A ROYAL Marine from Arbroath-based 45 Commando who is serving his second tour in Afghanistan believes progress is definitely being made in the conflict-ravaged region.
Captain Adam Lee first deployed to Nad-e Ali South in 2009. Back then it was a hotbed of insurgent activity and during the six months of HERRICK 9, he was involved in several operations as ISAF coalition forces fought to clear the area of insurgents.
Two years on and Captain Lee is back, but this time it’s a very different job in a very different place. The
The 27-year-old from Devizes in Wiltshire is now second in command of Yankee Company which is located at Patrol Base Samsoor near the village of Khowshaal Kalay. His job involves co-ordinating patrols, resupplies and facilitating meetings with local people.
He says the change in the atmosphere is remarkable. “Things are much better compared to when I was last here,” he continued. “Then, we were fighting nearly every day, but now the threat both to us and the local people is much lower. People feel safer and as a result, they’re more interested in a future of peace and stability.”
The former pupil from Dauntsey’s School, Market Lavington, joined the Marines six years ago. In Helmand, he divides his time between the company’s patrol base and the headquarters of 45 Commando at Forward Operating Base Shawqat, which is an old British fort.
There he liaises with members of the Military Stabilisation and Support Team who are responsible for delivering governance and development alongside the security provided by ISAF and Afghan forces.
Captain Lee acknowledged that during this tour he is able to get among the local people and help find solutions to their problems. However, he admits that it can be a difficult process. “We organise shuras or meetings with elders and members of the community and hear about the things that are bothering them,” he went on.
“We then support the Afghan government and authorities in delivering what is required.
“Satisfying the needs of the local people can be a real challenge, though, because you need to differentiate between the priority cases and the less vital ones. Overall it is very rewarding and reassuring that things are improving; it means that all those who didn’t make it home on our last tour helped to achieve something.”
Captain Lee and the other 170 members of Y Company will be based in Nad-e Ali South until October. During that time, they will each get two weeks rest and recuperation from the daily battle rhythm and heat of Helmand to spend with their families back in Scotland. They are all hoping that by the time they leave at the end of HERRICK 14, they will have helped to improve things even more for the people of Afghanistan.