Troops returning home from Iraq

SERVICEMEN who remained in Iraq while their colleagues and friends returned home are being welcomed back to their Suffolk base.Five months after travelling to the Gulf, the final servicemen from RAF Honington are scheduled to leave their headquarters at Baghdad International Airport over the next few days.

SERVICEMEN who remained in Iraq while their colleagues and friends returned home are being welcomed back to their Suffolk base.

Five months after travelling to the Gulf, the final servicemen from RAF Honington are scheduled to leave their headquarters at Baghdad International Airport over the next few days.

Those returning include members of H Squadron and the Joint Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Regiment (JNBC), who were responsible for checking barracks, houses and bunkers for possible weapons.

They also inspected burning oil wells, old chemical plants and abandoned shells and rockets for toxic materials.


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Since the end of the war, H Squadron has spent weeks searching for weapons of mass destruction, while providing administrative support for other British and American personnel involved in the hunt.

They set up base in one of Saddam Hussein's palace compounds, within Baghdad International Airport's military complex, which had been extensively looted following the end of the war.

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"We were some of the first troops to arrive on the site when the looters had left," said 34-year-old Staff Sergeant Mac McGrearey. "The villas looked very impressive, but were of shoddy construction, despite using tonnes of the best quality marble.

"It was sad to see how much money went on these palaces when, just a couple of miles away, people were living in Third World conditions.

"I feel that, by being here in Baghdad, assisting in the hunt for weapons of mass destruction, I've been close to a bit of modern day history."

n Meanwhile, at RAF Mildenhall, an armoury has been dedicated to the memory of late servicemen and father-of-two Staff Sergeant Gerald Nicholls, who died in a road accident on March 7.

"It is important that this dedication was made and that our children, Kiersten and Ty, were here for its unveiling," said St Sgt Nicholls' wife Sandy.

"When they get older, there will be something of their father's to live on and speak of the kind of man he was – someone who left a big enough impression to be remembered with this respect."

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