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XXVI EDITION 5
This edition of the Scarab Telegraph was written shortly before the tragic death on the 10th of August of Lance Corporal Smudge Smith of 6 Troop, 30 Armoured Engineer Squadron. He was killed during the construction of an elevated sangar in a new checkpoint in Nad-e-Ali district. His death has shocked us all, particularly 6 Troop, for whom he was a constant source of morale. I have been truly impressed by the way they, and the remainder of the Regiment, reacted to the event. The Troop got back to work immediately after evacuating him, and finished the task that he had started. The next day they moved on to construct another checkpoint. I am sure that this is what he would have expected. Lance Corporal Smith is genuinely irreplaceable. Our thoughts are with his mother, father, fiancee Laura and their four children. In his own words: Smudge RE-bit of a ledge-done a bit. Rest in Peace.

Commanding Officer

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XXVI EDITION 5 In memory of LCpl Matthew Smudge RE-bit of a ledge-done a bit Smith 30 Armoured Engineer Squadron
(By Padre Neil Allison)

Like Matthews nickname he was larger than life. Even though I did not know him well I have heard a great deal about him. A deeply respected and well liked Sapper, or as a friend of his put it, Once you knew him you would be friends his character was genuinely hard to resist. One thing is for sure, he will be sorely missed as will his wicked sense of humour and his morale lifting talents. He will not be forgotten by his RE family but especially by those who had served with him day to day in FOLAD. I know the service by Padre Nick Todd, the NDA chaplain, has been much appreciated in FOLAD. The vigil service will be an opportunity to say our fare-wells and to consider again this amazing character that many were privileged to serve with. He was proud of being a Sapper and we are proud of him. In army speak, we will seek to give him a good send off and celebrate his life which will remain a source of comfort and continuing thankfulness. Our thoughts ad prayers go to his long term fiancee Laura and his four children; Lainie, Tilli, Ella and Jai at this time of devastating loss. Their loss will be beyond the ability to express in mere words. We can only pray that through the pain of being prematurely bereaved they would never lose the wonder of having loved and been loved by Matthew. Joyce Grenfell wrote a poem some years ago which many have found helpful and I commend it to your thoughts.

If I should die before the rest of you Break not a flower nor inscribe a stone Nor when I am gone speak in a Sunday voice But the usual selves that I have known Parting is heelBut life goes on

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XXVI
Inside this issue:

EDITION 5

Commanding Officers Foreword


COs welcome 1

(Lt Col Ridge)


I took the opportunity last week to travel round the area of operations to see how the Regiment is faring. I visited bases at Clifton, Rahim, Oulette, Price, Shazad, Qudrat, Pimon, Sparta and ended up in Bastion. Whilst I was not able to meet everyone, I managed to see personnel from all the field squadrons. I also got the chance to visit the Engineer Resources Yard and spend time with the hard working HQ squadron, TALISMAN and LAD. The overall impression was of a phenomenally strong Engineer Group team who, whilst pretty weary after four months of hard toil, were absolutely focussed on what was still left to achieve before we leave. I was incredibly impressed with everything I saw. Living conditions in some of the smaller bases are basic, to say the least, but everyone was well turned out and (crucially) wearing their protective equipment. We know that this has saved lives and limbs, and it was heartening to see that section commanders have continued to enforce our exacting standards of battlefield discipline. Whilst out and about, I also took the chance to speak to the Commanding Officers of the units we have been supporting since the start of the tour. They were unanimous in their praise of what the sappers have achieved. CO Burma was incredibly grateful to 33 Squadron for the protected accommodation for his soldiers in Oulette, CO Nad-E-Ali praised 30 Squadron for their incredible efforts in dismantling bases, and CO NES (South) could not have been more thankful for the support that 8 Squadron have provided to their efforts to rebalance the Afghan security forces in their area. This praise was entirely unprompted and, as such, even more impressive. Recent operations have also highlighted the vital role of the TALISMAN crews from 25 Squadron. They have been extremely busy proving routes for the battlegroups during deliberate operations, and I can say with certainty that they have saved lives. This is genuinely appreciated throughout Task Force Helmand.

38 Hq & Sp Sqn

8 AES

10

30 AES

14

33 AES

20

25 Fd Sqn ArmyNet)

Beetle Juice

25

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XXVI EDITION 5
As I mentioned, whilst in Bastion I visited the Engineer Resources Yard. What Brian Goodwin and his team have achieved is extraordinary. At the start of the tour, the had nearly 1300 shipping containers of construction materials. Nobody really knew what was where, and how much of what we held was unnecessary. Over the last four months, the team have counted nearly two thirds of the items and reduced our holdings by roughly 700 shipping containers. This is an incredible achievement and will directly contribute to the UKs ability to leave Afghanistan in good order by the end of 2014. During my battlefield circulation, I briefed all ranks on what we have to look forward to when we get back to the UK. Leave is clearly the priority, and we will take two big chunks; one as post operational leave soon after we get back, and the other over Christmas and New Year. That will leave a few weeks to take in the New Year which I hope to be able to use over half-term and Easter. It is vital that everyone has the chance to rest properly after a busy year. The training programme is also beginning to shape up. I am very clear that we should not fill the diary, but at the same time, we need to regain some of the skills we have lost during our Afghan focussed training. There will be exercises in Canada and Kenya, so I am confident that everyone will have something substantial to get their teeth into during 2013. The other area which we have neglected over the last 12 months is sport and adventurous training. To that end, we have sailing, skiing and trekking organised for the time before Easter. I am also very keen to rebuild our boxing, rugby and football teams. We are going to be busy, but it will be valuable and enjoyable training. The trick will be to protect the weekends which I see as vital time for rebuilding families after a long time apart. You can hold me to that, as will my wife...

