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Royal Navy on active service in Afghanistan

We've seen rare reports of Naval Strike Wing, RN Medics, RN Clearance Divers and RN Loggies in Afghanistan but, in general, the contribution of non-RM members of the Naval Service has been invisible. The universal wearing of dessies doesn't help either, leaving the Great British Public and the mass media with the impression that only the Pongoes and Crabs are involved. I've started this thread in an attempt to redress the balance somewhat. Just to reinforce my point:

Petty Officer Emily Staines said:
..."Lots of people don't realise that there are a lot of Royal Naval personnel working in Afghanistan. I've talked to the trainees about what I've done and some of them have said that they can't wait to finish their training and get out there to serve their Country. My experience is different to the other instructors. I haven't yet been to sea, but I think the fact that I have been to Iraq and Afghanistan gives me credibility with the trainees. It shows that as Naval Nurses we are military people doing a military job."...

And this about another Naval nurse:

Nursing Times said:
A medical assistant who has been training nurses in Afghanistan has been awarded a certificate of recognition by the Royal Navy. Natalie Chinniah, 26, of Buxton, Derbyshire, volunteered to teach a group of Afghan nurses trauma management at a hospital in Helmand Province. All 12 nurses graduated from the two-month course in March. The project will help to enable the hospital to operate its own ambulance service. Ms Chinniah has served as a medical assistant to the Joint Forces Medical Group since September 2008. She is regularly attached to a foot or vehicle patrol in Helmand Province. The current tour is her second in Afghanistan since she joined the Royal Navy in 2004. She said: "The tour has been a real experience. I've been shot at and have been on the receiving end of rocket attacks"...

Here's an article published on the RN website yesterday:

RN website 15 Mar 2010 said:
With no coast, Afghanistan may not be the most typical posting for a Royal Navy Aircraft Handler but it goes to show how much the three services cooperate with each other on their deployments. So it is that Petty Officer Dennis 'Harry' Harrison finds himself working in the Military Support and Stabilisation Team (MSST) in Helmand Province. He is responsible for radio broadcasting messages to the locals, for example the dangers of explosives and why children should not play with them. He is also out on patrol regularly and when any operations come up he straps a very heavy portable unit to his back and broadcasts messages to explain what we are doing and warning the locals of possible danger...

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War Hero
Re: RN on active service in Afghanistan

There was also a shed load out there 2008-2009,stokers, chefs, SAs,reggies MAs WE Tiffs and thats just the ones I heard of.


War Hero
Re: RN on active service in Afghanistan

When I talk to people about the Navy, very often they don't realise our boys and lasses are out there.


War Hero
Book Reviewer
Re: RN on active service in Afghanistan

tommo said:
When I talk to people about the Navy, very often they don't realise our boys and lasses are out there.

Well stop talking to these people - they're clearly morons... :shock: :wink:
Re: RN on active service in Afghanistan

Navy Diver to Counter IED Threat in Afghanistan
RN website 7 Oct 2009 said:
A Royal Navy Petty Officer (Diver) has swapped the icy waters of Scotland for the desert and mountains of Afghanistan, making him the first Royal Navy explosive ordnance disposal operator to conduct bomb disposal in the region. Petty Officer (Diver) Jay Gardner is an expert in bomb disposal both at sea and on land and will be deploying with a team of three divers from the Fleet Diving Squadron in Portsmouth to work alongside colleagues from the Army's Royal Engineers and Royal Logistic Corps. A member of the Northern Diving Group since November 2008 when he joined from minehunter HMS Walney, Petty Officer Gardner has been conducting intensive pre-deployment training for the last six months...

And more recently:

Royal Navy Bomb Disposal Team Deploy To Afghanistan
RN website 4 Mar 2010 said:
Four more Portsmouth-based Royal Navy bomb disposal experts are heading to Afghanistan to play a vital part in the counter explosives effort. The quartet, from the Fleet Diving Squadron based at Horsea Island, will leave on Monday (8 March) and spend six months in Helmand Province.

