News story

Navy medics on patrol in Helmand

75 members of the Royal Navy are currently providing nearly 80 per cent of the front line medical cover in Helmand province in support of 3 Commando Brigade's six-month deployment on Operation HERRICK 14.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
Royal Navy Leading Medical Assistant Iola White

Royal Navy Leading Medical Assistant Iola White (foreground) provides healthcare advice to local Afghans [Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]

Providing lifesaving medical support to over 450 patrols per week, the team of medics can expect to be out on the ground with their infantry colleagues for anything between one and twelve hours at a time.

The team of Navy medics, which have an average age of 25, carry over 80lbs (36kg) of equipment on patrols, including all of their essential medical supplies, body armour, rifle and ammunition.

As well as looking after the British marines and soldiers, the Navy medics also mentor the Afghan warriors who serve alongside the ISAF troops and pass on valuable healthcare advice to the local population.

Medical Assistant Lilly O’Gorman, who has been in the Navy for three years, said:

This job has been so rewarding. It is a far cry from the one I was doing in Plymouth six months ago, but the Navy has offered up so many interesting challenges in my short career that nothing will surprise me ever again!

As one of only 25 female Navy medics based in forward operating bases, Medical Assistant Krystle Sharrat said:

I have made some amazing friends since being out here, and, when I had to return home with an injury, the boys in my base sent me a letter saying how much they missed me.

Initially it was daunting to be the only female in such a remote and dangerous location, but I’m so pleased that I have had the opportunity to serve with these brave lads.

After four months living and working in such austere conditions, the group of Navy medics is due to return to the UK in October 2011, and, following a short period of leave, will resume their normal roles of looking after the sailors on board the Royal Navy’s warships and at shore establishments.

Published 24 August 2011