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XXVI EDITION 5

38 HQ & SP SQN A Word from the OC


(Maj A Pritchard)
The penultimate Scarab Telegraph means a lot ; the R&R plot is nearly complete and planning for our journey home is pretty much done. Its not until you go on R&R that you really see how much families take on when you are away. Its a good reminder, if one was ever needed, that the ripples from tour spread far and wide. Its been a busy time, as always, with the Log Node continuing the mammoth job of working out exactly how much stuff the Engineers have out here. With a tear in their eyes Cpl Tudor and the ABLE crew waved goodbye to the BR90 which has started its journey back to the UK; well beat it back! In the spirit of the Olympics weve added to our weekly PT sessions with a few friendly inter-squadron events. The Volleyball we played collectively wasnt going to be threatening for any medals! The cricket, a mirage in the desert? No, the culmination of LCpl Jacksons hard work. From constructing the pitch and making the trophy, to putting on an excellent eventit will go down as one of the best days on Op HERRICK 16.

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XXVI EDITION 5

A month in the world of Support Troop


(By LCpl Jackson, Sgt Atwell and Troopy Houston)

Well I guess the question is where to start? Support Troop got off to a flying start this month heading straight out the door on the very first day, with a mission for the mighty COs hard TAC, which, as always is eventful. The first task before any move out of camp Bastion is the preparation of all our kit to make sure that it is of the highest standard if not better. As a Force Protection Multiple made up of Royal Engineers we take great pride in the way we look and conduct ourselves on every operation we carry out. There was a significant change to the operation as command of the multiple was handed to Cpl Taff Davies as our normal commander WO2 Nick Richards was enjoying the luxurious part of an operational tour (R and R). So after a through check of the kit and vehicles we were good to go and headed out. We escorted the CO to various locations around the forward areas where the Engineer Troops are operating in. The main aim of the move was to enable the Commanding Officer to see how the troops were getting on and how morale was holding up. The good news is the Regiment has made some impressive progress in upgrading and transitioning various PBs, CPs and FOBs across the AOs and spirits are generally up among the forward Troops. We were out on this Op for roughly 4 days, a longish one for our Force Protection Multiple, as normally the jobs we get are one or maybe two days long. However as we say in Support Troop we enjoy getting out the gate and doing what we came out here to do. Normally once we return from a job we have a good week or so to sort out our vehicles and kit before the next tasking, but not this time. We had about a two and a half day turn around before heading out on another job. We were tasked with escorting a select few of our Regimental LAD (REME) around the AO, in order to allow them to help the various Squadron REME attachments carry out some essential maintenance on the kit in the forward locations. This essential Op would enable the troops forward to have fully fit vehicles and equipment to see them through the final few months of the tour. This was another four day Op, which was good for us because as they say time flies when you are having fun. We rocked on from location to location, making sure that the REME were able to get there safely and complete the tasks they had well within the time they had been given. I guess you can say they SMASHED IT!!!

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Well as you can imagine we have seen a lot of places and people in Helmand Province over the last four and a half months but every time we go out there is always something new to see. We have a great multiple of guys who can make the most challenging to the most trivial Op go smoothly. As you can see we always look professional and ready to go. Again we found ourselves in the position of getting back into camp thinking we had some time to crack on with the day to day Troop tasks, when we were told we had to do a quick run to MOB PRICE to collect some essential surveying equipment. As I said we always like rolling out the gate on any sort of job!! Our final task for this busy month was to escort the CO for what might be his last trip out to see the troops forward before we start preparing to come home. This was a busy five day Op for the Force Protection Multiple and saw the return of Lt Troopy Houston and WO2 Nick Richards to the team. With our last minute addition of some REME support to escort forward, a frozen goat and some much needed morale mail we were ready to go. This trip provided the CO with the ideal opportunity to promote the lucky members of the Regiment who had been selected for Cpl in person as well as see the tremendous work that has been done over the past few months. Our very own LCpl Mark Guest was promoted to Cpl while out on this Op. With our rounds complete there was just enough time to squeeze in the dream team photo before heading back to camp for a well earned rest. With nothing on the horizon for a few days, we now have a much needed chance to recover and start getting all the vehicles prepared for our next task, whatever that may be. As you can see we are always busy whether it be out protecting the CO, escorting REME or anyone else who needs our superb service. But we have a few fun things to look forward to in the coming weeks. The first and hopefully not the last 38 HQ & Sp Sqn fast 5 cricket competition and BBQ. Its like the old saying goes we work hard and play hard and are looking forward to a chance to enjoy some well-deserved fun and games and reflect on what we have achieved so far on the Tour. So I leave you with this from everyone in 38 Support Troop. We all miss our family and friends and we will see you all soon, and dont forget we are always ready to hit the ground.

EDITION 5

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XXVI EDITION 5

My Tour So Far
(By Spr Cottam)

