Wednesday, October 22, 2008

'We want to prove ourselves in the field'

By Paul Bradley

A NEW type of heroism is taking a stranglehold of Midlands troops based in Southern Iraq.

More than five years ago the First Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was part of the first battlegroup to successfully enter and take control of Basra City.

Frequent firefights and tactical manoeuvres was the order of the day back then, but now the battle landscape has dramatically changed – and the role of our troops has transformed significantly.

Today the First Fusiliers, who are heavily recruited from Birmingham and Warwickshire, are providing much needed security for the 4,000 British troops based in the Contingency Operating Base at Basra International Airport.

And the Battalion’s patrols of the provinces’s marshland villages has all but stopped the insurgent rocket attacks that was paralysing the army base as recently as May.

Add to this the mentoring role the Fusiliers play on the extremely sensitive Iran border at Shalamcheh and it soon becomes clear exactly how much of an effect our soldiers are continuing to have in the war torn country.

Their resilience and determination in the face of some of the toughest conditions is impressive on it’s own but take a step back and look at the bigger picture and the effect becomes even more dramatic.

Workers from the Basra Reconstruction Committee are now able to enter the city without the support of the Fusiliers and their trade mark Warrior fighting vehicles.

This was unthinkable before the Fusiliers arrived.

Read the full story on the Birmingham Mail website here

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