Predominantly based at Camp Bastion, they will work in support of the British Army’s 21 Field Squadron Royal Engineers and also deploy to forward operating bases in Sangin, Banji and Kajaki. There they will carry out offensive search and clearance of insurgent-laid improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and conventional munitions and also accompany regular foot patrols. They will also train the Afghan National Army (ANA) in explosive ordnance recognition, search and disposal skills...
Re: RN on active service in Afghanistan

Royal Navy Specialists Train for Operations in Afghanistan
RN website 4 Jan 2010 said:
Highlighting the tri-Service effort in Afghanistan, as well as the versatility of today's Royal Navy, a group of 80 sailors have recently swapped the high seas for dry land to train for a six-month deployment to Afghanistan. Tucked away in the heart of HMS Nelson, Portsmouth Naval Base, a group of 80 sailors listen intently as their lecturer points out the differences in the various explosive devices displayed before them. The lumps of tangled metal may look conspicuous in the classroom setting, but, when the group is deployed to Afghanistan in a few weeks' time, they will be carefully hidden away by insurgents in a deadly game of hide and seek. And in a bid to gear them up for their impending six-month deployment to the operational theatre, this group of logistics, administrative, intelligence and operations personnel are being put through their paces at the Royal Navy Pre-deployment Training and Mounting Centre in Portsmouth...
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Re: RN on active service in Afghanistan

Royal Navy Sea Kings - flying over Afghanistan for two years
MOD website 9 Dec 09 said:
It's a long way from their natural stomping grounds over the world's oceans but after two years of successful service in Afghanistan Royal Navy Sea Kings are showing they are more than at home in the hot and dusty conditions of Helmand province. For two years the green Sea King Mk4s of the Commando Helicopter Force (CHF) have been heavily involved in flying operations in Afghanistan as part of the Joint Helicopter Force. Mainly based at Kandahar Airfield, with elements also based at Camp Bastion, they regularly fly missions over the volatile Helmand region, 80 miles (129km) to the west of Kandahar...
Re: RN on active service in Afghanistan

Lest we forget...

First Royal Navy female awarded Military Cross for Afghanistan bravery

Daily Telegraph 11 Sep 2009 said:
A female medic who saved the life of soldier while under enemy fire has become the first woman in the Royal Navy to be awarded the Military Cross. Able Seaman Kate Nesbitt was among more than 100 service personnel who were recognised for acts of heroism during 3 Commando Brigade's deployment earlier this year. The rating was recognised for outstanding gallantry after she went to the assistance of a soldier from 1st Bn The Rifles who had been shot in the neck during a gun battle with the Taliban. AB Nesbitt, 21, dressed the wound and kept the soldier from losing blood while Taliban bullets and rockets flew overhead during the battle in Marjah district in Helmand, close to the provincial capital Lashkar Gah in March...
Re: RN on active service in Afghanistan

Logistics HQ deploys to Afghanistan
MOD website 30 Jun 2009 said:
Tri-Service Headquarters staff of the Joint Force Support deployed to Afghanistan recently where they will be ensuring that troops on the front line have all the support they need to do their job. The Headquarters, which is formed around HQ 8 Force Engineer Brigade, normally based at Headquarters Land Forces in Wilton, will be responsible for providing approximately 9,000 British soldiers, sailors, airmen, and embedded troops from coalition partners, with everything from buttons, bullets and food to medical care and welfare support...

...Captain Andy Kyte, from the Royal Navy Logistics Branch, is the Deputy Commander of the Headquarters. He said: "It's a very different environment to the one a Naval Officer normally goes into, but working with the Army and RAF as a Naval Logistics Officer is nothing new. Although it is predominantly a Land campaign, in theatre the whole delivery of logistics is joint - we have experts from all three Services with deep specialist knowledge."
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War Hero
Re: RN on active service in Afghanistan

sgtpepperband said:
tommo said:
When I talk to people about the Navy, very often they don't realise our boys and lasses are out there.

Well stop talking to these people - they're clearly morons... :shock: :wink:

I know, but some moron's do need reducating. :lol:

BZ to all our lads and lasses out there not just in Afgan but across the globe at this current time
Re: RN on active service in Afghanistan

Navy Lynx Squadron Recognised For Efficiency in Afghanistan
RN website 12 Oct 2009 said:
Royal Navy and Royal Marine Lynx helicopter crews from 847 Naval Air Squadron were recently honoured for maintaining the highest level of operational efficiency in Afghanistan. During a parade at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton, friends and family of personnel from 847 Naval Air Squadron watched as they received their standard Afghanistan operational medals. The personnel were also presented with the prestigious Australia Shield which is given to the naval air squadron that maintains the highest level of operational efficiency. Over nine months of this year the squadron deployed and sustained a half-squadron detachment, including a four-week period when virtually the entire unit was deployed in one or other overseas location. The squadron's ambitious but carefully managed programme has enabled it to be the only Lynx unit to meet its UK-based Annual Flying Task while at the same time delivering over 250 hours per month in support of operations in Afghanistan...
Re: RN on active service in Afghanistan

