End of Tour…Back to Reality!

Cpl Sian Davies 128 Field Company REME

I am now back firmly on UK soil having completed my 6 month tour of Afghanistan with 12CSLR. Already I look back at it with nothing but fond memories.

Op Herrick 17 came to end for me at the end of March 2013 along with the rest of LAD. In the last month we started our end of tour preparations. The fleet of vehicles were already at good standard and we were sure to maintain that ready for the handover/takeover. This was one of our busiest times in theatre and we were working longer days and at a quicker pace. Morale was gaining momentum as members of 3CSLR started to come in ready for Herrick 18.

The new LAD arrived in full shortly before we left, allowing us a day or two to work together, going through common faults and discussing best working methods. Camp Bastion once again became very busy as it was accommodated by two Battle groups. It was very reminiscent of my arrival in theatre back in September 2012. This time however, I was getting ready to leave to come back home.

Once the workshop was handed over we had enough time to deal with booking out of Camp and pack. We left our ‘home away from home’ two days later. As in all cases after a 6 month operational tour of Afghanistan, we were Cyprus bound for Decompression.  On arrival at Bloodhound Camp, Akrotiri we were allocated accommodation then spent the day relaxing. Activities including chilling by the pool, horse-riding and go karting, amongst other things.

View from my lounger in Akrotiri

View from my lounger in Akrotiri

That evening we all enjoyed food, a limited amount of alcohol and a CSE show consisting of comedians and a band. It was a good day/night all in all but I was definitely looking forward to getting back home.

On arrival at Brize Norton, we headed back to 12 LSR, Abingdon. On dealing with a few admin issues I was free to make the final part of my journey back home. I spent a week at home before going back to Abingdon for three days of the standard 4 day ‘normalisation package’. This consisted of a PFA (personal fitness test), various briefs, talks from outside bodies and or course, a word or two from the Padre. There were mixed feelings about the normalisation process, but it was compulsory and everyone attended.

Meeting my Great Nephew for the first time on my way back from Brize Norton

Meeting my Great Nephew for the first time on my way back from Brize Norton

At that stage there was nothing left for TA personnel to do except to formally demobilise from Regular Service. My leave officially started on 11 April. I am due to go back to my civilian job as a Senior Solicitor on 18 June 2013.

I very much enjoyed my time spent with 12 CSLR and the experience of living in Camp Bastion and venturing out beyond ‘the wire’. I am truly grateful for having had the opportunity to experience an Operational Tour. I was particularly lucky with the timing of my tour as I had many friends out in theatre at the same time from the Army and RAF both reservist and regular. To be able to socialise away from my place of work was certainly something that helped pass the time.

Seeing my dad for the first time in a year in Tenerife!

Seeing my dad for the first time in a year in Tenerife!

I am making the most of my leave now, already having enjoyed a week away in Tenerife to visit family as well as a weekend in London for the Army v Navy Rugby. I will be back at work before I know it so I am embracing this as much as possible. Afghanistan already becoming just a memory.

For more information on 128 Fd Coy please visit: http://www.serfca.org/en-gb/reservists/ta/128fieldcompanyreme.aspx


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