Hello UK, Im Spr Cottam and this is the story of my tour so far on Op HERRICK 16. I joined 26 Engineer Regiment in April 2011 as a Class 2 Design Draughtsman in the Construction Supervision Cell (CSC), and was warned off straight away to deploy to Afghanistan. This is my first tour but I had been well briefed about what to expect. On 10 Mar 12 we set off to Brize Norton for the long flight to Afghanistan via Dubai. We finally arrived on the night of 12 Mar 12, after 2 days of delays, and were quickly into our RSOI package which lasted a week. Once completed, we took over the office and immediately started changing it (the first of many changes) to make it our own. Almost straight away we were inundated with SORs, which is a request for work to be done. They included everything including gate designs, Non Equipment Bridges (NEB), sangars and stairs (amongst other things). In the first 8 weeks of being here we had managed to complete no fewer than 26 separate SORs. As you can imagine, we were quite busy and couple of late nights were needed by the team to get them out of the door. In between, the CSC has also produced a standard design booklet, which once completed, was sent out to all Field Squadrons. It contained all the designs which were needed to maintain and upgrade the bases out here. Whilst working through the SORs, Ive also been improving my own Autocad skills by teaching myself 3D Autocad. After a few weeks I became quite confident with the program and was able to produce detailed 3D representations of the standard 2D drawings we had already done. This turned out to be a mistake as it made much more work for me. These were then used to produce a publication specifically designed to help the Afghan Engineers construct our designs from the IKEA style drawings. They were broke down into step by step 3D instructions along with a finished product drawing so they knew what the structures would look like once construction was completed. We are waiting to hear some feedback on the 3D drawing package but so far the comments have been all good. This package is also to aid them in sustaining themselves once we have left Afghanistan. Before joining the Army in 2009, I worked as joiner for 8 years, so was quite pleased when I was tasked with designing and building an outside sheltered area for the CSC. I did my design and was quite pleased with it, until I tried to resource the materials needed. The normal way in building is to design, resource and then construct. This is what I intended to do but in Afghanistan its not as easy as nipping to your nearest building yard. The design went out the window and I scrounged together whatever spare timber was available to create an area for us to relax. With the help of the other CSC members the task was completed and it was officially declared open by the OC, Maj Pritchard.
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XXVI EDITION 5
Being deployed for 6 months is a good opportunity to get really fit and a lot of the squadron are taking part in OP MASSIVE, which basically is to get as big as you can as quick as you can. I took a different approach and I am concentrating on the CV side. Ive been running most days and have seen a big improvement up to now, but with R + R still to come Im going to have to try my best to keep it up over the two week break. I think I deserve a couple of days off though. We have also had Squadron PT every Saturday, and more recently on Wednesday mornings as well. For a few of these sessions Ive helped the PTIs with the lessons and taken warm ups, cool downs and been the guy who walks around telling people they are doing it wrong (a plastic PTI). This was to help my confidence in standing up and talking in front of people. Since being here, Ive only managed to get out a couple of times. Once was to help the surveyor, LCpl Loveridge survey a site plan of PB Clifton. He showed me how to use the GPS survey equipment, so I had a go. I found it funny how he only wanted me to survey the tight gaps between two tents where you had to climb over other stuff to get to the point needed. We flew out of Camp Bastion and within 5 minutes we were back in Bastion, due to a fault with the Merlin. The second helicopter, thankfully, was in full working order. We arrived at PB Clifton expecting to leave the day after once the work was completed. Four days later, after lots of trips to the Ops room annoying people for flight details, we got back to Bastion. Ive also been to Lashkar Gah to view completed work. This was the complete opposite and we were in and out within 6 hours on an Osprey (An American helicopter/plane). Thats how it should be done Since being out here we have found ways to keep ourselves entertained, from playing volleyball, quiz nights at the EFI or just chilling out in the welfare area and watching TV. Lucky for us Euro 2012 started on our tour so we had something to watch. No surprises with our Home Nation. The Squadron have also put on a couple of BBQ nights, for which I helped out by cooking the food. As if its not hot enough over here, I volunteered to stand next to a fire for two hours. Well, in 12 days (hopefully 10) Im due to fly back for a much needed R + R. I would like to thank my family for their support, especially my wife, Sally. I miss and love you lots.

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XXVI EDITION 5

Special Spanner ForceLAD


This month a crack team of four REME soldiers deployed out and about in Helmand to help keep the Task Force Helmand Engineer Group vehicles task worthy. Accompanied by the Engineer Groups Force protection Multiple the Special Spanner Force as they were nicknamed visited a total of six locations and managed to fix and inspect a total of twenty one vehicles. The REME soldiers ranging from Craftsmen to Corporal spent four days working around Patrol Bases making sure that the Engineer vehicles such as Skidsteers and Protected Plant were in good condition. The journey also provided an excellent opportunity to deliver vehicle spares to the Engineer group vehicle mechanics already deployed in the forward locations. The high volume of Engineer tasks has meant that while the vehicles were still working, the time to bring them back to Bastion for full inspections was not available. So in true REME tradition of Repairing Forward the vehicle mechanics went to the vehicles. Cfn Cline, who deployed on the operation, explained what it was like. This was my first time deploying on this type of task it has been brilliant and I have enjoyed every minute. This is why I joined the REME While out on the ground the vehicle mechanics came upon a number of problems when faced with the lack of a comprehensive workshop. One incident of particular note was the need to change a tyre on a medium wheel tractor, one of the Engineer Groups most highly utilised vehicles. Due to the lack of purchase on the ground the task took a skidsteer and five vehicle mechanics to complete and is now the subject of a number of jokes. Cpl Davies, who was in charge of the REME taskforce explains how the conditions are different outside of Camp Bastion, On this particular type of task, what you quickly appreciate is the lack of facilities compared with those in Camp Bastion. You have to be mentally and physically prepared to adapt and overcome. It is what we have trained to do and it has been a real challenge. I think it is fair to say all involved have gained an awful lot of experience and enjoyed the task immensely The Task Force Helmand Engineer Group has a vehicle mechanic located with each of the field troops who is able to conduct running repairs on the vehicles as well as often having an Engineer fitter also in location. While this helps to keep the vehicles running there is only so much one vehicle mechanic can do and help is often sent forwards from Bastion when there is a particularly high workload.

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XXVI EDITION 5
The Engineer Group Light Aid Detachment have to be highly specialised to deal with the standard military vehicles such as Husky as well as the Engineer Equipment such as Protected Plant. This makes the Engineer Group LAD personnel particularly valuable. Capt Jenkins, OC LAD explains Of the many different types of equipment the Engr Gp hold, the most varied of any unit in TFH, the majority are all based forward. The role of the LAD is to keep every piece of Engr equipment fit for role. All my soldiers have trained hard and are now reaping the benefits. The job is a tough one with many challenges along the way. To date, every LAD soldier has delivered at each time of asking and I am very proud of everything they do. They continually surpass my expectations. The Combined Forces are very complimentary of the working being conducted by the TFH Engineer Group around the area of operations. Tasks that are regularly conducted include bridging operations, base handover and closures as well as the upgrades of roads, culverts and Patrol Bases. This high volume of tasks requires regular use of the many and varied vehicles of the Engineer Group. Thanks to the Engineer LAD these are kept task worthy and help the Engineer group wheels keep rolling.

