Friday, August 14, 2009


A "three-fer"! (Just so I can get them all in this week!!!) My favourite B*N*S*N stories.:)

Royal Welsh soldiers return home from Afghanistan

A Military Operations news article

13 Aug 09

Soldiers from 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh returned home from a six-month deployment to Afghanistan this week to be met by hundreds of family and friends.

C Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh, on parade

C Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh, on parade
[Picture: Cpl Ian Forsyth RLC, Crown Copyright/MOD 2009]

130 soldiers from the battalion's C Company marched behind a Warrior and then onto the parade ground at Lucknow Barracks, Tidworth, Wiltshire, on Tuesday 11 August 2009, to be greeted by hundreds of family and friends, many of whom had travelled from Wales to welcome the soldiers back.

Some wore personalised t-shirts, others carried banners with special messages and others held heart-shaped balloons.

C Company have been operating in Helmand province for the last six months and helped secure territory from the Taliban in Operation PANTHER'S CLAW, ahead of Afghan elections later this month.

Friends and family members look on as the troops march onto the parade ground

Friends and family members look on as the troops march onto the parade ground
[Picture: Cpl Ian Forsyth RLC, Crown Copyright/MOD 2009]

Major Nigel Crewe-Read, Officer Commanding C Company, said:

"I think the overriding feeling we've had is success and not without sacrifices and Lance Corporal Chris Harkett and his family are at the forefront of our minds.

"We've defeated the Taliban whenever we've come across them...

Reflecting on returning home this week, Major Crewe-Read added:

"It was rewarding and joyful seeing the families as we rounded the bend onto the parade ground. We've had a challenging tour and it's exactly the same for the families who have unbelievable resilience and to come home on a beautiful summer's evening to Tidworth is fantastic."... Read more here.

And then there is this:

Merlins arrive home from Iraq to be prepared for Afghanistan

A Military Operations news article

12 Aug 09

The homecoming of two Merlin helicopters to RAF Benson yesterday marked the end of an era for the Royal Air Force as now all of the Service's aircraft have left Iraq.

Group Captain Jon Burr greets the returning helicopter crews

Group Captain Jon Burr greets the crews from the returning Merlin and Puma aircraft on the pan at RAF Benson
[Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2009]

And having just returned from a six-year deployment to Iraq, the helicopters will undergo a series of modifications to ensure they are prepared for their next operation in Afghanistan by the end of this year.

The last two Merlins flew back to RAF Benson in Oxfordshire yesterday, Tuesday 11 August 2009, to be met at the station by Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth, alongside friends and families in a homecoming ceremony.

Merlin and Puma Force Commander and RAF Benson Station Commander Group Captain Jon Burr said:

"The Pumas have played an active role in Iraq since 2003, to be joined by the Merlins two years later. The Merlin made its name in casualty evacuation, carrying out daring rescues in a hostile environment to rescue British and coalition lives. It's been a big commitment for the personnel of RAF Benson. Some staff have been deployed in Iraq several times over, which combined has added up to almost two years of their lives spent in Iraq....(more here)

And last, but definitely not least:

Guard troops touch down in Texas

By Chief Master Sgt. Gonda Moncada
Texas National Guard

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Soldiers from the 56th Brigade Combat Team of the Texas Army National Guard wait in line for a medic to read their temperature after returning from Iraq Aug, 8 2009. (Photo by Chief Master Sgt. Gonda Moncada, Texas National Guard)

EL PASO, Texas (8/8/09) - Bone-tired, bleary-eyed, but jubilant to be one step closer to home, Texas Army National Guard Soldiers deplaned here today after a year-long deployment in Iraq.

More than 100 of the 56th Brigade Combat Team Soldiers finally arrived here at Biggs Army Air Field after their flight had been delayed three times. And while some would have preferred to go straight to bed, every Soldier knows that inprocessing is a tedious but necessary process and none of them complained when they were asked to divide into several lines....

...before the Soldiers went through the inprocessing lines, Maj. Gen. Eddy Spurgin, commander of the 36th Infantry Division, and the 145th Army Band of the Oklahoma Army National Guard were there at the bottom of the aircraft stairs, to give Henry and his troops a resounding welcome.

The band leader said they are performing their annual training in Texas to accommodate the multiple inbound flights, because the 36th Infantry Division Band was deployed.

“We have 44 total band members, 36 are here today,” said Chief Warrant Officer Scott Sanders, the 145th’s band leader. “We will cover another incoming flight on Wednesday and plan to have a Dixieland band when the troops arrive.”

Once inside the terminal, Sgt. Toni Deasen, Spc. Lekita Hurd, and Sgt. Ashlee Michalke sat together and waited for the general to speak.

Deason, who is from Ohio, volunteered to deploy with the Texas National Guard for the second time, “because they are really good guys, and I don’t hold it against them that they are Texans much.”

Spurgin welcomed the troops home saying, “I have been waiting for you guys for the past two days, which evoked a ripple of laughter through the ranks. I can’t tell you how much it means to me to see you here. I want you to know from the bottom of my heart how proud I am of you. I thought about you everyday. I know you are tired, so I’ll make it brief. God bless each and everyone of you and God bless your families.”

A ceremony is planned for the Soldiers and their families, once all 3,500 Soldiers have returned home. (read the rest of this great story here)

Thank you ALL, and WELCOME HOME!!!

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