Thursday, April 29, 2010
3 YORKS' soldiers return from Afghanistan
More than 60 soldiers from 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (3 YORKS) returned to Wiltshire after deploying for up to six months in Afghanistan.
They were welcomed back to Battlesbury Barracks, Warminster, by Lieutenant Colonel Tom Vallings, Commanding Officer of 3 YORKS, as well as colleagues, family and friends:
"It's a huge relief to have them back safe, a huge sense of pride of what they've achieved, and I'm glad to see them back in the arms of loved ones," said Lt Col Vallings.
"But the loss of Lance Corporal Graham Shaw and Corporal Liam Riley on this tour and last year the loss of Private Young hits us all and it is has been an immeasurable loss for us and their families. We and they will always remember them."
A total of 77 soldiers were deployed on a variety of tasks throughout Helmand province; 31 of them formed part of the 'Mastiff Group' operating in the Babaji region in the heavily armoured Mastiff protected mobility vehicle.
Their duties included transporting troops and protecting large convoys, as well as directly engaging the Taliban with their advanced weapons systems.
The other 46 were split across the region and performed a variety of tasks ranging from drivers through to snipers.
Many of them were performing the vital and challenging role of being battle casualty replacements, replacing troops in a number of different units who had lost soldiers through death or injury.
All these soldiers played a key role in the recent Operation Moshtarak, during which they were responsible for improving the security and quality of life of the Afghan people.
The return was tinged with sadness as the battalion and its wider family remembered those who made the ultimate sacrifice on this tour of duty. Lance Corporal Graham Shaw and Corporal Liam Riley were both killed by improvised explosive devices on the same patrol in February.
The 3 YORKS' soldiers' return marks the end of a year-long commitment to operations that has seen 118 soldiers return from Baghdad last May, and a further 131 soldiers return from Afghanistan in November.