Sol­diers hon­oured af­ter UN peace­keep­ing mis­sion in Africa

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - MORAY NEWS - BY DAVID MACKAY

Dozens of sol­diers at Kin­loss Bar­racks went on pa­rade yes­ter­day to cel­e­brate their con­tri­bu­tion to a UN peace­keep­ing mis­sion in Africa.

About 100 mem­bers of the base’s 34 Field Squadron were pre­sented with medals in a cer­e­mony in front of top brass.

Proud fam­ily mem­bers wiped away tears as they saw loved ones get­ting an hon­our to dis­play on their chest.

The troops re­turned from South Su­dan last month, fol­low­ing a four­month de­ploy­ment to the war-rav­aged coun­try as part of Op­er­a­tion Tren­ton.

Dur­ing that time, the men built the ground­works for a new hos­pi­tal while pro­vid­ing it with power, fresh wa­ter pipes and drainage to pro­tect against flood­ing.

Ma­jor Wayne Meek, of­fi­cer com­mand­ing 34 Field Sqn, said: “When we first ar­rived, it was the dry sea­son and tem­per­a­tures were in the low 40s.

“When the wet sea­son ar­rived, there were huge storms and it just turned ar­eas into a swampy mess – most of the roads be­come im­pass­able.

“At one point, we worked through the night to fight flood­ing, which is a big po­ten­tial source of dis­ease.

“The per­son­nel were re­lent­less in their de­ter­mi­na­tion to clear gut­ters and drains.

“The term of be­ing a sap­per is all about do­ing as much as you can do. Some­times, they were work­ing un­til they were phys­i­cally ex­hausted and needed time off.”

About two-thirds of the men in the squadron were on their first de­ploy­ment out­side of the coun­try.

Work done by the per­son­nel also in­creased se­cu­rity for char­ity work­ers, so they could per­form aid mis­sions.

Lord Lieu­tenant of Mo­ray, Lieu­tenant Colonel Grenville John­ston, said: “What they have done is hugely im­por­tant for those peo­ple out there.

“It seems to me the per­son­nel had a most re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ence out there.

“I’m slightly en­vi­ous be­cause sim­i­lar op­por­tu­ni­ties never came my way in the 1970s and 80s.”

The peace­keep­ing mis­sion con­tin­ues in South Su­dan with other UN per­son­nel.

The medals pa­rade at Kin­loss Bar­racks af­ter 34 Field Squadron re­turned from South Su­dan

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