Launceston Local Diffuses Bombs in Helmand Province
A village in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, is on the road to recovery thanks in part to the efforts of a Launceston man, Sergeant James ‘Donners’ Donoghue aged 25.
After a gruelling Operation in the Nad-e Ali area of Helmand Province, Sgt Donoghue had disposed of over 10 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) laid by insurgents and has helped open up a village for local people to return to once again.
The village of Loy Manday Kalay had been chocked by IEDs for over four years, driving locals away and rendering it a ghost town. There had been no market held for over four years.
Sgt Donoghue is attached to 42 Commando Royal Marines as one of their Counter Improvised Explosive Device Bomb Disposal experts. His job is to diffuse and exploit any IED’s found in the village. Following his team’s work the local Bazaar is once again open and the village able to thrive once more.
A qualified High Threat Operator, Sgt Donoghue is able to not only destroy IEDs but also render them safe for further analysis. It makes him one of the most highly qualified Bomb Disposal Experts in Afghanistan and a sought after specialist.
It is a dangerous job, his parent unit 11 EOD Regt RLC is one of the most highly decorated in the British Army.
High Threat Operators work a part of the Counter Improvised Explosive Device Task Force (C-IED TF) in Afghanistan.
Supported by High Assurance Search Teams, who are able to identify and isolate devices, Explosive Search Dogs and a wealth of specialist equipment, Sgt Donoghue is one of a 350 person strong unit that works to rid Afghanistan of IED’s.
A veteran of a pervious tour of Afghanistan in 2007, Sgt Donoghue believes that things are changing:
“There’s now less opportunity for the insurgents to place IEDs due to the great job the infantry and partnered ANSF patrols are doing”
Sgt Donoghue’s job is not only to remove IEDs. He plays a critical part in planning operations. A High Threat Operator, alongside a Search Advisor, is able to assist units when planning operations by bringing their specialist threat assessment and knowledge of local IED trends to bear.
The excitement of Sgt Donoghue’s current job is a far cry from the normality of home and Tesco’s in Launceston. Coming towards the end of his time in Afghanistan, Sgt Donoghue is looking forward to getting home to his mother Claire Pike and sisters Louise Pike and Kirsty Higgins (and his motorbikes).
It is not the end of the road for Sgt Donoghue. After his tour in Afghanistan and soon after his return to the UK, he will move onto UK Operations in support of the 2012 Olympics.