I cannot believe it has been 9 years already. Today 9 years ago marks another devastating chapter in my life and every member within the Warthog group, we suffered a great loss and arguably, not one of us returned from Afghanistan the same.
Our lead vehicle was struck by an IED. Fortunately, there were no serious physical injuries sustained. However, whilst attempting to recover the vehicle Andy Found stood on a 20kg IED which was nearly impossible to see. The whole area was littered with IED’s and we had to remain static as the chances of hitting another IED was incredibly high. We were vulnerable as we waited for brimstone (external help to clear IED’s) and we all felt that an attack was imminent.
As the sniper I was given an additional task, to shoot any dog that came over the hill (we had to preserve Andy’s body and there were always hungry dogs).
For many reasons, this day must be one of the most traumatic experiences in my life. We were all so fatigued from previous patrol in the green zone and this experience was just another step in a very tiresome emotional journey for us all.
This is absolutely one of the reasons why I have devoted the last 4/5 years of my life to helping people in their ‘hour of need’. As I unquestionably know what it is like to suppress trauma and soldier on, it leads you to a very dark place.
Tonight I will raise a glass at 2100Hrs for Andy and his family. He had two small children and it brings a tear to my eye when I think that they will never experience Father’s Day the same again.
Andy may be gone but he is not forgotten!