Wednesday, October 21, 2009
3rd Battalion The Rifles have deployed to Afghanistan and taken over from 2nd Battalion The Rifles as the Battlegroup (North), based around the strategically important town of Sangin in the Northern Helmand Province.
3 RIFLES took over control on Monday, October 19 during a ceremony at their Headquarters at FOB JACKSON in Sangin, where they will remain until April 2010. This is the first time during Operation HERRICK that an Infantry Battlegroup has handed over to a sister battalion. Indeed, the RIFLES have had a presence in Sangin for the past three tours with 1 RIFLES providing training and mentoring to the Afghan National Army over a year ago.
3 RIFLES Battlegroup is part of 11 Light Brigade, which took over responsibility for Helmand Province on Saturday, October 10. The Battlegroup consists of five fighting companies, including A Company, 4 RIFLES and B Company, 1 SCOTS who are attached for the duration of the tour. It is also supported by 42 Sqn, 28 Engineer Regiment and The Chestnut Troop, 1st Royal Horse Artillery as well as a variety of other specialist organisations.
The Commander of Battlegroup (North), Lt Col Nick Kitson, said:
"It is great honour to take over from our fellow Riflemen and maintain a RIFLES presence in the Sangin Valley and Kajaki.
"We have spent over a year training hard and preparing for this tour. It is an environment which will undoubtedly challenge us all but we are well equipped, well manned and well placed to succeed in bringing progress to this important part of Helmand"
The Commanding Officer of 2 RIFLES commented:
"Handing over to another Rifles Battalion has been a huge privilege and a lot of fun. HERRICK 10 has been the campaign of our lives and we now leave Sangin, confident that we have handed over the town and the valley to a tough and operationally experienced Battalion. The District Governor was delighted to find that we are all from the same Regiment and a continuity of approach bodes well for Sangin. We wish 3 RIFLES a hugely successful tour – we will keep them in our thoughts and prayers."