Kelly and Kevin 2 – Settling in
It’s now been a good couple of weeks since we last blogged and a fair bit has happened so let me bring you up to speed…
Firstly on the 5th of April Kevin and I went for our licence, this involves a few test scenarios given by a RESA (Royal Engineer Search Advisor) and my own Sgt Maj which we have to pass as a team before we are allowed “out on the ground”. At this point Kevin had been working like a dream for a good few days now so I was sure that he was due a “Kevin” day at any time!! However we passed the morning search with flying colours and broke for lunch at midday before our afternoon scenario. At 1300 Kevin and I were first up for the final scenario, as i walked towards the RESA, Sgt Maj and my own Sgt I noticed that Kevin was acting like “Kevin” and pulling towards them in an eager fashion. As I reached them the RESA came over to brief me on the following search, while being briefed I realised Kevin was no longer pulling, instead he was indicating on the RESA’s bag telling me that he had a bomb in it!! I tried to ignore him and set up for the task in hand (in the opposite direction to the RESA’s bag) but despite my best efforts I couldn’t unfocus Kevin from the bag to which end I asked the RESA if I could let Kevin have a good sniff of his bag to satisfy his curiosity otherwise he would be unfocused on the task. The RESA had no problems with this at all so i turned Kevin around and allowed him to investigate the bag… I should have known better!! Kevin sunk his teeth into the his bag and started to shake it from side to side as if it was his chew toy until I managed to wrestle it from him! Luckily the RESA saw the funny side of it, as do most when it comes to Kevin and luckily Kevin went onto do a flawless search resulting in us passing our licencing and we are now ready to crack on with our tour!
Later that week Nick (the editor of this site) came to the dog section in Bastion to meet Kevin and take some photos of him before we deploy on the ground. Surprisingly Kevin was on his best behaviour which hopefully meant Nick got some good shots and I’m sure they will end up on here along with the blog.
On the 12th of April Kevin and I went to Bastion flight line to get a helicopter out to our new location for the next couple of months. Pte Pryce was also on the same helicopter with his MWD (military working dog) “titch” as he was going to be based just 1km from me in another FOB. Kevin doesn’t mind helicopters, in fact I’d say he quite likes them, it’s the waiting around he doesn’t like and this brings out his mischievous side!! As the helicopter landed myself and Kevin along with about 12 other soldiers got our “kit” together to get on, however just at this point in time Kevin decided he wanted to play tug of war with my Bergan whilst I tried to get it on my back. This isn’t the easiest of games since I was wearing body amour weighing in at about 15kg, my rifle and the Burgan alone weighing about 40kg!! Unable to fight him off due to all the weight and bulk I walked (struggled) onto the helicopter with Kevin trying to pull us both back off! A short while later we landed in our FOB and as we got off, Cpl King and his MWD Casper got on to return to Bastion. We were met by Pte Gell and his MWD Scooby who then shown me and Kevin our bed space and gave us a quick tour of the FOB.
There are currently 2 other females in this FOB so the 3 of us and Kevin are living in a small mud hut as this FOB used to be an old Afghan Compound. We have been here a few days now and have fully settled in and Kevin has introduced himself in a number of ways including diving on the female medic (Clare) while she was in bed causing her, Kevin and the mosquito pod to come crashing to the floor, ripping up her towel then weeing on her bed space, again luckily she saw the funny side to it all (except maybe the weeing incident!)
The FOB is a good little set up but doing training with Kevin is quite hard due to the lack of space but I’ve managed to set up a few good areas. There is no hot water which means showering is quite emotional so i try and do it in the heat of the day so it is a little more bearable, Kevin isn’t too impressed with the cold hose I keep using on him either! The toilets are non-existent as it’s all done in bags which wouldn’t be too bad if I was male as they also have man made urinals, but trying to open the bags and set them up while bursting for a wee can be again quite emotional to say the least! However I suppose I can cope with the cold showers and going to the toilet in a bag cause at least I can do it all in a tailored floppy hat with no sun cream on 🙂
We have not been on task yet so I’ve been stagging on the sangers for a fair few hours already, in fact as i write this its 0420 on the 15th of April and I’m currently guard commander of the FOB and Kevin is keeping himself amused with a piece of plastic he has just dragged out of the bin as I’ve made him come on stag with me too… if I have to get up then so can he! When I’m on sangers it passes the time but it can be quite boring but earlier today when i was looking out into the green zone at all the poppies I heard kids shouting up to the sanger asking for “chocolate, chocolate” and “water water”, unfortunately i had nothing with me to give to them and was unable to leave my post, eventually they became annoyed and started throwing rocks and stones at me then left but not before giving me the middle finger!! It was like meeting the 7yr old Afghan child version of Kevin which made me laugh.
The FOB I am in was Liam (L/Cpl Tasker) and Theo’s, so there are a number of things here which mark their presence such as the memorial board the Irish Guards have made which has all the KIA’s (killed in action) which lived in the FOB from Herrick 13 and Liam’s name is carved into many benches. It’s been sad but very comforting hearing how liked Liam and Theo were by all the guys… “Liam what a guy!!” “Theo the super dog!!” … and the stories of the two of them together and what they brought to each patrol they went on. To that end I’m looking forward and consider it an absolute honour to carry on with the good work Liam and Theo started here and continue building the excellent reputation they left behind!
During the next week sometime Kevin and I will be out on our first operational task together so I’m excited to see how that goes and hopefully resulting in Kevin having the first HASD find of Herrick 14!! So I’ll tell you all about it in our next blog, but for now I’m going to climb into my sleeping bag (with Kevin of course) and get a few hours rest… NIGHT…
Kelly and Kevin xx