Troops welcomed home tonight

FAMILIES gathered tonight to welcome home the first Colchester troops returning from serving in Afghanistan.

Lizzie Parry

FAMILIES gathered tonight to welcome home the first Colchester troops returning from serving in Afghanistan.

Just over 100 soldiers from 13 Air Assault Support Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps returned to Merville Barracks, the home of 16 Air Assault Brigade, to be met by their loved ones. The troops, the first large group to return to Colchester, have completed a six-month tour in Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan.

They played a pivotal role in the recent operation - Operation Oqab Tsuka (Eagle's Nest) - to deliver a turbine to the hydro-electric power station at Kajaki, one of the largest military logistic operations since World War Two.


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The regiment took the lead in the operation, driving the vehicles to transport the new turbine 180 km by road and providing armed protection to the convoy, which took five days to deliver and five days to return.

Of the 7800 British troops in Afghanistan, approximately 3300 are based in East Anglia, either at Colchester, Wattisham or Woodbridge.

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Next month the return of troops to Colchester continues as soldiers from 7 Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, 16 Close Support Medical Regiment and 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment arrive home.

The soldiers have flown back via Cyprus where they spent 36 hours in 'decompression,' an opportunity for the troops to unwind in advance of returning to the UK.

They will have received a number of briefings and guidance to assist their return to normal life.

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