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XXVI EDITION 5

8 Armoured Engineer Squadron A word from the OC


(Maj J Stuart)

It has been an exceptionally busy month for the Squadron both in terms of work, operations and the handover and takeover of equipment and vehicles for the reduction to 2 Field Squadrons. The visit of Officer Commanding of 4 Armoured Engineer Squadron in the middle of July was a welcome diversion and means that we are most definitely in the home straight now. His visit took in both Lashkar Gah and Nad e Ali districts and he got to meet 1 and 3 Troops as they moved him around. He had the opportunity to see some of the excellent work both troops have been undertaking. 1 Troop have been busy installing an ammunition storage point in PB ATTAL and starting a new protected location in PB SPARTA. They have been extremely busy deploying twice in support of Transition Support Unit Lashkar Gah operations. The first deployment into the Yakchal area was the responsibility of 1 Troop (especially LCpl Wigg and his Medium Wheel Tractor), the OC even managed to get his boots dirty. 1 Troop have since deployed again to provide crossings over the Nahr e Saraj canal with a medium girder bridge and an infantry assault bridge. 2 Troop have been equally busy closing down check points in Nahr e Saraj (South), upgrading the main entry point of Patrol Base 2 and providing hard surface pads for the mechanics in the patrol bases to work on the forces protected mobility vehicles. 2 Troop have also had troops deployed on operations this time in the Arghandab River Valley, we even got our American cousins involved, by borrowing their armoured bridge layer for the operation. The Troop was tasked with providing mobility support to the combined force. Not content with all that work they have also constructed a temporary observation post to prevent insurgents moving weapons and materiel into Nahr e Saraj (South) and mount attacks against checkpoints. 3 Troop have continued their nomadic lifestyle; they were initially cut away to help out 30 Armoured Engineer Squadron in Nad e Ali by upgrading one of their Patrol Bases and have now only recently returned from assisting 33 Armoured Engineer Squadron in Nahr e Saraj (North) where they were assisting with the strip out of one Patrol Base and the upgrade of another. 3 Troop have now worked in every AO in the Task Force Helmand area of operations, quite some achievement.
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XXVI EDITION 5

1 Troop Plunge Pool


(By Spr Hamilton)

The week started off well for 1 Troop as a missing bag of screws halted all construction work on the Ammunition Store in PB ATTAL. So a few days were spent making the most of the new Diver Training Facility (plunge pool) that LCpls Wigg and Mattey had the inspired idea of constructing a few weeks back. The fun wasnt to last long though as the Troop took delivery of a bridge mid week, so many a hard hour was spent under the blazing Afghan sun rehearsing how to put the thing together under the experienced eye of Cpl Mackenzie.

To everyones delight Spr Walke returned towards the end of the week with 10 bags of mail (thank you to all you lovely generous people), although his popularity was short lived when he produced the screws that meant working and sweating were to replace sunbathing and swimming. The remainder of the week turned out to be hugely busy and the Troop are expecting no let up until our replacements arrive in September. To cope with the work load, the Troop to split in to two Combat Engineer dream teams. Staff Benns men headed off to pay our neighbours at PB SPARTA a visit and began work on what will be a nice new extension for their Patrol Base and the remainder of the Troop stayed in PB ATTAL to continue work on the Ammunition Store. The Troop also had the pleasure of escorting Officer Commanding 4 Armoured Engineer Squadron around the Area of Operations. His arrival brought a few smiles to our faces as he will be taking over from Maj Jamie Stuart, Officer Commanding 8 AES a definite milestone indicating that we are at the beginning of the end!

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XXVI EDITION 5

CP PARACHUT2 TROOP
(By Cpl Mackenzie)

2 Section, 2 Troop deployed to Check Point PARACHUT under the command of Cpl Mac Mackenzie in a Husky, a Mastiff and a Light Wheeled Tractor. After the initial road move, the Section patrolled by foot with an infantry multiple from CP SOLA to CP PARACHUT. On the 10 Jul 12 at 0530hrs the Section were up early to start the HLS strip out. The strip out was completed quickly and easily utilising both the LWT and the CPs quad bike (operated by LCpl Chris Keogh) to remove all the stores. With the HLS stripped out, the Section and all stores were complete and back in the CP by 1000hrs; a great effort by the Section. The rest of the day was spent helping the infantry multiple strip internal components within the CP. On the 11 Jul 12 another early start; 2 Section removed all the barbed and razor wire from the CP perimeter as well as a wooden sangar. They also started to fill The Hole! Another long day with the closure of CP PARACHUT going well. On the 12 Jul 12 at 0600hrs the hard work was about to begin and the Elevated Sanger (elevated guard post) was to be stripped out. With no vehicle access it would be completely stripped by hand; not a great prospect, but the lads went for it! After some initial problems of access to the top ledgers and the fill being as hard as concrete it was quickly removed and the Hesco disposed off. A challenge was then issued by the Infantry with the incentive being brews made by the multiple if the Sappers could dismantle the cuplok structure within two hours, 2 Section had it down in 1 hour 10 mins! Nice brews 3 YORKS, well appreciated! The last couple of days involved the section filling The Hole within the CP using desert fill and the sandbags dotted around the CP. With all engineer tasks complete the Section assisted the infantry with the loading of the hired civilian trucks to clear the remainder of the CP stores and equipment. Day 5 saw 2 Section patrolling back to PB2, we arrived back safely at PB2 by 1700hrs with another job completed. All those involved put massive amounts of effort in to this arduous task and completed it quickly and professionally, a job well done. Another Check Point strip complete as we strive towards the transition to the Afghan National Security Forces.

