Dispose the Day
'Black Panthers' prepare to take out Taleban in Afghanistan - Times Online
In the biting cold and snowy landscape of Salisbury Plain, soldiers of the Black Panthers, nickname of 19 Light Brigade, were doing their best to imagine what life would be like for them in Afghanistan when they begin their first tour there next month.
Teenage soldiers frozen to the core during training at Westdown Camp yesterday will be thrust into their first operational environment in temperatures that will reach 50C (122F) before their six-month tour is over.
Facing his first venture to Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, 19-year-old Rifleman Aaron Fell, of 2 Rifles, who joined the Army 18 months ago, is fully aware that as a member of a recce platoon he will be involved in seeking out the Taleban. His cheeks bright red from the cold, he repeated what his training instructor must have told him: “The Taleban are adapting to us but we're adapting to them.”
“I'm anxious about it obviously but I'm not really worried, although my mum will be,” he said.
“But I've been well trained. If I worked for McDonald's I'd be cooking burgers, but I'm a soldier, so this is the job I do,” he added.
I live a few miles from the Plain and the last two weeks there has been a constant sound of artillery and machine guns in the background as they train. Last night as I snuggled under the eiderdown, the electric blanket on toast setting, two jets were screaming through the falling snow of a freezing night as part of some night exercise.
As a gentleman in England a-bed my thoughts and thanks went to that band of brothers out there, and wished them well.