Sunday, April 25, 2010
Transfer of Authority for the Nahr-e Saraj (South)
The 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, who played a leading role in the recent Operation MOSHTARAK, have marked the Transfer of Authority for the Nahr-e Saraj (South) area to 1st Battalion the Royal Gurkha Rifles (1 RGR).
For the past six months, the Coldstream Guards have been operating in partnership with the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) to build positive relationships with the local people, enabling a move towards reconstruction and development in the area. Most notable is the progress made with constructing a new road through the area. The Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Toby Gray, was commended by Brigadier Richard Felton, Commander Task Force Helmand, for his excellent work. Brigadier Felton also paid tribute to the sacrifices made since the Coldstream Guards took command of the area from the Light Dragoons in 2009.
Brigadier Felton said: "The Coldstream Guards have done an excellent job during their six months here. They are leaving this area in a far better position than when they arrived. Now I know 1 RGR will continue the good work and build on the strong relationships the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards have established with the locals."
At the ceremony at the main patrol base attended by soldiers from both battalions, Brigadier Felton handed command to Lieutenant Colonel Gerald Strickland, Commanding Officer 1 RGR. The Regimental flag of the outgoing 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards was lowered and the flag of the Gurkhas raised in its place. During the flag change, Corporal Lilbahadur Gurung of 1 RGR played the bagpipes; a time-honoured tradition shared between the Gurkhas and Scottish Highland regiments.
Lieutenant Colonel Strickland said: “Today 1 RGR takes over Nahr-e Saraj (South) from the Coldstream Guards who have achieved enormous amounts and made great progress, albeit with great sacrifice. 1 RGR will continue to take forward the good work they have done, particularly in bringing Afghan governance into the southern part of the Nahr-e Saraj district. Progress will not be easy as there are still many in the area who would resist what the Afghan Government would offer – but we will work together with the Government, the Police and Afghan National Army to deliver the security the people need.
1 RGR last deployed to Afghanistan on Operation HERRICK 7 in 2008. Since then, they have conducted extensive training in the UK and a multi-national exercise in Brunei in preparation for this latest operational tour. The Nepalese soldiers of the Royal Gurkha Rifles have a long-standing history as a unique part of the British Army and are no strangers to Afghanistan. The Gurkhas enjoy a cultural affinity with the Afghans and will use that to build strong relations with their partners in the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police and with the local communities.