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XXVI EDITION 5

OP QALAB3 TROOP
(By Spr Betts)

On Friday 22 June we caught a flight out of JOB Bastion to Forward Operating Base Ouellette to help 33 AES construct a 12 Bay Double Storey Medium Girder Bridge. After the getting stores ready for the bridge at Ouellette, we were informed it had been cancelled and the American Engineers had managed to bridge the gap, which took a lot of work off our backs and moral was high again. The next day we were informed that 33 AES needed 4 people to help on a task in Combined Force (CF) Burma and once again were stood up for the task. We didnt really know what to expect but when we got to the Check Point (CP) we were greeted with bar mines and detonation cord. Our faces soon lit up. We had about an hour to prepare the charges and get our personal kit sorted out before meeting the call sign to patrol us down to the task site. Sgt Hicks (33AES) took no time in briefing us on what the task involved. The task was to take down numerous tree lines so they had better access to the Check Point. We got straight to it and cracked on with our first tree line which consisted of a large amount of explosive, needless to say it ended in a massive bang and no more trees! For the rest of the day we bounced back and forth blowing tree lines and chain sawing where appropriate. We finished late that night and patrolled back to the Check Point and got our heads down for the night. We were up bright and early for our final day of demolitions and tree line clearance. Once the explosive clearance was finished (or so we thought) we sent a chainsaw team to take down a number of remaining trees. The last tree line of the task and this was the most difficult challenge we had encountered. We were up to our knees in stagnant irrigation ditches, we struggled to get the chainsaws through the trees and we were running out of time. We used an alternate method; we had to be careful with the amount of explosives we placed. With all the trees down our job was done. It was then time to pack up our kit, sort the left over stores, empty the ammunition containers and patrol back to the Check Point to get ready for our lift with the Warrior Group. Job done, thanks for the invite to one awesome party 33!!

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XXVI EDITION 5

30 Armoured Engineer Squadron A word from the 2IC


(Capt D Stanley)

With more than half of the Tour complete 30 Armoured Engineer Squadron are now flat out working across Nad-e-Ali building and improving some camps while ripping down others as we make the areas suitable to be controlled by the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). This is to make sure the ANSF can operate well from their locations, with no sites being too large for them to secure, or too small for them to fit everyone in. It is very important work; with people either waiting to move in or out of each location meaning that any delay has a big knock on effect. 6 Troop have been in the lead for the Squadron over the past 6 weeks, as the lead Base Remediation and Closure (BRAC) Troop, deploying to many different locations and preparing sites to hand over to ANSF or removing all trace that the military have ever been there. 6 Troop have been ripping down Patrol Bases (PBs) and Checkpoints (CPs) like men possessed and then moving on to the next location ready to start it all again. They have been amazed however that, no matter how quickly they can strip out HESCO, the locals can take the scrap metal away even quicker like ants on a dropped ice cream! Once the HESCO walls protecting the site are pulled down, all that is left for 6 Troop to do is to pack up all the things taken down and send them back to Camp BASTION, pick up all their equipment and stores and move on to the next site that needs the 6 Troop Treatment. If any one needs help moving house when we have returned, 6 Troop are taking bookings, but cannot guarantee the state of your belongings once they have finished with them! Having moved from their normal home of PB WAHID, 4 Troop are now in the middle of building an extension to another PB to allow those moving out of the locations 6 Troop are tearing down to move in along with their equipment. This means 4 Troop are building against the clock as the other locations cant be closed until there is space for everything to move in to the new one, if there are delays, 4 Troop will have some angry people camping like vagrants next to their construction site, waiting to move into their palatial new home. This is pressure that 4 Troop take in their stride as they work tirelessly to finish everything they do to their usual high standards. This is being done outside of the wire meaning that they also have to contend with insurgent activity, focussing every mind to the job at hand and getting it done right first time, to reduce the need to go out again.
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5 Troop, now under the command of Second Lieutenant Scott Simpson with Sgt Jack Russell stepping up as Troop Staff Sergeant, are now, appropriately, the jack of all trades of the Squadron, having turned their hands to both closures and improvements. They finished the build of a 36m Logistic Support Bridge near PB FOLAD to allow locals to get their crops and produce to the bazaar by the end of June and soon were tasked to improve the PB ready to receive another Company of infantry. Having lived in PB FOLAD for so long gave them a personal interest in this and they dived into the work to improve the living conditions for everyone in the PB. The results have been well received with both the OC and CO of the resident infantry singing the praises of 5 Troop for their excellent and speedy work. Moving on from here, they are now showing their ability by stripping out 2 locations at once no one likes a show off, 5 Troop! The final element of the Squadron, who quietly get on with their essential work back in Camp BASTION, is the Echelon. Responsible for supplying the Troops with everything they need to live and work, without the Echelon nothing would be possible forward with the Troops. They are now juggling this support with having to close down and get ready to pull back to the UK, no mean feat with so much construction still to do which all needs stores. In my role as stand in OC, during his R&R, I am really glad to have the chance to pass on the thanks of all of Dirty Thirty for the outstanding support we receive from you back at home, it really does make a world of difference to morale out here. I hope you enjoy this edition of the Scarab Telegraph and look forward to when the Squadron are home to pass on their thanks in person.

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XXVI EDITION 5

4 TROOP
On the 4 July 2012 4 Troop, 30 Armoured Engineer Squadron, made the hazardous and winding journey down route NEPTUNE, following the Na-e-Bugra Canal, from PB WAHID to PB PIMON in Nad-e-Ali to begin what was about to become one of the most substantial and high profile construction projects of Op HERRICK 16. The aim was simple; to construct an extension to the camp in order to facilitate the emplacement of a PGSS ISTAR balloon. The troop planning cycle for the task had been somewhat condensed after much discussion between the construction supervision cell and the client, the US Navy. The US Navy had some very specific design requirements including a 5.2 metre high wall: This, for those HESCO spotters amongst you, is a mil 7, mil 1, mil 5, mil 5 construction and required the amount of aggregate to fill the HESCO equivalent to half a football pitch 3 metres deep! Not only this, but the infrastructure for the camp, the two elevated sangers, compartmentalising along with drainage and other camp upgrades was all required within just 23 days. The pressure was on! 3 days into the task and the surveying, grading and general area preparation was complete allowing the chunky HESCO filling to commence. Due to the work load we had civilian plant hired in for the majority of the task which helped. Until they got carried away filling the HESCO to quickly which resulted in whole sections having to be stripped and re-made. This was by far the most demanding part of the task, with a tight timeline and limited plant hire it was 0500 hrs until 1900 hrs daily working in full PPE in temperatures at times breaching 50 degrees centigrade. Epic. Due to the insurgent threat in the area the requirement for close protection from A Coy 1 Royal Anglians was essential. We had ground call signs dominating the local area, snipers and sharpshooters on the HESCO and even Apaches overhead in order to mitigate the insurgent threat enabling the remainder of the task to be completed in relative safety. We had some minor issues along the way, as you do with these types of tasks, but in general it was an extremely successful task that was completed with just one day to spare. Needless to say, after the 22 days worth of hard graft, the time remaining was optimised as the troop seriously maxed out catching up on sleep and soaking up some rays (30 minutes maximum, 15 on each side, with a liberal dose of factor 30!).

