A Rugby army officer is nearing the end of her first deployment in Afghanistan – with her husband.
Rhys and Rebecca Pogson-Hughes-Emanuel, better known as Captain ‘Becky’ P-H-E and Captain Rhys P-H-E, left for Helmand Province in September.
This is the first operational tour for former Rugby High pupil Becky, 33. She is Second-In-Command of 11 Armoured Company, 2 Close Support Battalion, Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineer (2 CS Bn, REME).
Becky said: “Being on tour together means you have to make sure you’re acting in a professional way and are sending out the right message. There’s no rule saying we can’t go into a room together for a chat, but it’s implied that you conduct yourself in a way that is professional at all times.”
The pair try to meet up a few times a week on tour, having spent little time with each in other while preparing for the tour.
Becky and Rhys were deployed in September last year and will finish their tour in this month or next. They both wanted to deploy, and engineered the deployment as much as they could to ensure they would be on tour at the same time.
Rhys, 34 from Bridgend, Wales, is on his second operational tour, as Second-In-Command with 39 Armoured Engineer Squadron, 32 Engineer Regiment (32 Engr Regt).
Becky and Rhys both joined the Army in their early 20s and met whilst completing an inter-service degree as part of the Defence Technical Undergraduate Scheme, at Aston University, Birmingham where they studied full time during the week and ran the weekend exercises as Platoon Commanders.
Becky said: “We try to ensure that we aren’t ever in battlegroups that are doing back to back tours and that we were either both in a deploying or a non-deploying brigade. “
Becky’s mother Karen still lives in Rugby. Her stepfather Craig lives in Nuneaton.
Becky and Rhys are both based with their respective units in Fallingbostel, Germany and will be returning there at the end of their tours. The couple are waiting to hear where their next postings will be having both applied for posts in the south of the UK.
Becky joined the Army at the age of 24 having been inspired by her stepfather, Craig, who was a Lance Sergeant in the Coldstream Guards. Having wanted to join the forces from a very young age, Becky’s stepfather encouraged her to get some life experience and qualifications first. Becky said: “I left school with virtually no qualifications, and then completed an apprenticeship in engineering, and set up and ran a regional customer service desk for Sainsbury’s. Every time I got to a certain point in a job where I would get bored and would question what I was doing. Is this what life is really all about? Is this it?”
“When my stepfather heard me questioning life, he agreed that I was ready to sign up, gave me his blessing, and took me to the Army careers office. His acceptance was a big thing to me.”
Becky is very independent and had been living on her own since the age of 16.
She said: “The Army encouraged me to become an officer and to better myself in so many ways. I’m no different as a person now but the military career has refined things, given me an education, and a mechanical engineering degree.”