Our Honor Guard for the Great Scot! Parade and the Greenville Scottish Games Friday, May 27 and Saturday, May 28!
The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland (2 SCOTS), deployed on Operation HERRICK 13 (Afghanistan) from September 2010 until April 2011. During their time in theatre they improved the lives of the indigenous population, by providing protection from the insurgents and implementing projects to raise the quality of life for the people.
But the Jocks were not alone in their endeavours. Throughout the tour they were aided by their partners from the ANSF. All elements of the Battle Group were assisted by personnel from the Afghan National Police (ANP), Afghan National Army (ANA), Afghan National Civil Order Police (ANCOP) or other elements of the Afghan Security Forces. Most lived with the 2 SCOTS soldiers, sharing patrol bass with them and conducting operations with them. This benefitted everyone as the Afghans were able to talk to the local people and interact with them in a way the Jocks couldn’t, whilst the Afghans benefitted from the superior firepower of the Jocks as well as the training that they received from them
In the city of LASHKAR GAH itself the ANSF were able to conduct security operations without the help of the forces from 2 SCOTS. Thanks to the training that the Battalion conducted the ANSF were able to provide security and the ANSF competency was proven by the local people holding two concerts in the city, where famous Afghan singers were able to perform on stage, in front of thousands of fans, whilst the ANSF provided security. The events were both extremely successful and the insurgents were unable to mount any operations to disrupt them.
Elsewhere in the area out with the District Centre (DC) the people had a lot to thank the Jocks for. Many of the areas that 2 SCOTS were responsible for had previously been controlled by the insurgents, who used this control to intimidate the local people and force them to act against their will. Many were forced to grow illegal poppy or hide components used to make Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) for use against the security forces – both Afghan and international.
But the tour was not without its risks and a number of personnel were sent home after being injured. Some of these soldiers are recovering from their injuries at present and are being given the opportunity to go to the US to represent the Battalion at the Greenville Highland Games.
SOME OF THE SOLDIERS ATTENDING GREENVILLE HIGHLAND GAMES
Lance Corporal (LCpl) Jason McGowan (20) is currently serving with the Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland (2 SCOTS). Originally from Ayr, he has been serving with the Battalion for three years and thoroughly enjoys Army life.
Jason returned from Afghanistan part way through his tour after sustaining an injury. He and his comrades were travelling in a vehicle which was struck by a command wire operated Improvised Explosive Device (IED). The vehicle suffered massive damage but saved the lives of the crew travelling in it. Neither Jason nor his comrades were seriously injured, however Jason himself suffered from a perforated eardrum. He has currently lost his hearing in his right ear but hopes to his hearing will return. Medics have informed him to expect his hearing to return in the near future.
In his spare time Jason enjoys spending time with his family, going out with his friends and watching his beloved Celtic football club playing.
“It is great to be given the opportunity to go to this event and represent the Battalion. It is nice to know that we are appreciated.”
Fusilier Derek Ferguson (20) serves as a member of the Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland (2 SCOTS) and has done for four years. He is from Saltcoats, Ayrshire where his older brother also lives.
In October he was injured during his tour of duty in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. His patrol had stopped when he was shot in the shoulder by an insurgent.
“I have never felt such pain in all my life. It was like my shoulder exploded. My friends were great and rallied round me to get me to safety.”
He was later evacuated to the UK where he recovered in hospital. He has since been released and continues on the road to recovery. He hopes to make a full recovery so that he can get back to doing the things that he loves; playing golf, table tennis and football.
“I am really looking forward to this trip as it will give me a chance to get away for a few days. I know it is work, but we are also getting the chance to go to America.”
Fusilier Liam Kemp (20) has been serving in the Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland (2 SCOTS) for the past 2 years. Originally from Balloch, near Glasgow, he has an older sister, older brother and three younger sisters.
During his tour of duty in Afghanistan he was involved in an unfortunate accident where he was shot through the shoulder. Upon receiving the injury he was evacuated to the military hospital in Kandahar before being flown back to the UK. He is recovering well and hopes to be able to play football, basketball and golf soon.
“I have to thank the people of Greenville as well as the Battalion for giving me and the lads the opportunity to do this. It really does show how much support there is for what we do, both at home and abroad.”
Fusilier David Walker (22) is currently in his fourth year of service with the Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland (2 SCOTS). During his time in Afghanistan he was unfortunate enough to sustain a cold injury, which as significant enough to deem it necessary for him to be evacuated to the UK.
“People don’t often think that Afghanistan gets cold. But at times the temperature got colder than it ever does in Scotland. Standing in icy water is not good for you.”
David is now recovering and hopes to get back to doing his job once again.
“This is a fantastic thing to be a part of and I am really looking forward to the trip.”
Corporal Gen Mullen (28) has served with the Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland (2 SCOTS) for just under 10 years. Hailing from Logan, in Ayrshire he deployed with the Battalion to the area of Helmand Province around LASHKAR GAH. He operated as a section commander, commanding a squad of soldiers protecting the people of the surrounding areas.
Shortly after returning from his period of Rest and Recuperation (R&R) he suffered an ankle injury whilst on patrol in the harsh terrain of Helmand. Medics assessed that he would be unable to continue with the remainder of his tour and he was evacuated to the UK to recover. He is currently undergoing physiotherapy to improve the range of movement in his ankle and he should be back to normal soon.
“I am looking forward to this trip as it gives us all a chance to thank people for their support. Not to mention that it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit South Carolina.”