Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Every Day Hero:Captain Lisa Irwin

My weekly series Every Day Hero showcases just one hero. Fact is, every single day I find stories of our men and women serving the countries they call home, and I could make their stories daily events. Today, Captain Lisa Irwin:

TA nurse engages with Afghan women

A Military Operations news article

8 Mar 11

A mother who usually works as a paediatric nurse at Tayside Children's Hospital in Dundee is spending six months working on the front line in Afghanistan's Helmand province.

Captain Lisa Irwin with Afghan family

Captain Lisa Irwin at work meeting an Afghan family
[Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2010]

Territorial Army (TA) soldier, Captain Lisa Irwin, aged 42, has deployed with 16 Air Assault Brigade as a Female Engagement Team commander.

Her task is to engage with Afghan women in order to gain their trust and help them, and so that they may in turn influence their male relatives. Cultural norms in Afghanistan mean that male soldiers are unable to engage with Afghan women, so Captain Irwin plays a crucial role.

As a Female Engagement Team commander, she sometimes works as an individual and sometimes enlists the help of other female soldiers deployed in Helmand to assist with her work. Captain Irwin said:

"In the past, British forces have not been able to engage with Afghan women, which has meant that we have not been communicating with 50 per cent of the population. My role enables us to engage with women, help them, and directly advise and influence them.

"My civilian qualifications and experience enable me to bring lots of different strands to the role and the job is constantly varied and interesting. I am able to get out on the ground, meet the people of Helmand province and, hopefully, ultimately make a difference."

Recently, Captain Irwin participated in a three-day operation which involved her and other troops being inserted into an area by helicopter under cover of darkness, searching compounds and patrolling the area. She explained:...

Much more here.

Thank you for your service, Captain!

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