Friday, April 23, 2010

1 Mercian - Ready for Helmand Task

1 Mercian ready for Helmand task as they take over new operating base

Soldiers from Malta Company, 1st Battalion the Mercian Regiment have taken over control of Patrol Base One in Malgir, south of the town of Gereshk in Helmand Province from the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards. The Company’s operating area for the next six months was cleared of insurgents by ISAF during operation Panchai Palang in the summer of 2009. It has since become a key focus for stability and reconstruction.

In the run up to the handover, Guardsmen from the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards and soldiers from 3 Yorks, who have been working in the area, have been carrying out joint familiarisation patrols of the region with 1 Mercian. Each patrol aims to show the incoming unit the checkpoints and bases within the area, any projects that are ongoing and allow the new unit to start interacting with the local nationals in the surrounding villages. Of particular importance has been the handover of many of the reconstruction and military assistance projects running in the joint Afghan National Police and ISAF checkpoint along the Nahri-e-burghri canal.

Lieutenant John Sanderson, 1 Platoon Commander, Malta Company, 1 Mercian said, “The purpose of the patrol this morning was two-fold. On the one hand, it was to familiarise those of us who are taking over from the Company at Patrol Base One and secondly it was a patrol to reassure the local population and dominate the ground in order to deter insurgents from infiltrating this area.”

He continues, “The big thing for us though, is time on the ground and interacting with the local people. For me and my men, success will be based on the effect we have on the population here.”

Major Charlie Foinette, the outgoing Officer Commanding Number 4 Company, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards explained what he was handing over: “When I’m handing over control of a patrol base like this, where we have been soldiering for six months now, the most important thing we want to get across to our successors is the population. We’ve spent six months getting to know them, and engaging with them while out on patrol and in meetings. The only important thing about this area is the population, what their fears are, what their concerns are, what their difficulties are and how we can help.”

Members of 1 Mercian will spend the next six months working in partnership with Afghan soldiers to provide continued security across the region, so projects such as the building of a medical centre and permanent school can take place. Working alongside them will be a Brigade Advisory Group from 1 Royal Ghurkha Rifles who will be training the Afghan National Army soldiers based at Patrol Base One.


  1. You're all doing an amazing job out there!

  2. Good Luck - be thinking and praying for you x

  3. I spoke to one of the lcpl of 1rgr the day before they left to PBO..

    my thoughts and prayers are with all of the brave men serving at afghanistan..all of em. x god speed

  4. as an ex serving member of the 22nd i wish you all gods speed ,you are always in our thoughts

  5. Brave lads doing a brave job. Stay safe and come home to your families. We miss you...Gods speed

  6. god bless you lads, everyone come home.

  7. As an ex-serving member of the 22nd, I wish you all well. Recent losses break my heart. I am thinking of you all and families of those lost. God Bless.

  8. god bless all of you lads n lasses oout there in afganistan your doing a brilliant job out there.keep safe.and thinking of you all