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Operations: Lance Corporal Rick Carson

Lance Corporal Rick Carson is one of over 350 Royal Yeomanry soldiers to mobilise for operations on Op Herrick in Afghanistan.

Lance Corporal Rick Carson

Lance Corporal Rick Carson

I mobilised as a ‘dismount commander’ with the 9th/12th Lancers on Op Herrick in Helmand in 2010. This meant that we were mounted in a Spartan armoured vehicle but whenever the job called for it I led the group of four soldiers who got out and moved in on foot. We were backed up by 16 Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers and we had the Scimitars with their 30mm cannon supporting us and providing the muscle.

Our main role when based in the tiny Check Point (CP) of Kaly was to work with the local ANA. Together we would conduct disruption patrols, or specific ops based on intelligence. This is where you earn your money! Specific ops can last for several days, and my experience is that there was always a reason we are going in. The reception generally isn’t friendly.

Ambushed by insurgents

Despite that there were some great times. On one operation we were ambushed by insurgents. However the previous night we sat on the top of the vehicles looking across from a plateau over Helmand Province with the river below, flanked by the green zone, and in the distance the Hindu Kush mountain range! An absolutely stunning view.

The idea that an Army Reservist Lance Corporal could fulfil this role was new to many of our regular counterparts when we arrived, however the attributes that we brought were quickly recognised and we fitted in extremely well within the team. For instance, reservists are often slightly older than regular soldiers and look at situations from a slightly different angle, which in a complex cultural environment such as Afghanistan can make a big difference.

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