Deployed dads across Afghanistan's Helmand province received a welcome morale-boost yesterday when they opened Father's Day cards from their sons and daughters back home.
The cards were delivered to the operational theatre during what is traditionally one of the busiest postal delivery times of the year, thanks to the British Forces Post Office.
Although work continues seven-days-a-week for deployed personnel, Father’s Day allowed many of them to take a break from their duties.
Amongst those opening cards yesterday in Helmand was Corporal Wayne Tudor, from Tidworth-based 26 Engineer Regiment, who is currently deployed at Camp Bastion - the main UK base in Helmand.
Cpl Tudor was delighted to receive homemade cards from his daughter, Emily, aged 11, and son, Harry, 8. He said:
It is homemade cards like these that keep morale so high. I would like to say a big ‘thanks’ to my two wonderful kids and wife for my cards and I miss you all very much.
Lance Corporal Thomas Cook, from the King’s Royal Hussars, is usually based in Tidworth, but is currently deployed in the provincial capital of Helmand, Lashkar Gah.
Southampton-born LCpl Cook received Father’s Day cards from his wife, Lucy, and two children, Lilly, aged 7, and Liam, 3.
Cheers for the cards! It’s not long now till I’m back as my rest and recuperation is next week. We can celebrate then and I’m looking forward to a delayed Father’s Day treat, like being brought breakfast in bed!
Lance Corporal Andrew Barnett, also from the King’s Royal Hussars, has two young boys at home, Rian, aged 2, and Jack, 15 months. LCpl Barnett, from Cheltenham, sent the following message to his children:
Keep being good boys for mummy. Love you all loads and see you soon. Shame I can’t be celebrating Father’s Day with you but don’t worry as we will have a big celebration when I’m back.
Servicemen and women can spend many months away from their family and friends and receiving letters from loved ones is often an immense morale-booster.
Family and friends in the UK can make use of the British Forces Post Office and send packets up to 2kg in weight to their loved ones deployed in Afghanistan free of charge. This is part of the Enduring Free Mail Service that enables family and friends to keep in touch. See Related Links for further information.
Captain Scott Talman, Officer Commanding HERRICK 16 Postal and Courier Troop, said:
E-mails and phone calls are great but there’s nothing like the feel and the touch of a letter from home. The post brings morale and makes the troops feel loved. It’s always rewarding to watch the guys’ faces light up when the mail comes off the back of the helicopter - especially on Father’s Day.
The primary role of British forces deployed to Helmand is to train and mentor their Afghan counterparts. Over the next two years, the Afghans will increasingly take over security responsibilities in the country, whilst at the same time keeping up pressure on the Taliban insurgency.