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XXVI EDITION 5

The story of CP Haqmal Strip Out - 6 TROOP


(By Spr Bird and Spr Lloyd)

Once upon a time in lands far far away, there were a group of men who went by the name of Six Troop. They were a merry bunch of fellas, notorious across the AO for their wit, charm and good looks! They lived in a magical fortress known as PB Shazhad. As the engineers of the realm they took on many tasks, this particular task was to collapse a castle of their allies the knights of Estonia. On the first morning, in the blazing sun, 10 fine warriors of the mighty Six Troop left their magical fortress with ye olde `Cpl Matthew Copping at the helm. On arrival at the castle the 10 eager men were chomping at the bit to commence their task. They began by removing the main defences of the castle, one being a Hesco sanger and the other an elevated sanger stretching from the ground so far to the clouds, that Rapunzels hair would not reach the bottom. The elevated sanger strip was led by LCpl Kev Lumpy Grumpy Engstrom and his merry men, as they battled the elements whilst wearing the blessed breastplates made with the enchanted feathers of the osprey (which is surprisingly heavy). The men realised this task was better suited for the SLDT (Strong Long Destroying Troll). All seemed well to begin with, however halfway into the sanger strip the unforgivable baked solid Hesco struck a crushing blow to the SLDT, something that Spr `Stumpy Sharp could not ride him through . RIP SLDT. (Its only a truck and the good LAD fairies will fix it). With the elevated Sanger 60% complete and the Hesco Sanger complete, Ye Olde Matthew Copping thought best the men retire back to the magical fortress for wine, bread, natural muesli and merriment. With the men fed and rested, dawn broke and they saddled their Wolfhound and Husky and galloped off into the wind with their sharpened swords glistening. Day 2 proved to be a hard-fought battle even with the aid of the mighty Makita Sword but once again the brave handsome men of Six Troop triumphed with only the exterior castle walls standing. They once again returned to the magical fortress for Wine, bread, toasted muesli and merriment. On Day 3 the tired and weary men had to make an unscheduled stop to pick up `the ferocious medium wheeled dragon, which was located in the isolated slums of Wahid. The dragon was guarded by our uneducated, leprosy riddled, Black-Death-carrying allies (4 Troop). With the dragon in tow, the men arrived at the castle for the final day of the strip. The ferocious jaws of the medium wheeled dragon tore through the Hesco guided by our friendly ghost Spr `Casper Funnell. The Local Peasants gathered staring on in shock and awe and saw an opportunity to remove all the scrap metal.However the sheriff of Nad E Ali had other plans for the scrap and threatened the peasants with his long bow. The unarmed peasants fought hard but were forced to retreat with the little treasure they had gathered. With the task complete the handsome battle -hardened men of Six Troop returned to their magical fortress for a feast of wine, bread, fruit muesli and medallions to be led by the mythical creature known within the realm as `Cougs (Spr Kyle Collins). The End.

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XXVI EDITION 5

CP LIMBANG CLOSURE6 TROOP


(By Cpl Taylor)

6 July 2012 After a busy two days of closing down Kamiabi was a quick turnaround to get ready for the next task which was the closure of CP LIMBANG with a couple of cheeky Elevated Sanger strip outs thrown in for good measure. So with an afternoon of prep under our belts, a wee bit of gym work, we were ready for bed and dreams of a week of hard labour. The boys look a bit jaded but its nothing for Cpl '3 tasks' Taylor. 7 July 2012 Its early morning - 0800 (thats early for me). The lads are ready and we are off to Limbang, I dont know about anybody else but Im a little excited! We arrive at Limbang and have a quick chat with the CP Sergeant. He's saying all the right things about helping us and getting the camp ready for our strip out - I should have known then that he was full of gas and air. His idea of helping was doing nothing until Id asked him 3 times and then only doing half a job. After our initial chat it was time for Capt Troopy Kehoe to leave me and my 4 man team to 'do as much as we can do' before she came back. So we began and with the dream team of myself, LCpl Kev 'Engineerstrong', LCpl 'Mac' McCormack, Spr Sam Goodman and in MWT the one and only Spr Paul 'Wrecking Ball' Taylor. Whilst Team Awesome were smashing down an Improvised Hesco sanger, cooking area, shower area, compartmentalization and pretty much cutting around being legends. Team Husky and SLDT were back at Shazhad getting there head down and filling their face with cream cakes! But after living the life back in Shazhad for the whole day they were back at Limbang at 1900 to pick up Team Awesome to go to Daqhiqh and strip out 2 elevated Sangers. Here ends part one of the Limbang saga. 10 July 2012 After a two day break in Daqhiqh - sun, swimming and Sangers - it was back to work at Limbang. Now any normal person would think that after leaving a place to get cleared ready for being stripped out then that place would look a little different.....but the Estonians had a different idea and thought it would be novel to just have two days rest and not clear any of their accommodation. So it was back to asking three times for things to be doneI feel like Im in an Austin Powers movie.
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Today was a little slow as we only managed to strip out 200m of razor wire around the HLS, and a number of small remediation jobs in the local buildings. After the razor wire was gone the planties got to work on the 100m of Hesco wall, pulling it down like it was made of putty. On a high note we had a visit from the OC and SSM, which was very nice especially when Kev and I smashed them at Euca; its always good taking the old boys to school! So with all the work for the day done it was time for bed and some well-earned rest. 11 July 2012 Up early this morning to go strip out some external razor wire and strip out another improvised Hesco Sanger. Like always when we go out and start taking things down there are kids cutting about asking for stuff. I still dont know what a 2 year old needs razor wire for (doesnt seem very child friendly). But there was one special little girl going up to all the guys melting hearts. I was chatting to the compound owner, he was telling me he had 22 children and only had one son. Wow! Anyway as I was talking to him, I felt a tug on my little finger. I looked down and see a tiny little face with big puppy dog eyes, and the little tug turns into a squeeze. You have to have a heart of stone not to be affected by that. Today is the busiest and most exciting day so far of the whole tour, about lunchtime after a busy mornings work the vice-president of the contractors brought us the best treat of all time. It wasnt 0200 in the morning. We werent down town struggling with the effects of gravity, but we were munching down on the nicest kebab this side of Kabul. And to top it off not one of us were cursed with the poops and giggles. With all the fieldies busy stripping out hesco sangers and kitchens and anything we can get our hands on, it was the planties that were really changing the scenery by stripping out all the internal walls and anything else made of Hesco. Evening time came and where lesser troops would be going to bed Super 6 Troop were getting busy with yet another Elevated Sanger. Only 5 hours later - I wont bore you with the detail - after some huffing-and-puffing the sanger was down and yet again it was bed time. Theres one thing you need to know about the boys, they only have two times; scoff time and bed time.

