Contact

Things have quietened down now and I have slept and settled myself. It’s 36 hours since it occurred so I feel it now OK to report that we were hit the night of 27th April. At about 1914 hrs DB and I were standing on the parapet of the Hesco wall on the phone to the Country manager when, without warning, a massive explosion occurred about 50 metres away from us and in front of Gate 1. DB and I were blown off the parapet and by the time we gained our feet, heavy small arms fire had broken out to our front and in the LN compound that borders ours.  We bolted for our gear screaming ‘Contact’ at the tops of our voices which, on reflection, was an idiotic thing to do because it was bloody obvious were in contact.  

My lads were kitted up in no time and we immediately swung into our rehearsed drills. We gathered the client’s people and got them into the bunker.  All towers were double-manned with Neps and every tower on our inner compound was reinforced by one of my expats.  Force protection formed a QRF and the remainder of my expats were placed on our western parapet facing the direction of the attack.  

VBIED Point of Detonation

 

I established a CP close to Gate 1 and hunkered down between two armoureds. From there we controlled our response and maintained comms with ISAF JDOC who put up a UAV for over watch and choppers flying low and fast over the position.  ISASF QRF was stood-to but held in location – in the end they did not move forward to us.   

By now it was about ten minutes into the attack and, following 3 or 4 small explosions (grenades), there two more large explosions then silence.  A few random shots cracked out for another ten or fifteen minutes and that was it. Over.  

The ANP (Afghan National Police) got to us very quickly with a ranger detachment and mobile patrols. They cleared the LN compound and a house that we had taken fire from.  It was good to have them there.  

The rest of the night was spent piecing together – literally – the action and all of my lads remained on stag (sentry) throughout the night.  At 0600 I sent out a clearing patrol that cleared the entire perimeter. Once I was sure we were secure we stood down a little and tried to get some rest.  For me the hard bit then started as my higher kicked in with endless RFI that I had to respond to. I handed over to DB at 1100 28th Apr and got my head down for three hours much needed sleep.  

Ops Room the morning after

 

It’s now clear we had three suicide bombers – 1 VBIED (car bomb – the first explosion) and 2 BBIED (body-borne – the final explosion).  Our LNs took many casualties and we are still trying to identify them and confirm numbers.  We had three Neps with minor wounds and extensive damage to our ops room and many of the accommodation rooms.  Importantly, the insurgents did not get in and there were no injuries to any of our client’s staff.  

When standing my lads down after the action I felt a surge of pride looking at them.  They were dog-tired and filthy dirty but they were standing straight and taking the piss as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. They performed brilliantly and I couldn’t have asked for more from them.  

Today we are back to business as usual but with all my higher and client’s higher arriving later to do the ‘battlefield tour’ – I’m breaking out the dancing bears, jugglers and midgets on unicycles for their pleasure and entertainment. Frankly, with exception of my CM, I could do without a “carry on soldier” from the higher-ups but that’s the way it has to be so we’ll all just have to suck it up.  

L, my darling, do not worry. I am safe and well. We are strong, well prepared and motivated (but could all use a pay rise!)

~ by Centurion on April 29, 2010.

5 Responses to “Contact”

  1. Glad to hear that most of your guys came through OK. As someone who works with (and for) Afghans every day, allow me to suggest that it is in your best interest to do everything possible for your LN casualties.

    I’m sure you’d do your best anyway, but with a little extra effort/attention you will earn their personal loyalty, which can be a powerful thing to have going forward. You can’t buy, but you can earn it.

    • Paladin. Good advice and thanks. I spent most of this morning on visits to the wounded and this afternoon in organising repairs to accomodation and facilties for my LNs. As far as I and my expats are concerned the LNs are every much as part of our unit as we are.They suffer immensely in this war with too little recognition so we try wherever we can to give it. Again, thanks for reading and stay safe.

  2. I am glad it turned out alright for you. I am also glad to hear that the Afghan Police did a good job assisting with the security. I am serving with the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan ( http://www.ntm-a.com ) and we really trying hard to improve the Police training. I have to say I think they are coming out better trained and willing to serve. Thanks for sharing your story with us. I will tell the Police trainers that their guys are doing great.
    Semper Fi,
    Greg

    • Sir, Thanks for your comments and for your work with the ANP. You are right I think: they are getting better and better all the time. Thank you for reading. Stay safe.
      Duty First

  3. Can’t add much,but paladin said it all the best I think. A friend there has told me there afghan guards are the best he has seen there. stay safe. dennis

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