Army Engineers receive UN medals

One hundred Scottish-based soldiers from 39 Engineer Regiment received campaign medals to mark their successful contribution to the United Nations’ peacekeeping effort in South Sudan at the at Kinloss Barracks.

Soldiers from the Regiment’s 34 Field Squadron built the groundworks for a new field hospital in Bentiu, also providing it with power, fresh and waste water pipes, with drainage installed to mitigate against flooding.

The temporary hospital supports 1,800 UN peacekeepers and staff, enabling them to continue working to improve conditions in South Sudan. It is run by medical staff, including specialists in fields such as infectious diseases, intensive care and surgery.

The Squadron worked long hours throughout the deployment Major Wayne Meek

The engineers also reinforced the security infrastructure for a UN camp, enabling aid agencies to work with local people as part of the UK contribution to the UN Mission to the Republic of South Sudan, designed to protect civilians, monitor human rights and support the implementation of cessation of hostilities agreement under the terms of UN resolution 2155 (2014).

Major Wayne Meek, the Officer in Command of the team during their time in South Sudan said: “The work of the soldiers of 34 Field Squadron in South Sudan has benefitted extremely vulnerable civilians by enabling aid agencies to deliver aid.

“Our troops overcame tough conditions with extreme weather conditions, a sensitive security situation and the prevalence of diseases not seen in the UK. The Squadron worked long hours throughout the deployment but it was important to us to achieve as much as we could possibly could during our time there.

“Today’s medal presentation is recognition of the UK armed forces’ global role but it also says thank you to the soldiers and their families for their service too.”

Lieutenant Colonel Jim Webster, Commanding Officer of 39 Engineer Regiment echoed Major Meek’s sentiments, saying: “It's been a huge privilege to contribute to an essential UN mission and I'm very pleased that these efforts are being recognised in the September parade back here in Moray, the home of 39 Engineer Regiment.”

The medals were presented by the Lord Lieutenant of Moray, Grenville Johnston, Commanding Officer (Lt Col Jim Webster) and Major Wayne Meek.

The British military contingent in South Sudan also provides engineering support to the UN mission in both Bentiu and Malakal, including projects like the construction of a jetty on the River Nile, helicopter landing sites, and other infrastructure improvements.

39 Engineer Regiment provides Force Support engineering and construction to both the Royal Air Force (RAF) and to the Army; as such it is the only regular Army regiment focused on providing force support to the Air component. Its specialist Air Support Engineering, Combat Engineering and Artisan trade skills mean that it is called upon regularly to support UK operational commitments.