Royal Navy's Mobile Air Support Unit Honoured
RN website 15 Jan 2010 said:
The Royal Navy's Mobile Air Support Unit (MASU) Repair Section was recently awarded a Royal Aeronautical Society medal for its work restoring vital operational capability in support of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The team, based at Fleetlands, Gosport, repair aircraft around the world which have been damaged through accident or enemy action and work around the clock, in 50-degree-Celsius heat through to sub-zero temperatures. The team have faced a wide variety of repair tasks, notably in Afghanistan and Iraq, ranging from small arms fire skin damage and airframe fatigue cracking to significant structural damage caused by rocket attacks, returning critical support helicopters to service in support of troops and saving the cost of repatriating the helicopters to the UK...
Re: RN on active service in Afghanistan

Merlin Force Flies into Action
RN website 1 Nov 2009 said:
Ahead of its arrival in Afghanistan at the end of this year, the men and women of the Merlin Force have been training for their deployment in the Californian desert, on Exercise MERLIN VORTEX. We go behind the scenes at their temporary home, the Naval Air Facility in El Centro, to find out what it takes to deploy the Royal Air Force’s newest support helicopter. Royal Navy Lieutenant Commander Neil Parrock is the Detachment Commander of the Exercise, which has seen the Force personnel of all three Services working together to achieve their training objectives. Neil, 37, is Officer Commanding the Training Development and Standardisation Flight for the Merlin Force, back home at RAF Benson, but has been in Southern California since July...
Re: RN on active service in Afghanistan

Navy Surgeon Saves Lives and Limbs in Afghanistan
RN website 18 Nov 2009 said:
Currently on his fourth deployment to Afghanistan, Royal Navy Surgeon Commander Graham Hill believes that this is his hardest tour so far. Cdr Hill, who is normally based at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth, is currently saving lives and limbs in his post at the operating table of Camp Bastion's field hospital in Helmand province. He deployed to Afghanistan in October 2009 for an eight-week tour as the UK Joint Forces Medical Group's Field Hospital Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon...


War Hero
Re: RN on active service in Afghanistan

Good thread, Naval Gazer.

I was told by someone recently that there was one particular point when the RN was supplying 60% of the personnel out in Afghan.
Re: RN on active service in Afghanistan

soleil said:
Good thread, Naval Gazer.

I was told by someone recently that there was one particular point when the RN was supplying 60% of the personnel out in Afghan.

Perhaps they were thinking of Admiral Band's speeches as 1SL in 2007:

Navy Club's Trafalgar Night Dinner Speech (in Lincoln's Inn) on 12 Oct 07

Adm Band said:
"...Somewhat understandably, our military focus remains rooted around operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and the Navy's support to them in conjunction with our sister services. In Afghanistan, last winter, the Naval Service supplied over 50% of the total UK forces deployed in southern Afghanistan. This included not only the Royal Marines of 3 Cdo Bde, but 800 Naval Air Squadron and significant numbers of logistic support, medical and HQ staff as well as reserves contributing to operations..."

Two years later, Admiral Stanhope, the current 1SL, presented these facts in his speech to RUSI at Chatham House:

First Sea Lord Talks Beyond Afghanistan on 27 Nov 2009
Adm Stanhope said:
"...We in Defence are stretched, certainly, but I think we are also delivering across all of our business. The Navy's immediate, unquestionable focus remains its long-standing commitment to supporting the Joint Campaign in Afghanistan. From last October to April this year, around 3,000 members of the Naval Service provided over 30 per cent of the UK forces deployed to Helmand, including not only the Royal Marines of 3 Commando Brigade and the Harrier jets of the Naval Strike Wing, but also Naval Air Squadron helicopters and significant numbers of logistic, engineering, medical and HQ staff... "

Bearing in mind that the Naval Service is by far the smallest of the Armed Forces (Naval Service: 35,000 including Royal Marines; Army: 99,000; and RAF: 39,000 on 1 Apr 2009 according to DASA statistics) these are extremely creditable achievements. Unlike the Army, for which Afghanistan is its core business, the RN still has its own core business of operating a fleet of ships, submarines and aircraft worldwide.
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Re: RN on active service in Afghanistan

Royal Navy Doctor Recognised For Role in Afghanistan
RN website 16 Oct 2009 said:
A Royal Navy doctor from Plymouth has been recognised for stepping up to the challenge of leading the medical team providing care to personnel serving in Afghanistan. Surgeon Lieutenant Commander (Surg Lt Cdr) Andrew Maples, aged 32, was a newly qualified General Practitioner when he deployed to Afghanistan with 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines from January to April this year. Originally posted as one of a team of six providing day to day medical care to around 5,000 Service personnel based at Camp Bastion, very soon after arriving in Afghanistan Surg Lt Cdr Maples was asked to stand in for the Senior Medical Officer (SMO). As part of this role he was expected to advise on policy, prepare briefs and supervise the junior doctors, as well as run a busy practice. So successful was he in fulfilling this position that he was asked to reprise the role on a number of occasions to allow the SMO to visit the forward operating bases in the region.

