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RAF Marham and RAF Honington troops prepare for Afghanistan deployment

PUBLISHED: 06:27 21 March 2013

No3 Force Protection Wing, RAF Regiment training on the STANTA training area near Thetford before deployment to Afghanistan in April. Photograph Simon Parker

No3 Force Protection Wing, RAF Regiment training on the STANTA training area near Thetford before deployment to Afghanistan in April. Photograph Simon Parker

Archant

Confidence is high among troops as brave servicemen and women train near Thetford before heading out to Afghanistan for sixth months.

No 3 Force Protection Wing (3FPWG) RAF Regiment, which is based at RAF Marham but comprises No 2 Squadron RAF Regiment RAF Honington, No 3 Squadron RAF Regiment RAF Wittering and Tactical Police Squadron (TPS) RAF Henlow, will be deploying on Operation Herrick 18 to Camp Bastion next month.

In preparation for the mission, they have been training at the Stanford training area.

For some, the deployment will be their first time out in Afghanistan – while others are hoping to utilise experience gained from previous tours.

Wing commander Andy Jones MBE said: “There has been three levels of training: a very tactical level for the men and women to practice their life-saving tools and to best prepared as they can be, communication control exercises to make sure our operations staff are ready to manage any scenarios we may face and planning tasks so we can plan and deliver a secure operation now and in the future.

“For every person who is going to Afghanistan for the first time, there are a number of people who have been a number of times. Young men and women get the opportunity to be exposed to it in a deliberate manner and there are no shocks when they get there.

“The training is very good and very challenging. We’re not just ticking boxes, we are getting guys to the highest standard. I’m confident we can deliver that.”

Camp Bastion houses more than 28,000 people while its airfield supports on average nearly 3,000 flights per week. It is considered one of the busiest airfields in the world.

The 3FPWG will be replacing No 7 Force Protection Wing as part of the operation.

Their role will be to minimise hostilities against the camp and protect a 700km perimeter from insurgents.

Flying officer David Rayfield, 25, who was born in Norwich and is based at RAF Honington, will be going on tour for the second time.

He said: “I’m feeling confident and am looking forward to gaining the experience. There is a little bit of nerves but I think that’s a good thing.

“It’s good to be able to cut my teeth on the job that I’m trained to do.”

Corporal Rhian Jones, who is an RAF police officer and will be going to Afghanistan for the first time just days after her 28th birthday, added: “I’m looking forward to the challenge, I’ve been training for a long time for it. I’m looking forward to putting those skills into practice.

“I am nervous as well and am going to miss my family.”

For more photos, go to this story online at www.edp24.co.uk.

kate.scotter@archant.co.uk

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