CONDOR-BASED Royal Marines recently returned from a hectic six-month tour in Helmand Province are now back on duty following some well-earned leave.
The commanding officer of the unit, Lieutenant Colonel Oliver Lee MBE RM, is intensely proud of what his men achieved.
He commented this week: “We have relished the challenges and immense privilege of operating alongside our Afghan partners to deliver to Nad-e-Ali the view they now have of genuine optimism and hope.”
He explained: “Nad-e-Ali had been hard fought over for years and bitter experience left its people resigned to inevitable summer fighting. This brought hopelessness, fear, susceptibility to intimidation and unwillingness to resist the insurgency or side with legitimacy.
“We recognised the need to change the paradigm, break the cycle of violence and prevent the traditional fighting season, with Afghan forces in the lead, without reducing the pressure on the insurgents. Violence and fighting are the insurgent’s narrative, without which he is irrelevant. And the fighting induces the fear that dissuades the people from countering the insurgency.
He continued: “This was made so by the courage, determination, unyielding soldiering and common decency of young Royal Marines. Their humanity and insatiable desire to make a difference made the difference. Serving with these marvellous men has been the greatest privilege of my life.”
With his men safely returned to Scotland – and then to all points on the compass during post-deployment leave – Colonel Lee also took time out to thank his staff who had remained in Arbroath during the six-month tour.
He said: “Much was going on at home in RM Condor where our Rear Operations Group has supported those of us in Afghanistan tirelessly and with great distinction. Throughout the operational tour work continued on the Woodlands Garden.
“This magnificent project, worked on tirelessly, amongst others, by some of our wounded men and bereaved families, will forever remember the sacrifice paid in Afghanistan (and elsewhere) to deliver the successes described above. We are grateful to our many friends in Arbroath and across Angus who have generously supported the Woodlands Garden project.”