Saturday, June 27, 2009
Servicemen, women and veterans are being honoured in events around Britain on the first Armed Forces Day.
It is a chance for people to raise a flag to show they are appreciated.
The BBC caught up with serving men and women posted to far-flung destinations around the world.
STAFF SERGEANT GRANT MCFALL, AFGHANISTAN
Staff Sgt Grant McFall is a Royal Engineer who works as part of the reconstruction and development team in the provincial capital of Helmand Province for 522 Support Group Royal Engineers.
He said, from his point of view, things were "really progressing" in Helmand: "We do all kinds of reconstruction, from schools to mosques, and we get contractors in, and do everything from tenders to project managing - the whole life cycle of a construction site.
"We go out on patrol with the infantry and close protection team, and mentor the civilian contractors and try to bring them up to British standards. They're top class, the Afghan contractors, very keen to learn.
"The contractors I've worked with at Lashkar Gah are keen to work with Isaf [International Security Assistance Force]. However, when we turn up on a construction site, we only have 10 minutes of walking around the site because if we do get noticed, it could jeopardise the contractors' well-being, being seen to work with Isaf forces.
"But there are more projects than there have been in the past. I've been out here three months, and have around 16 construction projects here. When Isaf first came out, they were mainly doing smaller cash projects. Now we are overseeing the construction of a new jail in the province, costing £1.6m
"I have three months left of this tour. I did my clerk of works construction course, and I've been thrown straight into the deep end here. I love it. It's a dream come true - this job is brilliant.
"On this Armed Forces Day, I'll be out on patrol on Lashkar Gah keeping an eye on the construction sites. My wife's a nurse in Nottingham, which keeps her busy, and my son Kian, who is two and a half, will be at nursery.
"I think that having an Armed Forces day is a great idea. I don't think the British Army gets enough acknowledgement of what we're doing out here."