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Tongan Defence Service complete first tour of duty in Afghanistan

June 17, 2011

A historic moment in the history of the Tongan Defence Service (TDS) was celebrated this Saturday, the 11th of June, as the first ever ISAF Tongan National Contingent (TNC) finished its tour of duty, operating as part of 6 Force Protection (FP) Wing at Camp Bastion Afghanistan.

The first Tongan National Contingent (TNC) hand over to the incoming TNC during a ceremony at Camp Bastion. Photos: Flt Lt Nick Downs. Crown Copyright/MOD 2011

Prior to their 6-month deployment, the contingent of 55 Tongans completed a 7-week training course with the Royal Air Force Regiment at RAF Honington in Suffolk. During this time, the group became proficient at all elements of force protection including vehicle searching, guarding, patrolling, battlefield first-aid and infantry battle skills.

The Tongan Sipitau. Click on this image, or on the image below, to view the TNC in action. Photo: Flt Lt Nick Downs. Crown Copyright/MOD 2011

The group arrived in theatre in December 2010 and quickly established themselves within the FP framework supporting the RAF Police at Camp Bastion, maintaining security at the Main Entry Point, on the flightline and around the base in a number of the watch towers. Alongside this, the TNC provided an 8-man Quick Reaction Force on a permanent 15-minute readiness state, with the capability to react to any incidents as they occurred.

The first Tongan National Contingent (TNC) hand over to the incoming TNC during a ceremony at Camp Bastion. Photos: Flt Lt Nick Downs. Crown Copyright/MOD 2011

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