News story

Sergeant Beth Wilson on serving in Afghanistan

In recognition of International Women's Day on 8 March, we are profiling women making their mark in the Armed Forces.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Sergeant Beth Wilson enjoys a cup of chai (tea) at a checkpoint in Afghanistan [Picture: Crown copyright]

Sergeant Beth Wilson in Afghanistan

International Women’s Day celebrates the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.

In today’s Regular Armed Forces, women are making a growing impact, with the last decade seeing the number of women increasing from 8% in 2000 to 9.7% in April 2012.

For female officers, it’s an even better story, with the number of women increasing from 8.9% to 12.4% in 2012. While over the same period, women serving in the other ranks have gone up from 7.8 to 9.1%.

Sergeant Beth Wilson is deployed in Afghanistan on her first tour of duty with 4 Armoured Engineer Squadron, 21 Engineer Regiment.

Sergeant Wilson’s key role involves the reconnaissance of engineering tasks.

This involves checking out potential route builds, improving security bases for soldiers and the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and preparing bases for closedown and handover to the ANSF ahead of transition to Afghan-led security across Helmand province.

Based in Lashkar Gah for her tour, Sergeant Wilson said:

I was deployed on a brigade ‘main effort’ to conduct recces of several routes to enable the building of 2 new partnered checkpoint locations.

It’s fulfilling doing a recce role on operations as I feel like I’m testing all my learning from training and get to be part of an effort to make a real difference.

Sergeant Wilson’s achievements to date include being the first female high assurance searcher in Northern Ireland, the first female instructor at the Royal School of Military Engineering, the first female to complete the field sergeants’ course at the Royal School of Military Engineering and the first female to work as part of the Boat Troop on operations in Iraq.

Sergeant Wilson said:

I’ve had some incredible experiences since I joined the Army, such as 6 months serving as temporary staff at the British Army Training Unit Kenya, where I completed the Nairobi half-marathon and climbed Mount Kenya.

I am really enjoying the job out here; it is challenging and I have a lot of responsibility.

This story features on the International Women’s Day 2013 interactive map, where you can find lots more news about remarkable women from the UK and around the world.

Published 7 March 2013