12 July 2012 Well its the last day of task and its another early start, and would you believe it but we're having to push and badger the Estonians all the way out of the gate to do their side of the clear out! Now the final day has two different tales; if youre a good old fashioned field Combat Engineer then its a quite a chilled out affair just waiting for the time to come to leave and go home. However, if you're a Plant Operator Mechanic then its the total opposite. The double act of Paul 'wrecking ball' Taylor and Craig 'Simmo' Simpson have to go to town on the rest of the external wall and after nine hours of constant tussling with the hesco wall it was down and finally time to go. So wheels up and we were gone. End of task. The next one awaits in two days time. Another CP strip out, another Elevated Sanger.
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XXVI EDITION 5

33 Armoured Engineer Squadron A word from the OC


(Maj C James)
July has been a whirlwind which started with a trip out for OCs TAC. Getting me out onto the ground is manpower intensive, stripping out the Ops Room in Bastion. That said it gives both the QM and 2IC a bit of breathing space and offered me my first chance of seeing the Squadron operating having only just taken over command weeks before. 7 Troop in MOB Price was our first stop, a vastly different place from Bastion and from my perspective it offers a refreshing change. It was my first exposure to the 1st Bn Gren Guards and an enjoyable one. I can also see why they call it MOB Nice as the food was excellent and the atmosphere, despite people being extremely busy, was relaxed. After a night out under the stars, we headed north to FOB Ouellette to visit 9 Troop. FOB Ouellette is much smaller than MOB Price, it is a raw but honest place and Sappers being Sappers have made a good home out of it. We returned to Bastion that evening. I now needed to visit 8 Troop in PB Clifton. Getting to PB Clifton to visit 8 Troop was going to be easy, a helicopter was the answer. Getting back however proved a little more difficult. 8 Troop had only been in PB Clifton a matter of days before myself and the SSM paid them a visit. They had their work cut out establishing themselves into what is a very cramped base. Despite this we were hosted extremely well. That evening LCpl Ashis, along with a few humble assistants, made us and the Command Team of Inkerman Coy a very tasty Gurkha curry. This was very much appreciated. Our short visit was drawing to a close, or so we thought...Three days later and three attempts to extract ourselves by helicopter we were still there. By the fourth day we needed an escape plan, by that afternoon utilising two very efficient taxi services we returned to Bastion somewhat shabbier than when we had left. As for the rest of the Squadron that week, it was 7 Troop who hit the headlines the most, in particular Cpl Etherington and his section. They had spent time working hard in very austere conditions in support of No. 5 Plt 2 Coy 1st Bn Gren Guards; their combined efforts turned a local national compound into a very desirable (by Afghan standards) temporary check point. This included living accommodation for both men and dogs.

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July disappeared before my eyes, a lot was happening. From relative stability we saw a rise in tempo with new tasks commencing and personalities changing over. 7 Troop moved lock, stock and barrel up to PB Rahim where they continue to deconstruct the Patrol Base - this is all part of Transition and something called Base Reconciliation and Closure. It was at this point that Sgt George joined them in the field as their Recce Sgt. However it was Lt Smith and Sgt Hicks in FOB Ouellette who by far, felt the most of the heat that week as they prepared and fired over 2 tonnes of explosives. This was a challenging operation for them. Lt Smith has now left 9 Troop to take over as the Battle Group Engineer in NES N. Good news followed as the LCpl to Cpl promotions board results were released. It was pleasing to have to congratulate LCpls Adam Collins, Sombahadur Gurung, Chris Massam, Santosh Rai, Taryn Smith and Andy Wilmer all of whom were selected for promotion to Cpl. We also welcomed 2Lt Gary Haikney who arrived to take over as 9 Troop Commander. With July drawing to a close, we are forced to focus on the end of tour. OC 37 Armd Engr Sqn who will be taking over as OC Fd Sqn 1 for Op HERRICK 17 came out for a visit and a whistle stop guided tour around the troop locations in the TAC vehicles. On the back of the visit we planned both our Relief in Place and Recovery back to the UK; within eight weeks it will all be history. Finally a word on visitors and morale, both of which have been a reoccurring theme as August drew closer. COs TAC went around the bazaars delivering mail and a frozen goat (much to 8 Troops delight). The CO and the RSM were hugely impressed as they visited the Sqn forward in Troop locations, moral from their perspective was at an all time high. It was then a visit from the Chief of the General Staff in to PB Rahim which has given us our latest media hook...

