Boasting a proud recent history as a distinguished reconnaissance regiment, the Light Dragoons have trained diligently for another tour on the outer extremes of Helmand province.
While working remotely has become a reality for elements of the Norfolk-based unit on Op HERRICK 16, others have seen their job description change significantly after less than two months in theatre.
Having deployed to southern Afghanistan in a formation reconnaissance role, some personnel from A Squadron are now playing their part in the continuing transition effort after accepting a new tasking within the Police Mentoring and Advisory Group.
Speaking about the move and how they are preparing for the challenge that lies ahead, on the eve of their training in Camp Bastion Lieutenant Jamie Harle said: "It was very much last minute but we are eager for it. I deployed on my last HERRICK in 2006 and that was all kinetic, but anyone thinking this tour would be the same is misguided. This is all about transition.
"The Afghans we have spoken to are really proud of what they are doing; they want to return security to their family and friends.
"We were undertaking screening tasks in the desert, identifying areas of population and routes, while providing a visible deterrent. It was very successful but the main effort has switched for us.
"We are now focusing on expanding the mentoring side so the locals can look after these routes and population centres themselves."
Other members of A squadron are continuing with their formation reconnaissance day job. Their brief has seen them providing overwatch for ground forces, pushing forward on scouting missions and playing a key role in identifying enemy positions.
Soldiers of 3rd Troop at Forward Operating Base Ouellette have discovered that life on the ground is very different to previous tours:
"I was here on Op HERRICK 10 and it was kinetic every day, but now it is quieter and the enemy are on the back foot," explained Trooper Neil Nutton, who has a brother serving with B Squadron of the Light Dragoons as part of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force.
"Babaji was a Taliban stronghold; we took that and I think it has broken them. We are getting tighter and tighter on them and all they can do is 'shoot and scoot',” he added.
As well as taking the fight to the enemy, the tour has reaffirmed the positive role being played by the Army within Afghan communities.
Attached medic Lance Corporal Lee Robson, Royal Army Medical Corps, was delighted to report that he has seen a distinct lack of British casualties in the area thus far, meaning his attention has been focused elsewhere.
He said: "I have been hands-on with the locals, treating children and adults for minor ailments through to serious injuries such as broken ankles. As a medic it is always nice to offer help to anyone, especially if they have no healthcare system of their own.
"It all goes back to the hearts and minds mantra. We are showing them that we are not a force to be frightened of - we are here to help."
This article is taken from the July 2012 edition of Soldier - magazine of the British Army. To read more follow the link on the right.