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The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (5 SCOTS), are parading through various towns this week to mark their return home following a tough but successful deployment to Afghanistan.
In keeping with tradition dating back hundreds of years, the battalion paraded through the streets of Bridge of Allan on Saturday 18 June 2011, and Paisley yesterday, Monday 20 June.
Today they are parading through Dumbarton and will be in Alloa tomorrow.
The parades give the local populations the chance to show their appreciation for the hard work undertaken by the soldiers during their tour of duty and also allow the battalion to show its gratitude for the support that members of the public have given during the tour.
Traditionally, Argyllshire, Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire in the west of Scotland, and the City and District of Stirling and Clackmannanshire in the Central Belt, have been recruiting grounds for 5 SCOTS.
Lieutenant Colonel Adam Griffiths, Commanding Officer of 5 SCOTS, commented on the battalion’s return and the homecoming parades:
At the end of another hard tour in Helmand, all the officers and men as well as the families of 5 SCOTS can reflect on what has now passed. It is perhaps only in retrospect that it becomes apparent how much has been achieved during the tour by all elements of the battalion and by our Afghan partners.
For 5 SCOTS personnel on their second or third tour in Afghanistan, as well as for those on their first, it is clear that demonstrable progress has been made.
5 SCOTS have once again added a few more lines to the narrative of this campaign. We take the opportunity now to enjoy our successes, remember our fallen and get to know our families again.
I have been amazed and incredibly grateful for all the support that we received throughout the deployment.
The support from our traditional recruiting areas in Scotland has been quite humbling and I hope that we can pay back some of that respect by our marches through the communities in Scotland on our homecoming parades.
5 SCOTS are based at Howe Barracks in Canterbury. They are an air assault infantry battalion and are currently part of 16 Air Assault Brigade.
The battalion has recently returned from Operation HERRICK 13 in Afghanistan. This is the third time the battalion has been deployed to Afghanistan, previous tours being in 2006 and 2008.
During Op HERRICK 13, 5 SCOTS were employed primarily in the Police Development Advisory Training Team role, with the battalion split across the whole of the Task Force Helmand area of operations.
5 SCOTS provided three ground-holding rifle companies of around 100 men each for three separate Combined Forces and a training company for the Helmand Police Training Centre, as well as, at short notice, forming an increased police mentoring and advisory capability deployed across the length and breadth of the British area.
This task kept the battalion at the forefront of almost every aspect of the campaign throughout the deployment.