ROYAL Marines from 45 Commando based in Arbroath are settling into camp in Afghanistan at the start of their six-month tour.
The unit, which is deployed as part of 3 Commando Brigade on Operation Herrick 14, has now assumed responsibility of Combined Force Nad-e Ali South which they will command until September.
A ceremony to mark the transfer of authority from 1 Royal Irish, who have completed their tour of duty, took place at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Shawqat over the weekend.
During the service, the 1 Royal Irish flag was lowered and the colours of 45 Commando were raised. The Commanding Officer of 1 Royal Irish, Lieutenant Colonel Colin Weir, formally handed over to the Commanding Officer of 45 Commando, Lieutenant Colonel Oliver Lee MBE.
Colonel Lee said his men are ready for the task ahead. He went on: “Throughout the build up to our deployment our training has been superb and everyone is extremely well prepared. This has been enhanced further by an excellent week of final acclimatisation in Afghanistan.”
The night before the handover, ISAF forces hosted a dinner at FOB Shawqat for members of the local Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police and the District Governor of Nad-e-Ali South, Habbibula Khan, who supplied the traditional Afghan food that was eaten.
During the meal, the District Governor spoke about the recent improvements to security and praised the contribution and sacrifice made by the 1 Royal Irish Battle Group as well as ISAF and Afghan forces and welcomed 45 Commando to Nad-e Ali South.
Colonel Lee said he knows it is important to get to know the local people in order to succeed. He continued: “This exposure has left me even more strongly of the view that this is an area of great progress and presents a real opportunity for 45 Commando to make a difference for the better.
“Our predecessors have done a first class job, provided us with a tight handover and therefore set us up for success. The rest is up to us and I know that we are equal to the challenge.”