2 Troop, C Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment (or V32 as we are known) is currently serving in Afghanistan attached to Combat Team Charlie MTF-2. We have been operating primarily in the Deh Rawood District in Uruzgan Province but we have also conducted tasks in the Shar Wali Kot and Tarin Kowt districts as well as Kandahar Province. During this time we have successfully completed all of our missions; similar to the many conducted by the 5th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment and 3rd Cavalry Regiment during the Vietnam War, including the Battle of Binh Ba.Lest We Forget
Our role in Afghanistan is similar to that of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment who supported dismounts in the battle of Binh Ba. We are providing fire support, over watch and battle commentary for our Infantry brothers as they attempt to seek out and close with the enemy. Armed with the 25mm Bushmaster Chain gun, we are able to suppress and neutralize the enemy out to ranges of 3000m. This weapons system is very effective and CPL Billen, TPR Jarrett and TPR Blizzard have given the Insurgents a taste of both our Armour Piercing and High Explosive ammunition on multiple occasions.
To get into our Support by Fire and over watch we rely on our Engineer mates to search our proposed positions in order to negate the ever present IED threat. Without them we not are able to support the Infantry. We have spent many long hours scanning the ground from our over watch positions attempting to identify the Insurgents and LCPL Longney and LCPL McMullen have regularly identified potential Insurgent movement out to ranges of 4000m.
A large portion of our missions have been convoys, where we escort logistic elements and coalition forces around the battle space. As supply is vital requirement in all operations, we have had the responsibility of ensuring that our Combat Team and ANA brothers have the required re-supply to sustain operations. These convoys vary in size and can contain anything from 6 - 80 vehicles. Our boys have covered a lot of ground with these convoys and have been subject to long days on the task. Our most challenging escort was Operation THOR GHAR VII. This task saw V32 Patrol and multiple assets from throughout MTF-2 escort approximately 70 ANA vehicles from Tarin Kowt to Kandahar. The journey was 180km along a high threat route; we endured over 40 breakdowns and spent 24 hours on the move over two days. This was both mentally and physically draining; however the boys performed to an excellent standard and got the job done.
We have had the opportunity to conduct some conventional Cavalry tasks, such as Route Reconnaissance, during the course of the deployment. These tasks are few and far between but we are always keen to get back to our conventional roots and display the Cavalry capability.
Our Combat Team has faced many problems just as did 5th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment and 3rd Cavalry Regiment did during the Vietnam War. The enemy has the home ground advantage and is able to blend into the local population whilst also targeting our forces with booby traps. The Insurgents are used to the harsh environment and terrain of Afghanistan and can chose when they fight. Unfortunately we are not as lucky and have been subject to freezing temperatures and rain making our life extremely difficult. These are just some of the problems the 3rd Cavalry Regiment and 5th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment faced in Vietnam.
During our down time we like to constantly improve our living area and TPR Hutchings has been put in a lot of effort to enhance Cav Corner. Due to the high tempo of the deployment our downtime has been rare but we take every available opportunity to sit around the fire talking about home and sharing just about everything from mail to photos of our families. The boys hit the gym to stay in shape, take random photos to help keep up morale and we regularly play cards to remain social and keep the brain ticking over.
As in all wars and conflicts, we all realise the toll on the families back home and we thank everyone back home for their support. Even though we have not suffered the scale of casualties others have in previous theatres, every soldier lost is a mate. Within our Combat Team we lost a good mate in CPL Richard Atkinson. Akker was an excellent soldier and he spent a lot of time searching our routes and over watch positions. He always lead from the front and maintained the larrikin behaviour stereotypical of the Aussie Digger. Whilst nothing can replace his loss, we will continue to honour him by continuing with our mission and remembering his sacrifice and the sacrifices of all of our brothers in arms, past and present.