This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
A British Army logistic regiment has driven the distance from Earth to the moon during a 6-month tour of Afghanistan.
Soldiers from 3 Logistic Support Regiment (3 LSR) are heading home after successfully completing more than 239,000 miles of support patrols – the average distance from here to the moon.
The unit deployed as a Close Support Logistic Regiment (CSLR) in March this year. Their role was twofold: to supply troops on the front line with essential supplies such as food, vehicle parts and ammunition, and to collect equipment as bases were handed over to the Afghans or closed down across Helmand this summer.
The CSLR provided this support through vehicular moves across Helmand, known in the military as combat logistic patrols. To reach their destinations, these patrols overcame narrow, steep-sided lanes, bumpy sand tracks, fragile bridges and deep water-filled wadis.
The unit contended with locals driving near their patrol and managed crowds who approached the lorries seeking food or valuables. And, because they were often driving through contested areas, they also had to guard against the threat of potential attack.
Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Timmis, Commanding Officer of 3 LSR, said:
Combat logistic patrols are hard, very hard. Personnel drive in fully-loaded vehicles wearing all their protective equipment for many hours in the searing heat and dust while crossing the desert or congested roads.
This Herrick deployment, led by 1st Mechanized Brigade, has been particularly significant because it is the first time the Afghan National Security Forces have taken the lead for security during the fighting season.
Their success has allowed UK forces to hand over further responsibilities to the Afghans, meaning UK focus has switched from war-fighting to transition.
A total of 7 forward operating bases closed during 3 LSR’s tenure and their role was critical to the successful and safe drawdown of these bases.
Lieutenant Colonel Timmis concluded:
As I look back now, the privilege of working with these fine people during our tour is incalculable. Young, experienced men and women have literally blossomed from hardship and at times fear. They have made a tangible contribution towards the transition of security to the Afghans.