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Wattisham troops may be home next month

PUBLISHED: 23:20 23 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:46 03 March 2010

MOST of Suffolk's troops serving in Iraq may be home by the end of May.

That is the latest plan according to senior officers with 3 Regiment Army Air Corps who are currently based near Almara in central Iraq.

MOST of Suffolk's troops serving in Iraq may be home by the end of May.

That is the latest plan according to senior officers with 3 Regiment Army Air Corps who are currently based near Almara in central Iraq.

The Wattisham-based regiment's Lynx and Gazelle helicopters have flown daring missions in support of 16 Air Assault Brigade throughout the campaign to topple Saddam and are now involved in assessing Iraqi needs for humanitarian aid.

"We are hoping to get the majority back by the end of May," said Major Peter Bullen, 3 Regiment's second in command, warning that this may be subject to change. "These plans can mature," he said.

The majority of the unit first deployed to the Gulf more than two months ago.

Its soldiers are currently helping to put the region known as the Maysan province back on its feet following the war to rid Iraq of Saddam Hussein's tyrannical regime and years of neglect under the despot's control.

Restoring electricity and clean water supplies are now a priority for the people who have been generally welcoming to the arrival of British troops.

Commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel George Butler paid tribute to the hard work of his troops and all those who served in the close-knit rapid response brigade, largely based in East Anglia.

"On this operation Army aviation has proved its worth as an integral part of all arms battle. It has proved effective when used in conjunction with ground forces and has been an important part of the battle against enemy armour and other types of targets.

"Throughout we've worked in close co-operation with other ground units and formations throughout the division but particularly.

"The operation has gone well. We've done a lot more than anticipated as an aviation battlegroup."

And the colonel praised the part of the Evening Star in relaying news of the unit and its soldiers back to Suffolk and the UK.

"It's important to have our story told in local newspapers for the families and friends back in Suffolk and I know our community has relied very heavily on the Evening Star's news reports because it has been very difficult to get accurate information back to them.

"I know for a fact that they have avidly read the newspaper for information about what we've been out here to do.

"I'd like to thank the Evening Star for its coverage of 3 Regiment Army Air Corpswhich has been appreciated by all of us here and back home."


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