The Devon-based Commando Logistics Regiment are coming towards the end of their time in Afghanistan and will arrive home after a six-month tour of duty in the next six to eight weeks.
The first elements of the regiment have arrived at their base in Chivenor, North Devon from Camp Bastion in Helmand Province. The logistic support squadron has been keeping the Royal Marines, sailors, soldiers and air crew supplied with all they need to engage the Taliban.
The squadron has been leaving the security of the base daily to re-supply the out-stations, patrol bases and check points, with basic water and food rations, ammunition, fuel and other combat supplies.
The average re-supply patrol consists of about 30 to 40 armoured vehicles and trucks and has been called upon to deliver the supplies to day and night using roads which are little more than dirt tracks.
Marine Toby Robinson said: “At the end of a long patrol it can be hard. The roads are very uneven, and even when we are on the main roads, they are full of potholes. Driving through towns like Lashkar Gar and Geresk it can be a nightmare to negotiate all the traffic.”
Short patrols are rare and more often that not the Marines have spent days away from Camp Bastion.
Marine Steven Snape said: “We have to be on constant look-out for the signs that tell us if an improvised explosive device has been laid, especially on the dirt and gravel roads. Our vehicles are blast-proof which is incredible, but a blast is still enough to flip a vehicle over. It makes the jobs of the top gunner very important – not only are they our protection from the guns of the Taliban fighters, but they keep a really good look-out ahead of the convoy too for anything out of the ordinary.”
Reverend Springett, chaplain for the regiment, has been available to provide the Marines with support during this daily dangerous activity. He said: “I try and go out with them as often as possible. I can only support them in their troubles if I have a true appreciation of what they do. If I can’t go with them I always wave them off and say a little prayer for their safe return.”
On their return to the UK the Royal Marines will be given a well-earned period of post-operational leave.