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Light Dragoons welcome home parade: Message from Lt Col Sam Plant MBE, Commanding Officer, The Light Dragoons

16:30 03 December 2012

Lt Col Sam Plant, commanding officer of the Light Dragoons. Pic by Chris Hill

Lt Col Sam Plant, commanding officer of the Light Dragoons. Pic by Chris Hill

Archant

The Light Dragoons deployed in late March 2012 to Helmand Province, Afghanistan with more than 320 officers and soldiers.

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The Regiment deployed in its core role and, as such, Regimental Headquarters formed the nucleus of the intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) group, with A and B Squadrons both subordinate to the ISTAR Gp HQ.

HQ Squadron also deployed in role, providing logistic support to the 1,200 soldiers who made up the whole of the ISTAR Group.

For their six months’ deployment, The Light Dragoons elements of the ISTAR Group were responsible for finding and disrupting the insurgency beyond the key population centres of Central Helmand, thereby helping the Afghans deliver security and governance in those key population centres.

It has been an operational tour of significant success for The Light Dragoons.

In a total of 248 discrete operations, The Light Dragoons searched a total of 1,700 Afghan compounds, denying over three tonnes of homemade explosives and significant quantities of other bomb making equipments.

This extraordinarily high tempo of operations contributed significantly to this summer’s success in preventing a meaningful insurgent offensive and provided the time and space for the Afghan National Security Forces to continue to develop and flourish.

The soldiers of The Light Dragoons once again demonstrated the bravery, resilience, professionalism and determination that allowed them to succeed in the most austere of conditions.

As ever, such military success has come at cost. The loss of Sgt Lee Davidson hit us all hard and we will remember him forever. Equally, there have been high numbers of casualties throughout the tour – our support to the continued rehabilitation of the injured will remain a priority in the days, weeks, months and years ahead.

It is a great honour for The Light Dragoons to be invited to parade through Dereham and to celebrate the links between the Regiment and the local community.

We are very grateful to Breckland District Council, the people of Dereham and the surrounding area for their support for us today, and to our families while we have been away these past six months.

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