Irish Guards take over Afghan Army mentoring role in Helmand

The Irish Guards have tak­en over the respon­si­bil­i­ty of part­ner­ing an Afghan Nation­al Army (ANA) brigade from their col­leagues in 1st Bat­tal­ion The Roy­al Reg­i­ment of Scot­land (1 SCOTS) this week.

It is the Irish Guards’ first deploy­ment to Afghanistan as a formed unit.

Affec­tion­ate­ly known as ‘The Micks’, the 1st Bat­tal­ion Irish Guards have swapped their cer­e­mo­ni­al bearskins for mul­ti-ter­rain pat­tern cam­ou­flage to con­tin­ue the work of 1 SCOTS who are return­ing to the UK.

The Irish Guards are part of 16 Air Assault Brigade, who are in the process of replac­ing 4th Mech­a­nized Brigade as the lead for­ma­tion of Task Force Hel­mand for the start of Oper­a­tion HERRICK 13.

While the offi­cial ‘Trans­fer of Author­i­ty’ has yet to take place, new faces and fresh per­spec­tives are flow­ing into Hel­mand on a dai­ly basis.

1 SCOTS have spent six months with the war­riors of 3rd Brigade, 215 Corps (3/215) of the ANA, and part­nered them through­out the first Afghan-planned, ‑led and ‑exe­cut­ed oper­a­tions (Op OMID DO and Op OMID SEY). The Irish Guards will focus on build­ing and strength­en­ing this suc­cess.

Com­mand­ing Offi­cer of the 1st Bat­tal­ion Irish Guards, Lieu­tenant Colonel Christo­pher Ghi­ka, said:

“We have a crit­i­cal role to do in con­tin­u­ing to build on the suc­cess of 1 SCOTS and fur­ther devel­op the ANA.

“We have trained real­ly hard to get here. We bring a lot to the cam­paign and are focused on what we have to do.”

The han­dover cer­e­mo­ny was con­duct­ed on 27 Sep­tem­ber 2010 at Camp Tomb­stone, the ANA base near Camp Bas­tion in Hel­mand.

With a lone Scot­tish piper play­ing, the Union Flag and Saltire of 1 SCOTS were low­ered, and, to the tune of an Irish piper, the St Patrick’s Cross and House­hold Divi­sion Colour of the Irish Guards were marched on.

The job of the Irish Guards Brigade Advi­so­ry Group will be to part­ner their Afghan col­leagues and share British Army know-how on lead­er­ship and plan­ning with them. The Irish Guards will also be learn­ing from their Afghan part­ners; they will live, eat, patrol and fight side by side with them for the dura­tion of their tour.

Lieu­tenant Colonel Char­lie Her­bert, Com­mand­ing Offi­cer of 1 SCOTS, said:

“It has been a priv­i­lege and an enor­mous plea­sure to have com­mand­ed the 3/215 Brigade Advi­so­ry Group on HERRICK 12. We have been an unusu­al organ­i­sa­tion, drawn from fif­teen dif­fer­ent reg­i­ments and corps.

“I could not have asked for a more ded­i­cat­ed, hard­work­ing or coura­geous group to com­mand, and I thank all ranks for what they have achieved over this tour.”

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK

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