Homecoming Parade for 42 Commando Royal Marines11 May 09
To mark the end of a seven-month tour in southern Afghanistan, 600 Royal Marines from 42 Commando marched through Plymouth city centre on Thursday 7 May 2009 in front of an audience of hundreds and the city's mayor.
Since September 2008 42 Commando, employed as the Regional Battle Group (South), has deployed to every corner of the desert and green zones of Kandahar, Oruzgan and Helmand provinces, taking the fight to the Taliban, primarily using Chinook helicopters to drop directly into the heart of the insurgency.
It has planned for and conducted no less than 19 full Commando Group (550 men) helicopter assault operations, and a number of smaller Company Group (about 150 men) deployments.
These operations were all aimed at disrupting the enemy's will and physical capacity to fight, degrading his stocks of weapons and equipment, and engaging with the local civilian population in areas not previously visited by ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) forces to establish their needs and improve regional security.
Fundamental to this was a hitherto unseen level of domestic support for the unit's Royal Marines from all corners of the UK, but none more so than the South West, which many of the unit have made their home.
The assembled unit marched with their colours unfurled with a guard of Royal Marines with bayonets fixed, as is the unit's privilege, through the centre of what it regards as its hometown.
Commanding Officer of 42 Commando, Lt Colonel Charlie Stickland, said:
"Our efforts have been supported in a truly exemplary fashion by both the rear party team back in Bickleigh and the local Plymouth community, and it has been humbling to know we enjoy such attention
"The group of families and friends, who I know have been tracking us with care and some trepidation, have been receiving regular updates separately, although one can never be in touch too much.
"We recover secure in the knowledge that we have applied ourselves fully to the rigours of the tour, embraced the challenge and could have done little more during our tenure as the Regional Battle Group (South). A period of post-operational tour leave beckons after a short period of decompression."
Since returning home to the UK two weeks ago, the unit has been on leave but reformed for the march to express its immense gratitude to the area's communities for such outstanding support during their tour of southern Afghanistan.[source - go look at the pictures]
Thank you all, and WELCOME HOME!!!