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XXVI EDITION 4

7 TROOP
Its July and there is no let up for 7 Troop. After a busy month in June, there have been tasks here at Price and out on the ground supporting the Grenadier Guards. Cpl Etherington and a select few men have rolled straight into another task building a Check Point for the next couple of weeks. The remainder at Price, Sgt khelendra and a number of the guys from 8 Troop have deployed up to PB HAZRAT, as part of an operation to build a number of Hesco Bastion compounds. Spr Simms in particular is looking forward to getting out there having been stuck at MOB Price since we arrived here in April. Not everyone will be so pleased to be part of this operation though. Spr Kirkham has now returned from his RnR only to be told that he is going straight out on the ground in support of 9 Troop. Hopefully he has taken the opportunity to recharge over his time off, getting straight back out into the fast paced environment that is operations. Last weekend saw us have a visit from Major James our new OC who seems to be very happy with how we have been conducting ourselves as a Troop and as a Squadron. It was clear that she is looking forward to her time commanding Squadron on operations. The weekend was also the climax of Euro 2012, and the 7 Troop sweepstake. It was down to just LCpl Wilmer who had Spain and Spr Reeve who had Italy to battle it out for the title. Spain came out victorious leaving the 2 Section LCpl with a big smile on his face and a good return from the $20 handed over at the beginning of the month. The work carries on here but with only 2 and a half months left on tour people can start to see the end and we are all looking forward to getting home in September.

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XXVI EDITION 5

Drawdown of CP MANZIRA-8 TROOP


(By Spr Cox)

Just before the break of dawn, 8 Troop left their Patrol Base to conduct their next task. On arrival, we were greeted by a mob of local kids. We managed to bypass the group and settled into the Check Point, but unfortunately one of our support vehicles, the EPLS was unable to make it through the front gates of the small CP. We cracked on straight away with our task and set ourselves up for the next 24 hours. The majority of our task included stripping out a razor wire fence, the main elevated sangers and taking away the front gate. The local kids were still gathered outside the CP, desperate to know the purpose of our visit and we had our evening meal before getting some sleep so we could start very early in the morning. At approximately 0400hrs on following day we began our task of stripping out the razor wire fence around the perimeter walls. Sweat trickled down my face after banging the pickets with the sledgehammer to recover them. After a few hours of hard work, the task was progressing well, though the razor wire task was a little time consuming and it took us a while to recover. The rest of the task proved less troublesome than the pickets that seemed to be welded into the ground. Our part in the task was complete but we still had to wait for the contractors to turn up to remediate the ground works and return the site back to how it was before the CP was built. Finally the contractors arrived and we handed over the site to them ensuring all remaining works were in good order. On completion of the task, we made our way back to our Patrol Base; another job well done.

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XXVI EDITION 5

CP SALAT-9 TROOP
(By Spr Jegou)

9 Troop has yet again been called upon to upgrade another CP and with the majority of the troop departing for the task it has left a handful of Sappers in the FOB location as CF support engineers. The first of many jobs was to head up to a nearby CP located to the north of us which will be handed over to the Afghanistan National Civil Order Police (ANCOP). Before this could happen, the ISAF Forces occupying the CP needed to remove themselves and all their equipment and stores. This meant that part of the HESCO perimeter wall was to be stripped to allow the removal of an ISO container that had been positioned within the perimeter. With the aid of a medium wheeled tractor we proceeded to remove the HESCO wall. Once the wall was stripped out and the ISO container removed by the EPLS, we then immediately proceeded to replace the HESCO. With the HESCO completed on the perimeter wall the super sappers were then asked to add a few random baskets of HESCO for the ANCOP. With the CP complete we then mounted up and made our way to a VP to carry out remedial works on the surrounding HESCO where a hoax IED had been placed the previous morning. The following day we were tasked to redirect drainage from the ANCOP compound away from the front gate as the water was flooding the entrance to our FOB. The team that was left behind to fulfil the tasks at the FOB were Cpl Lewis, LCpl Hogarty, Spr Jegou and Spr Palmer. After completing the drainage task we upgraded the road with medium wheeled tractor filling in the water damage. It was now down to our main task of the week, this was repairing the helicopter landing site (HLS). Our main priority was to repair the road which lead around the HLS as the dust was breaking through the stone and causing brown outs as the helicopters were landing. Whilst on the task we had a new member join 9 troop some four months into the tour in the form of Spr Bryden fresh from the UK. The task was carried out to our usual high standards over the next 4 days.
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XXVI EDITION 5

Glossary
Ranks Spr - Sapper LCpl - Lance Corporal Cpl - Corporal Sgt - Sergeant SSgt - Staff Sergeant WO2 - Warrant Officer Second Class WO1 - Warrant Officer First Class Lt - Lieutenant Afghanistan specific terms Op - Operation, mission, task (not surgery) PB - Patrol Base CP - Check Point SANGAR - A watch tower which is manned 24 hours a day to provide protection to a base Stag - standing in the sangar keeping watch and providing protection JOB - Joint Operating Base FOB - Forward Operating Base NES (S) - Nahr-e Saraj South NES (N) - Nahr-e Saraj North NDA - Nad-e Ali TFH - Task Force Helmand ISAF - International Security Assistance Force ANSF - Afghanistan National Security Force ANA - Afghan National Army ANP - Afghan National Police IED - Improvised Explosive Device
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Formations Sect - Section Tp - Troop Armd Engr Sqn - Armoured Engineer Squadron Fd Engr Sqn - Field Engineer Squadron Hq & Sp Sqn - Headquarters and Support Squadron

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XXVI EDITION 5
HESCO - Large flat packed containers made of thick strong wire containing a large sandbag. The sandbag is filled with sand to produce a large protective brick. The individual HESCO blocks are then used like giant bricks to produce a protective wall for our bases. HLS - Helicopter Landing Site Barma - Our drill used to find Improvised Explosive Devices with a hand held metal detector. Equipment MASTIFF - Large armoured truck with a with a heavy machine gun for protection. TALISMAN - A series of vehicles used to clear a route of improvised explosive devices. HUSKY - Another type of large armoured vehicle. MWT - Medium wheeled tractor (dump truck). SLDT(P) - Self Loading Dump Truck (Protected) - A small dump truck. Apache - Ugly looking attack helicopter. Chinook - Large helicopter featured in the film Big Friendly Giant. Sea-king - Royal Navy helicopter used as search and rescue in the UK. Merlin - Medium to large Royal Air Force and Navy helicopter used to move Troops around from base to base.

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