Well, not sure really where to start with this Blog post, as some people know I have been out on a ‘Mission’ !
My Mission began over a year ago when my Wedding work was noticed and I was asked if I could translate it to the Military, umm – I guess so and so the ‘Mission’ starts. I was to spend some time with 2 Para. Dates and permissions were sorted and I was off…….
I have to say a massive thanks first of all to LowePro for helping me out with kit for my mission in the form of a Pro-Trekker 400AW, a truly cavernous camera bag with built in Hydration Pack. I managed to get all my kit in the bag along with 3 litres of fluid in a CamelBak Bladder from Wheelbase in Staveley. In reality this was a mistake and the old adage ’Just because you can, does not mean you should ‘ springs to mind – my bag was heavy, really heavy, probably in the region of 20-25kgs.
I had my Rendezvous coordinates and I struck my first problem, they did not appear on Google Maps or TomTom – I winged it and found the RV. A couple of phone calls later and a man with a Maroon Beret was waving at me. Capt. MN was to be my host and he seemed like a top bloke, showed me to my digs for the 3 days I would be with them – basic but functional and I have to say very comfortable when you have been out with the Paras for the day !
Everyone and I mean everyone had an outstretched hand for me, obviously they were expecting me but every single person I met was a true Gent and couldn’t have been more helpful. I was shown where the food was served, it was provided by the RAF for the time I was out with the Paras and was very, very good. A well cooked, nutritious menu and plenty of it, in fact far too much of it for me on the first day – I was glad of the extra portions as the days went on though !
Next job was to get my PPE (Personal Protection Equipment ) the main bit of this kit was the Osprey vest a new bit of kit and my word it was a shock to the system – it weighs 40lbs or about 18kgs, I have to say that it was very comfortable though in the hills with the wind blowing, in the heat of War I can’t imagine it being so !
All kitted out I was off to see the guys ‘Zero’ their weapons, this means that they are ‘getting their eye in’ making sure their weapons are calibrated and the sights are accurate.
In all honesty the next couple of days are classified but suffice to say that a low pass by a Typhoon giving a ‘Show of Force’ is loud, Apache Longbows are really quite scary when they are sat hovering, way, way above and firing their guns. BatSims really wake you up. Paras are double hard muthas – every person I met was great, they were as interested in what I was doing as much as I was interested in what they were doing. Also great to meet some of the guys from Amputees in Action, oh and I love RAF Pumas !
Biggest thanks of all go to Jaimo for all the miles he did in the Landy ferrying me around, have a great Summer buddy, have a good holiday lads, maybe see you again soon !
Images below do not really represent the images taken during my time with 2 Para, the images shown were taken specifically for this Blog. Any 2 Para Bravo Coy reading, you should be getting an email with details soon from HQ.