Thursday, September 3, 2009
Two Sunderland soldiers who have just weeks until they return home from Afghanistan are surprisingly reluctant to come back.
Corporal Marie Oxley and Corporal Terri Lee, both 26, are based at 19 Light Brigade's Headquarters in Lashkar Gah.
For Marie, who is from Carley Hill and Terri, from Millfield, leaving Afghanistan after a gruelling six-month tour will be bittersweet, as they will leave loved ones fighting on the frontline.
In a cruel twist of fate, Marie will return home as her boyfriend is deployed to Afghanistan for six months.
Also, Terri arrives home on the day that her younger brother leaves the UK for the same six-month tour.
Cpl Oxley, who is part of 209 Signal Squadron, said: "To tell the truth I don't really want to come home. That's partly because my boyfriend has just deployed here and I'd really like to be here with him.
"Having said that, going home, seeing my family and doing some clothes shopping will be some small consolation."
Cpl Lee, of the Adjutant Generals Corps, also has mixed feelings.
She said: "I've found out the day I'm due home my baby brother, who is serving with 3 Rifles, is due to fly out to Kajaki and begin his six-month tour.
"But what's almost as strange is that he will be taking over from my boyfriend who is with 2 Rifles and is based in Kajaki at the moment.
"So on the one hand I'll be happy to be home and happy to see my boyfriend again, but I'll also miss my little brother."
Both corporals, who hope to be home by early October, play crucial roles at Task Force Helmand HQ working closely with Brigadier Tim Radford, the Commander of all British forces operating in Afghanistan.
One of Cpl Oxley's jobs is to act as the technical expert for video-link conferences between staff in the brigade headquarters and colleagues all over the world, from London to Brussels and Kabul.
She said: "After I've set up the link I wait outside the door in case there are any technical problems, which if there are, I come in and fix."
Cpl Lee, who works as the PA to Brigadier Radford, said: "I've met the Prime Minister and all the top brass who come out to have meetings with the brigadier. Anyone that sees him goes through me first, so it's an interesting job."