Saturday, October 17, 2009
A grandfather who was decorated for bravery in the Falklands War has become the oldest member of the Armed Forces to go to war in Afghanistan - at the age of 54.
Lieutenant Commander Bill O'Brien, a Royal Navy pilot who won the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM) in the 1982 conflict, is now flying Apache attack helicopters in Helmand.
The married dad-of-three retired from regular service four years ago but remained a Navy reservist.
He decided to return to the frontline because he had an "itch to scratch".
Speaking from Camp Bastion at the start of a three-month tour last night, he said:
"I believe I have a contribution to make - there's some life in the old dog yet!
"The intensity is greater than I was expecting. It's fullon all the time. But we're here to support the guys on the ground. We're here to support the Afghan people. The job needs to be done properly and I believe I can make some small contribution to that."