a tour of the various sites on camp involved in the redeployment of military equipment back to the UK.

5 Armoured Engineer Squadron (5 AES) of 22 Eng Regt was ordered to carry out an assurance search and clearance of Route 611, one of the main routes in Helmand.

The task was a Brigade ‘main effort’ and included EOD, the Search Task Force and protection provided by First Fusiliers This was two phase operation carried out in difficult terrain in temperatures in excess of 40C and was completed well inside the allocated time.

It was a truly multi-national operation including US, Danish, Estonian and Afghan forces working through what was essentially a permanent dust storm, and was a complete success.

5 Troop of 5 AES recently hosted a visit from Estonian soldiers and were briefed by Capt George Andrews on what the squadron does. This was followed by a series of stands set up to show off their vehicles and equipment.

The Estonians were especially impressed by the T-Hawk which is an unmanned aerial vehicle, introduced by Bombardier JC Fowler. We also had Corporal Frankie Wilson and Lance Corporal Brucey Bruce who broke down the language barrier to demonstrate the capabilities of the Buffalo vehicles and Talon Robot.

To help keep members of the regiment fit while on deployment, Staff Sergeant Durham designed The Norminator (known locally as the pain frame), which combines several training tools and provides a challenging workout for soldiers on tour.