Paratroopers have been presented with medals in recognition of their service on operations in Afghanistan.
Eighteen soldiers from B company, 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, who served in Kabul between October 2019 and April 2020, have been awarded the medals during a socially distanced parade at Merville Barracks in Colchester.
Three hundred and fifty soldiers from the 2 PARA Battlegroup took part in the six-month tour in Afghanistan.
They worked alongside Australian, US, New Zealand, and Danish troops on NATO's Resolute Support mission, providing protection to military and civilian advisors supporting training at the Afghan National Army Officers’ Academy near Kabul.
The medals were presented by Major Craig Shephard, Officer Commanding B Coy, who said the paratroopers’ efforts had demonstrated the UK’s commitment to Afghanistan.
“It is very important that what our soldiers achieved in Afghanistan is recognised, and they should all be immensely proud of themselves,” he said.
“Receiving a medal – particularly if it is a soldier’s first – marks the culmination of a long journey that starts when they first join the Army, the effort they put into all the training, and the hard work they all did on tour.
Among those receiving a medal was Private Jacob Langridge, who deployed to Afghanistan soon after joining 2 PARA.
“I joined the Army to go on operations and Afghanistan was a really positive experience for me,” he said.
Private Declan Bonus said: “It’s a proud moment to receive my first medal and being presented with it in front of the Company was special because we’re such a close team."
Paratroopers are light infantrymen, used to operating on foot, but in Kabul, they worked from Foxhound patrol vehicles.
Pte Langridge said: “Being in vehicles was very different for us as paratroopers, but we’ve learnt new skills and it was nice not to have to walk everywhere!”
Cover Image: MOD