Navy medic helps soldiers in Afghanistan
Nottingham Evening Post 7 Aug 2009 said:
A NOTTS Royal Navy medic who helped injured British soldiers serving in Afghanistan has been given her service medal. Medical Assistant Ria Holohan, 23, from Mansfield, spent six months in Helmand Province during Operation Herrick 9. She spent time out on patrol with soldiers seeing to any casualties, and worked as a 'mini medic' with the helicopter teams flying into the field and collecting casualties...

Helmand surgeon tells of her fight to save lives
Daily Telegraph 25 Jul 2009 said:
There is a grim monotony to Surgeon Commander Sarah Stapley's working day. Every morning - usually just after 7am - the pager strapped to her waist bleeps into life, warning the trauma team at the British Army's field hospital in Helmand that a severely injured patient is inbound on a Chinook helicopter. The wounded are often young soldiers, usually the victims of an improvised explosive device (IED), with one or more of their limbs missing. In recent weeks the casualty flow has been unrelenting, as British and Nato troops involved in Operation Panchai Palang - meaning Panther's Claw - battle with the Taliban in central Helmand. Since the start of this month, 21 soldiers have been killed and dozens more have sustained life-changing injuries...

The Duchess presents campaign medals to Royal Navy medics for service in Afghanistan
Prince of Wales website 9 Jul 2009 said:
The Duchess of Cornwall today presented campaign medals to Royal Navy medics for their service in Afghanistan. The Duchess was guest of honour at the event to celebrate the contribution of the Royal Naval Medical Services personnel who deployed to Helmand Province between October and April this year. The Royal Navy led the UK's joint force medical group in southern Afghanistan during this period and provided 340 of the 547 medics on the tour. This was the largest deployment of Royal Navy medics since the Falklands War in 1982. Another 68 Royal Naval Medical Services personnel were sent to Iraq in 2008-09, primarily serving in the hospital on the main coalition military base next to Basra International Airport...

ISAF surgeon saving Afghan lives
NATO ISAF website 28 Mar 2009 said:
KABUL, Afghanistan - A British Royal Navy Surgeon, Commander Steve Bree, is currently serving with other International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) medics in the Camp Bastion Role 2 Medical Facility. As the Clinical Director, he oversees the staff providing medical care to ISAF and Afghan National Security Force (ANSF) troops, as well as local civilians. Having deployed in February, Commander Bree's two-month tour will soon end with his return to the UK, where he works at a military hospital. In providing medical care at the Camp Bastion facility, he dealt with patients experiencing a range of illnesses and injuries and also helped deliver babies. Despite the Role 2 facility being an ISAF hospital, the vast majority of people receiving emergency treatment have been Afghans, including members of the Afghan National Security Forces and civilians...
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Re: RN on active service in Afghanistan

Comm. said:

SK ASaC7 (856,857NASs)

Thanks Comm. Of course, these Sea Kings are completely different to the RN 'Jungly' versions that have been flying around Afghanistan for several years.

Royal Navy Sea Kings 'bag' intelligence over Helmand
MOD website 22 Sep 2009 said:
The Royal Navy's unique airborne surveillance and control helicopters, known as 'Baggers', have recently deployed to Helmand for the first time, where they are detecting, following and intercepting insurgent activity. The Mk7 helicopters are known as Baggers thanks to the large grey 'bag' which contains the aircraft's state-of-the-art radar. Primarily used in the maritime surveillance role, the helicopter's powerful onboard sensors also enable it to provide valuable battlefield reconnaissance and targeting information at particular times in land operations, and in May this year Sea King Mk7s from 854 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) were deployed to Afghanistan...
Re: RN on active service in Afghanistan

NMCB 7 Redeploys to, Focuses on Afghanistan Operations
Global Security website 2.12.09 said:
..."The first real evidence of the U.S.'s surge into Southern Afghanistan became apparent when the Seabees arrived," said British Royal Navy Lt. Cmdr. John Bawer, deputy chief of staff, Bastion for Supply, Logistics and Real Life Support. "The U.S. Marines arrived first but the Seabees are what really captured our attention. We describe them as the 'enablers to the enablers.' In the [United Kingdom], we have nothing like them. The Seabees are a self contained unit who not just arrived, but asked not 'what the base could do for us' but rather 'what can we do for you?' Their efforts greatly impressed us as they were eager to help with an amazing attitude to back it."...
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