Chopper troops fly off to Gulf

ONE of Wattisham's top commanders has spoken of the difficult conditions facing his troops as they fly out to serve in Iraq.The final 14 soldiers from 4 Regiment Army Air Corps left this week for Iraq, joining more than a hundred colleagues who are already in Iraq supporting the interim local authority established following the fall of Saddam Hussein.

ONE of Wattisham's top commanders has spoken of the difficult conditions facing his troops as they fly out to serve in Iraq.

The final 14 soldiers from 4 Regiment Army Air Corps left this week for Iraq, joining more than a hundred colleagues who are already in Iraq supporting the interim local authority established following the fall of Saddam Hussein.

The four-month tour will see the soldiers providing air support to troops carrying out patrols on the ground, as well as carrying out reconnaissance missions and moving personnel.

Four Regiment Army Air Corps, based at Wattisham Airfield, near Stowmarket, will be supporting the Joint Helicopter Force (Iraq) and are taking over from 3 Regiment Army Air Corps, who have just returned from the Gulf.


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Lieutenant Colonel Peter Sharpe, commanding officer of 4 Regiment Army Air Corps, who is now in command of the Joint Helicopter Force, said: "We knew from our reconnaissance visit to Iraq that conditions would be uncomfortable, with temperatures reaching 50 degrees and more.

"Obviously we'll miss home and family and friends, but we're a close knit unit and we'll support each other.

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"We will make the most of our tour out here and it's good to have the opportunity to put the skills we have learned into practice.

"We know that we will find things tough at times, but we've got a worthwhile and important job to do in helping the Iraqi people take control of the running of their country to build an Iraq that is confident and secure."

The soldiers will be on a four-month tour of duty and will spend two weeks acclimatising to the conditions in the area.

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