RAFairman's Blog

An RAF Airman's Blog

Deployment Warning…

Ok. My news.

I am off to Afghanistan.

It’s ages away at the moment, in April next year, but I will be off to Afghan for a six month tour of duty ‘Out Of Area’ (OOA).

I have known for a week or so now, but I didn’t want to publically annouce it until I had that Ohhh so difficult chat with my big kids. Lily is another matter and won’t really have much of a clue about what is going on, but before I told the Blogosphere it was only fair I told them.

So….

Yeah. I will be going out to Afghan to location as yet unknown to do what looks like a pretty cool job as part of the Military Stabilisation Support Teams. This invloves going out in to the communities to try and rebuild the instrastructure that has been decimated there, by almost 30 years of conflict in one way or another.

This will be my first trip out to Afghan, and is my first trip away since my days as a Junior Technician back in 1998 or so! So to say I am out of the loop regarding deployment is an understatement. And it’ll certainly be my first trip away where the ‘enemy’ won’t be a couple of hundren miles away, and I’ll be safely behind our lines.

I have to be honest and say I am looking forward to it. I am genuinely excited by it, but also I have that feeling of what I’ll be leaving behind my girlfriend, Lily, the big kids…and leaving a nice easy life here. I mean, it’s easy here, lets be honest. Goodness knows exactly what I’ll be doing out there, but it’ll certainly be a lot harder than sitting behind a desk here at Benson muttering at PowerPoint not behaving itself…or worrying about if there are enough shower curtains in the Block for the juniors. And then there’s the fear. It seems like I will be actually out there ‘on the ground’. Out where the Afghan public are.

Out there, where…well…where at times it’s not nice. Where not nice people do not nice things. And how will I react to that? If I am involved in any sort of incident…How will I cope with that? This is a big test…not just of my military skills, but also my my skills as a human being. Will I run? How will I recact to it all? Will I be big and strong enough to cope with it all? Will I rise to the challenge of it, or will I fail? And that is the scary thing…

But in a perverse way I am looking forward to it. We all need to test and push ourselves…and this is probably the biggest test I will ever be faced with. I want to test myself. And I want to do it in an environment where I feel I can make a difference and this being part of the Stabilisation Teams is one where I know I CAN and WILL make a difference and hopefully make peoples lives better.

And I am looking forward to the build up to it…both the military side AND the personal side. Cos, certain things have to happen (on both fronts) before I can go out there fully ready in every way. I am sure it’ll be a bit of a roller-coaster ride, with some highs and some lows in there along the way.

But one thing is certain, I aim to keep blogging as much as I can regarding the whole process, from my personal preparations and how it’s effecting me, through to the training I have to do before I go…and I’ll also be trying to put across what effect this whole thing is going to have to my family. And if the powers that be will allow it I intend to blog and Tweet as much as I can whilst out there next year. But that of course we shall have to see…

Anyway, stick along, and enjoy the ride learning about how an Airman deploys OOA…but that won’t mean the usual stuff on this blog will be going by-the-by…the one thing that is true is that the Afghan thing doesn’t become bigger than it deserves and normality remains.

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12 thoughts on “Deployment Warning…

  1. Emma B on said:

    Best of luck Mr. Just give supply plenty of time to get you any bits you are missing and take a stack of blueys. We will all be with you in spirit 🙂

  2. Karen C on said:

    Yep, best of luck to you. It’ll be great to hear of your preparations, and how you and family are doing in the run up. We’ll all be with you in spirit! 🙂

  3. Alex on said:

    Thank you for posting this, and I hope you have a positive experience in Afganistan. In addition, this post has contextualised how I feel about joining, in particular in writing “We all need to test and push ourselves”. I shall bear that in mind as I enter training that is probably more strenuous than anything I will have experienced before. So thanks for that too.

    Now, August just needs to hurry up and happen.

  4. Albertina McNeill on said:

    Sounds like you’ll be up to many of the positive things that the UK’s armed forces do everyday in Afghanistan but we rarely get to hear about. I know you will change that and that your readers will spread the word. At the risk of sucking up I think you are just the sort of person we need out there. Good luck when it happens.

  5. Good luck out there, by the time you’re back I’ll be out of training, on unit and mostly probably preparing to go out there myself so reading about your experiances will definately be good.

  6. What can one say ,I am actully stuck for words .

    Hopefully in oct-nov 2011 ,You will be reading my comments and saying , I did it and you will be so proud of me and my family .

    Good luck and bestwishes for your tour and we will pray that you and everyone will return home safe

    xxx

  7. @12CrassSongs on said:

    I’d like to thank you for this blog entry, & wish you a safe, happy & productive tour.

    As per the previous comments, I’m looking forward to reading about your preparation & deployment.

    All the best.

  8. Big Bro on said:

    I told you this when I found out you were off to ‘foreign climes’ and I’ll say it again (AND I’ll probably say it again before you go and also whilst you are there!!) remember the song ‘Billy Don’t Be A Hero’ – I know your name isn’t Billy but the sentiment is the same!!

    I have always wondered just how I would react if I was in the sort of situation that you could so very easily find yourself in – especially with the role you seem to be going to be carrying out – but as you have said many times in previous posts I was part of the Cold War RAF – so very different from today and I always seemed to be on the ‘wrong’ aircraft type for the particular conflict at the time – there was NO CHANCE of the Jaguar going to be involved with the Falklands War, similarly the Hawk and Bosnia – although I did get to Split just after they stopped shooting each other!

    Now comes the time for me to be really proud of my ‘Little Bro’.

  9. u2marie on said:

    Wow. I hope u enjoy ur time there and help loads of ppl. It does sound scary and un nerving to me. U have trained for this, but nothing can prepare u for what u may see there. Your tweets will be missed for sure if they don’t allow tweets!! Your kids will know that their dads doing good stuff and they’ll be proud for sure. :0)

  10. Thanks for sharing that with us, your big brother has summed things up well in his comment. You as part of your post wrote “Will I rise to the challenge of it, or will I fail?” I for one feel certain, that whatever the outcome, you of all people, will not fail.

  11. Big Sister on said:

    Little Brother we are all behind you.I’m glad we talked but one thing i didn’t say and don’t say often enough is We love you xxx

    • Well, hopefully, along with all the other means of communication that we now have between the UK and Afghan, hopefully this will be added to the list! 😉

      Love you lot too. x

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