Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Konrad, 18, on the frontline in Helmand Province

MANY teenage lads spend their time playing football and socialising with friends.

But for 18-year-old Konrad Rowinski, life is rather different.

The former Little Lever Language College pupil is a Fusilier serving on the frontline in Afghanistan, training the Afghan Police.

He is five months into a six-month tour, based in the town of Musa Qal’eh in the north of Helmand Province, where the regiment conducts regular patrols to provide security for local people.

Fus Rowinski is a member of 2nd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. He is known to his colleagues as “Ski” and is a combat infantryman, whose job is patrolling the busy streets of Musa Qal’eh or the dangerous “Green Zone” that surrounds it.

His platoon is currently training and mentoring the Afghan National Police (ANP).

Fus Rowinski said: “The ANP are very different to the police at home. They are less skilled but are very keen to learn and are making good progress.

“They are very useful to go on patrol with as they know the local area, understand the people who live here and, most importantly, speak their language.

“It’s a lot different to what I had expected and being here changes you a lot.

“My family will see a big difference in me when I get home.”

Fus Rowinski was born to a Polish father, Ted Rowinski, and Puerto Rican mother, Reina Morris, who still live in Bolton.

He left school at 16 and began his army training in April last year before being posted to the Second Fusiliers, based in Hounslow, West London.

Before the battalion deployed in April, they were put through an intensive training programme.

As summer approaches in Afghanistan, infantrymen like Fus Rowinski routinely patrol for hours in temperatures of up to 50 degrees, carrying an array of weapon systems, large amounts of ammunition and water plus protective equipment.

Fus Rowinski said: “It’s hard work at times with the heat and kit we carry but we all get through it together and try and make it as comfortable for each other as possible.”

Fus Rowinski recently took part in Operation MAR LEWE 2 (Snake Wolf 2) to seize control of a village south of Musa Qual’eh to give local nationals the freedom to vote in the recent Afghan elections.

Along with his colleagues, he is due to finish his tour in October then go on leave.

When they return after Christmas, they will be guarding the Queen and Royal family when they take over public duties at Buckingham Palace, The Tower of London and St James’s Palace.

1 comment:

  1. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 09/09/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.