Training is harder than the real thing
NOT a sound can be heard as the sun slowly rises over the freezing Canadian prairie.
What looks like hundreds of fireflies in the distance are glowsticks marking the presence of Challenger 2 and Warrior tanks.
Tucked away under canvas beside them are thousands of troops huddled together to protect themselves from the sub zero temperatures.
As the ground begins to thaw, one by one soldiers begin to emerge from their makeshift quarters.
Among the thousands is Sgt Kevin McGarry from Folkestone.
The Kentish Express first met 32-year-old after he proposed to girlfriend Dyane Beane on kmfm live from Basra in Iraq in October 2007.
More than a year on the happy couple are expecting their first baby together following their wedding at Dover Castle.
While his childhood sweetheart prepares for motherhood back in the United Kingdom,Sgt McGarry, also known as Feggy, has spent the last few weeks on the Canadian prairie preparing for war – a tough but worthwhile experience he revealed.
Sgt McGarry said: “This is harder than the real thing. You have limited sleep and are pushed to your limits. I am responsible for delivering all the food, water and ammunition throughout the battle.
“It is very demanding but also extremely vital. Some nights I only get three hours sleep.”
His training will become a reality next year as he is sent back to Iraq for the fourth time in November with the rest of his troop.
With a new wife and a daughter on the way, Kevin revealed how he plans to get through the six months without them.
He said: “I think it’s a knack a soldier has.
“You can shut off your emo- tions. When you are away on ops your focus turns to the boys that you are working with. They become your priority. But in the back of your mind your family is always there.”
“When I leave for Iraq my little girl will be 11 months old. I will miss her first birthday. That will be really hard.”
Sgt Kevin McGarry on exercise in Canada