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Award for Officer who closed Afghan bases

26 February 2015

An Army officer who delivered base closures while maintaining their operational capability in Afghanistan is to be awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service (QCVS) in the latest operational honours and awards list.

Major Gary Tait MBE of The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (2 SCOTS), was the Manoeuvre Battlegroup Logistics Officer and Quartermaster during his eight-month tour. He oversaw the closure of two complex bases in Gereshk and Lashkar Gah Durai. Both were home to more than 500 soldiers and contractors.

Scrupulous effort

Task Force Helmand (TFH) required the bases to remain operational until their closure, whilst reducing in size to an aggressive time frame to meet the recovery deadlines for equipment. This balance between capability and recovery was difficult to manage and a constant struggle for Gary, who was scrupulous in tracking and checking progress.

He was first to use a pioneering United States unmanned helicopter to extract equipment, saving road miles and thus protecting the force. The result: more than 700 shipping containers of equipment recovered or sold and two bases closed on time.

Gary was instrumental in providing logistical support to the new Manoeuvre Battlegroup, formed as Task Force Helmand transitioned to Regional Command (South West). Throughout the tour, the battlegroup continued to change and while planning the complex recovery of the forward bases, Gary designed and implemented a new support structure to sustain the battlegroup is it moved to RC (SW).

His citation states: “During a period of unprecedented change in Task Force Helmand, Tait guaranteed the Manoeuvre Battlegroup's logistic success. He was instrumental in delivering base closures while maintaining their operational capability to the end – the right conclusion to the seminal activity of Op HERRICK 19. His performance has been outstanding and for this he deserves national recognition.”

Meritorious service

The Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service recognises meritorious service during, or in support of, operations.

The announcement was made today with the release of the latest operational honours and awards list which includes 139 personnel. The awards are principally for actions on Op HERRICK during the period of October 2013 to June 2014.

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