Sol­dier felt he was ‘part of some­thing big­ger’

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - MORAY NEWS -

Don­ning the blue beret of the United Na­tions was the proud­est mo­ment of one sol­dier’s eightyear army ca­reer.

Sap­per Thad Longsworth, orig­i­nally from Belize, was part of the ini­tial de­ploy­ment to Kin­loss when 39 En­gi­neer Reg­i­ment took over the base from the RAF five years ago.

Since then, he has been to Sierra Leone and Lithua­nia.

How­ever, join­ing peace­keep­ing ef­forts in South Su­dan has given him the big­gest sense of pride. He said: “Not many sol­diers get to wear the blue beret. It’s an hon­our.

“It was dif­fer­ent work­ing for the UN. We were work­ing with dif­fer­ent na­tions – Ethiopi­ans, In­di­ans, Chi­nese – and ev­ery­thing is on a dif­fer­ent time scale. It felt like I was part of some­thing big­ger.”

Work­ing in a con­fined 300-me­tresquare en­vi­ron­ment in in­tense heat for weeks at a time chal­lenged the elec­tri­cian.

The over­seas de­ploy­ment was the first time the 33-yearold sol­dier’s young son was old enough to no­tice him be­ing away for an ex­tended pe­riod.

The sap­per would like to build a home for his fam­ily in Mo­ray, but recog­nises he may have to move away as part of his du­ties.

He said: “I’ve been at Kin­loss as long as the Army has – I came with the fur­ni­ture. I love it here. I can go cy­cling or hill­walk­ing and ev­ery­thing’s on my doorstep.”

Pho­to­graph by Kenny El­rick

HOME TURF: The Squadron has been on a UN Mis­sion in South Su­dan.

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