Service in Afghanistan
Armed Forces Support
Several military personnel from East Chinnock served in Afghanistan and during this time the above charities were actively supported in the village
27th - 30th July 2009
The “Help for Heroes” fundraiser at East Chinnock P.O. with the draw for Hero the Bear by Mr David Laws M.P., seen below with Rodney Lee
More Information about H4H on their website: http://www.helpforheroes.org.uk
Letters From Military Personnel
Support Our Soldiers
C/o Marian Marchant
Somerset RN SK4 Det CO
03 April 2011
Dear Marian and the villagers of East Chinnock,
Please forgive me for taking so long to write to you, but we have been particularly busy of late. I thought it prudent to write to you personally to thank you on behalf of the Royal Navy Junglie Sea King detachment out here in Afghanistan, for the generosity and effort demonstrated by you and the village members of East Chinnock. We were all pleasantly surprised at receiving mail from yourselves and it was an excellent morale boost, for which we are very grateful.
Your efforts and those of your village have a profound effect on all the men and women working out here in Afghanistan. Receiving gifts makes life that little bit easier, and gives the inevitable routine of day to day life here a little more flavour. Perhaps more importantly, these packages confirm that we are in the thoughts of people back home, and that support should never be underestimated in its ability to heighten moral.
You might be aware that the RN Commando Helicopter Force has been at the forefront of military operations for many years. Its Squadrons and Support Elements have served with distinction in many challenging and hostile Theatres from Northern Ireland, the Former Republic of Yugoslavia, Sierra-Leone, Beirut, Iraq in Gulf War 11990- 1991 and the initial invasion of Iraq on Operation TELIC 1 in 2003 through to its enduring deployment to Iraq from 2004 to 2008.
In November 2007, the first Sea King detachment from CHF was deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation HERRICK. In addition to the constant threat from insurgents, the operating conditions are tremendously challenging, due in part to the extremely hot and dusty conditions with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees C in the summer months to —15 degrees C during the winter.
The Sea Kings have seen frequent action at close quarters with the enemy throughout Helmand Province and in the harsh mountainous areas surrounding Kandahar. CHF aircraft are based mainly at Camp Bastion, with elements also based at Kandahar Airfield; the majority of missions are over the volatile Helmand region, 80 miles to the West of Kandahar, which is bordered to the South and West by the vast expanse of the Red Desert and to the North by the rising foothills of the Hindu Kush. This benign starting point belies the daily danger faced by crews when they ‘cross the wire’ to conduct tasking in the infamous Green Zone.
847 Naval Air Squadron returned to Afghanistan in January 2011 and will remain in Theatre for 4 months. They will be supporting British forces in Helmand Province; as well as Coalition and Afghan allies. The squadron previously deployed to Helmand Province, Southern Afghanistan, for seven months in September 2008. At that time the squadron successfully operated the Mark 7 variant of the Lynx Battlefield Helicopter.
Whilst you can see from above that we are an extremely busy Force we find it all worthwhile when we have such terrific support from citizens like yourself, so thank you once again.
Lieutenant Commander Royal Navy
Report from a Soldier from East Chinnock
Recently Returned From Service in Afghanistan
I was posted to Afghanistan with the 4th battalion `The Rifles' Infantry Regiment. I was part of a twenty man team positioned at a crossroad in a small patrol base. We were located in a large farming community in Helmand Provence, where our brief was to control a small town to the south by carrying out regular patrols. I was my sections designated Gunner, so I was carrying a general purpose machine gun at all times. Any attempt to head even a few metres north of our base, we would expect to be fired upon. The road to our north was littered with incendiary devices detectable only by using thermal vision and then marked with hay laid across the road as a sign to us and as a warning to stop locals from blowing themselves up.
The climate was extremely hot and the environment around the patrol base was turbulent and dangerous; potentially very dangerous. It was difficult to be sure of the local people's allegiances including the Afghan National Police (ANP) The ANP and anyone who supports Afghanistan having a democratic elected government have a tough time from the Taliban who do not hesitate to kill anyone in the way of their quest for ultimate power. There are also huge issues concerning the vested interests of opium crop farmers, including the effect of taking the opium has on local peoples behaviour. We experienced our share of fierce gun battles, fortunately no soldiers in my company were badly injured by the enemy. Other groups posted nearby were not so fortunate.
Back at Camp Bastion we could buy chocolate from the NAAFI but by the time one left the shop it would be melting. Our team had a constant supply of bottled water, most soldiers only had two bottles a day and the only other source of water was from the well ...not good. Packages from home were received monthly due to a small amount of space left in the vehicles. Everyone got excited when news got around that parcels were expected and the goodies were usually shared with our mates. Thanks for all the great gifts I received from the village, it made East Chinnock seem not so far away.