Leuchars medics to go to Helamand
Medics from RAF Leuchars will be amoung the next British troops to be sent to Afganistan. Defence secretary Bob Ainsworth outlined the UK's latest deployment in the House of Commons yesterday.
It includes over 1000 troops from the army and RAF in Scotland and 600 reservists from around the UK.
Medical reservists of 612 Squadron, the surgical unit based at Leuchars, have already begun preparing for the posting to Camp Bastion.
Other Scotland reservists heading for the war zone are the infantry soldiers from 52nd Lowland, 6th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (6 SCOTS).
Regular units from Scotland forming part of the deployment are the Scots Guards, 14 Squadron (Tornados) from RAF Lossiemouth, the Royal Scots Borders, 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (1 SCOTS) and 51 Squadron RAF Regiment, also from Lossiemouth, who are charged with the security of Kandahar air base.
Most of the forces will deploy in April, with some going in the summer.
In addition, 50 medical reservists from 205 Field Hospital Glasgow are travelling this week to Afganistan to run the state-of-the-art hospital in Camp Bastion.
The majority of the 9500 UK forces will be spread around Helmand, commanded by 4th Mechanised Brigade, which takes over from 11 (Light) Brigade in April.
Air Officer Scotland Air Comodore Harry Atkinson, who is also station commander of RAF Leuchars, said, "RAF units in Scotland are ready to make their vital contribution to NATO operatioons in Afganistan this year. They are busy training to ensure they are able to face the challenges ahead.
"Air power brings a real military advantage over the insurgents, providing rapid mobility, resupply, intelligence and, when needed, close air support for troops on the ground - including the courageous infantrymen from Scotland. Our people receive excellent support from their families and communities throughout Scotland, for which I am most grateful.
"That encouragement boosts morale and gives our men and women great strength when they are far from home."
North East Fife MP Sir Menzies Campbell, a member of the foreign affairs select committee, said the whole community would wish the troops "Godspeed and a safe return."
He added, "This announcement underlines the extent to which reserve forces are contributing to the effort in Afganistan and also points up the folly of the previous proposal from the government to cut the training hours of the Territorial Army.
The public will want to be assured that both regulars and reservists alike are fully trained and properly equipped."
Leuchars-based No. 612 (County of Aberdeen) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force, provides medical and surgical support in field hospitals.
source: The Courier, Friday, January 22, 2010.