Volunteers can outshine regulars

REPORTS of the good work Suffolk's TA soldiers have been doing in Iraq have filtered back to their army bosses in the UK, who today commended them for their efforts.

REPORTS of the good work Suffolk's TA soldiers have been doing in Iraq have filtered back to their army bosses in the UK, who today commended them for their efforts.

Colonel Dave Tyler, commanding officer of 158 Transport Regiment, visited the troops - including about a dozen based in Ipswich - earlier this month.

He said: “They are doing exceptionally well.

“The officers over there told me there are five or six of them who are doing better than their regular army counterparts by a significant margin.”

Two thirds of the 158 soldiers are based with 27 Squadron in Kuwait where convoys of supply trucks bound for Basra begin their journey.

The soldiers are responsible for protecting the convoys, ensuring the drivers and their loads get to the 4,500 British troops in Basra safely.

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Col Tyler said they were shouldering a “phenomenal responsibility”.

“The biggest convoy they've had was eight kilometres long,” he said.

“Touch wood they've had no contact so far.

“It was a very proud moment to see them. A number of them are really shining out. I was exceptionally impressed by the hard work, determination and enthusiasm of them.”

Members of the public are being invited to turn out for the parade through Ipswich on Sunday, December 7. Troops from 2 Logistic Battalion will travel to the town fresh from their tour of Iraq to support their colleagues from Suffolk.

More details of the day will be released closer to the event, but Captain Rick Dzierozynski from the 202 Transport Squadron in Ipswich said it would be a huge boost to the troops if a large crowd turned out.

“For the regiment to be given the Freedom of Ipswich is a great honour,” he said.

“For them to come back and be able to march through Ipswich with everyone coming out and supporting them it will be a special day for them.

“What is unique is to not only get the Freedom of Ipswich but to also combine it with the return march, it is a very special day.”