4 SCOTS Return To Work In Catterick After Afghanistan Deployment

Soldiers from 4th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland have returned to work in Catterick, following a six-month deployment to Afghanistan.

In the capital Kabul, their role was three-fold – protecting camp, providing force protection to advisors and being on constant standby as a quick reaction force.

Major Damien Mead, Officer Commanding, B Company, told Forces News: "It’s great to be back, there’s no place like home.

"We were extremely lucky to get on an operational deployment, and it’s not until you see countries like Afghanistan that it makes you appreciate exactly how lucky we are here."

Several weeks ago, buses arrived in Catterick with a few hundred soldiers returning home. 

The troops were given some time with loved ones in lockdown, before getting back to work.

The coronavirus pandemic made 4 SCOTS' deployment all the more challenging, with measures put in place to try and protect the soldiers.

Corporal Gareth Robinson, B Company, said: "We were kept in a camp, two-metre rule at all times, face masks were worn at all times as well.

"If we were out on the ground, and we came into contact with any Afghans, the guys went and quarantined for two weeks. It was quite rigid, but it was good because we got no cases within [the camp] itself."

The personnel arrived in Afghanistan a short time after the US agreement on a withdrawal timetable, leading to a long period of negotiations that lasted throughout the tour.

The soldiers continue to follow coronavirus measures, such as wearing face masks.
Major Damien Mead speaks to his soldiers back in Catterick.

Lieutenant Colonel Tim Draper, Commanding Officer of 4 SCOTS, told Forces News: "The most important Afghans from all over the country came together and voted on how to take the peace process forward.

"We were involved in assisting the Afghans in planning, security, and providing some specialist capabilities.

"To be a part of something genuinely significant, where the Afghan population expressed their view on their futures, is quite a heartening thing," he added.

Lt Col Draper said Kabul is now a "much better, safer place than it used to be" but said "there's more to do".

"To be in a role more detached from the Afghans, where we have to do less of the fighting and more of the supporting them, feels like real progress for those of us who’ve been there a few times," he added.

A range of career courses and training support tasks now lie ahead for 4 SCOTS, including looking at their role in the Strike Brigade concept and re-familiarising themselves with conventional warfare tactics.

It is hoped that training will include a new exercise in Ukraine in 2021.