Dave and Phil
“When the interpreter explained to the grandfather that I was a Christian religious leader, he smiled, and stood, and held my hand tightly as we shared a moment – inconvenient to those who would divide and hate and judge, but which celebrated the many, many things we held in common in that moment.”
Padre Robin Richardson, in Afghanistan with 3 PARA, writes about meeting Dave and Phil as they recall a close contact with insurgents and in turn reflects on the shared benefits of talking about experiences.
“At one of our Patrol Bases last week many of the lads were involved in an operation in an area in which we are still facing a high level of resistance. They had been out on the ground for 9 hours when they were contacted by heavy machine gun fire from a tree line just a couple of hundred metres away. 40 kilograms of kit per man and tired after hours on the ground – yet their reactions were as sharp as they always are. They returned fire, got themselves into cover and fought the battle. It was afterwards when everyone was back at the Patrol Base and brews had been drunk that I a sat and chatted with Dave – or Shanky as he is known – and Phil.
Dave joined the Army 17 years ago and is full to the brim with banter and self-confidence. But a couple of months back I saw, in a time of rare transparency, the man that has made Dave such a fine medic and such great company. When an old man brought his grandson into camp, scared of the insurgent repercussions of his doing so, Dave poured such care, attention and compassion on the little lad and the old man that I found it hard to speak. The lad had lost a leg in an insurgent IED explosion a year back and he had an infection in the stump. There was silence in the Medical Centre as the doctor and Dave did what they could for the brave little fellow, even finding him a colouring book. There was just the slightest squeak and a determined grimace when the infected area hurt as they tried to pinpoint the problem. And all the time, the sad, but grateful eyes of the old man looked over his charge as he waited. When the treatment was over I was invited in to meet the couple.”
Read the rest of Padre Richardson’s moving and fascinating blog here
Other blogs posted by Padre Richardson can be found here