MP lives life like a soldier in Afghanistan base camp

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A SOLDIER from Rugby greeted the town MP during a trip to Afghanistan.

Mark Pawsey, who is a member of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme, returned from Helmand province in Afghanistan this week where he was one of a party of 35 members of the House of Lords and House of Commons, as well as MEPs.

During his trip Mr Pawsey met up with constituent Private Bernice Armstrong, who lives in Rugby .

Mr Pawsey said: “Bernice told me about why she had chosen to sign up for the Army and her role in the administration team at Camp Bastion. Bernice has only been in theatre for a short while and has been lucky enough to be selected to have her break over the Christmas period, so we look forward to seeing her back soon.”

Mr Pawsey’s journey started at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire where the group were given helmets and body armour before boarding a freight plane delivering vital supplies. After a stopover in Turkey, the group arrived in Camp Bastion where they slept in tents with bunk bed dormitories.

Mr Pawsey said: “After a true squaddie style fry-up breakfast, our 24 hours on the base started with a briefing from Deputy Commander International Security Assistance Force (ISAF): Lieutenant General James Bucknall. The General reminded us of the reasons for our presence in the country - to prevent Afghan territory from being used by Al Qaeda as a base from which to plan attacks on the UK and our allies.”

The group was given a demonstration by the Disposal and Search Task Force which looks for hidden improvised explosive devices and was shown the protective equipment that troops wear in the field. During lunch, Afghan locals told the group how much more secure they now feel, while UK told about their daily duties. Following a question-and-answer session, the group returned home with travelling troops.

Mr Pawsey said: “I came away with a clear sense that we have made a success of our role in Afghanistan and an enduring impression of the commitment to service of our personnel posted a long way from home in a difficult and dangerous environment.”