Troops come home to Chivenor after six months in Afghanistan

NORTH Devon Sappers from 24 Commando Engineer Regiment Royal Engineers were returning to their base at RMB Chivenor last night (Tuesday) after a highly successful six-month tour of Afghanistan’s Helmand Province.

Around 70 members of the 250-plus unit - which spearheaded the Taskforce Helmand Engineer Group - were being welcomed back by their families, friends and colleagues after playing a vital role on 3 Commando Brigade’s Operation Herrick 14.

24 Commando Engineer Regiment has worked tirelessly to improve security and freedom of movement for local people in Helmand Province during their busy tour.

One of the highlights was the construction of an enormous 45-metre long bridge over the Nahr-e Bughra canal. It is the longest bridge of its kind to have ever been built in Helmand Province. The work took just ten days, with Sappers operating in temperatures well over 50 degrees Celsius, wearing helmets and body armour.

As well as enabling local people to move about more freely, the bridge has played a key role in disrupting insurgent activity in the area as insurgents used tunnels under the canal to avoid detection.

Projects

On top of key instructive projects, 24 Commando Engineer Regiment has been passing on important artisan and engineering skills such as carpentry and plumbing to soldiers in the Afghan National Army as part of the Brigade Advisory Group.

Over the last few weeks, Sappers have also been teaching members of the Afghan National Army how to operate heavy machinery used in road construction projects. As the ANA grows and their soldiers increasingly take responsibility for providing security in Helmand, they will carry out the tasks required of military engineers on operations. This training will also give ANA soldiers a trade for life; leaving a lasting legacy.

Finally, 24 Commando has also been carrying out the important day-to-day work in support of ISAF soldiers, enabling them to live, move and fight by constructing and upgrading checkpoints, Forward Operating Bases and Patrol Bases where our soldiers and Marines are based as well as improving the road network to reduce the threat of IEDs.