Vincy soldier feels safer on Afghan camp at nights than in other countries
November 9, 2012
Vincy soldier feels safer on Afghan camp at nights than in other countries

A Vincentian serving in the British Army says that he would be happy to go back to Afghanistan.{{more}}

Reagan McLean grew up in Stubbs and recently returned to St Vincent on holiday, after being on an operational tour in Afghanistan with the First Battalion Welsh Guards.

The Technical College graduate, who initially wanted to pursue a career in Architectural Drafting, said he joined the army because he wanted to try a different career.

In 2004, he joined the British Forces as a human resources manager and although he had a desk job, McLean stated that being in the army meant that you were a soldier first.

Camp Bastion, the British Army’s largest military base, became McLean’s home when he was deployed to Afghanistan.

Mclean told SEARCHLIGHT that one of the main reasons for wanting to go back to Afghanistan was what was being done there.

“What we’re doing at the moment is not even fighting,” he said. “What we’re doing is actually training the Afghan army and police to take security of their own country.”

The lieutenant sergeant highlighted that before Afghan President Hamid Karzai came to office, terrorism was a major problem in Afghanistan.

He stated that terrorism had to be tackled on that smaller scale before it became an epidemic.

However, the young soldier pointed out the negatives of being a part of this mission.

“Now and then, we’re going to have people that infiltrate the system, like through the Taliban routes,” McLean said.

He further emphasized the dangers of this happening and said that it was perhaps one of the scariest things that happen on the military base.

“We’ll get a ‘green [on] blue’ which is one of those guys we’re actually training shot one of us,” he said.

Experiences also play a major role in the reason for McLean’s enthused view of Afghanistan.

He highlighted that a memorable part of being in Afghanistan was that on his tour, a baby was born for the first time ever on the front lines.

Mclean said that people often find it strange that he would want to go back to Afghanistan but says that it is a part of his job.

“That’s what you joined for,” he said. “It’s a challenge, but that’s what you joined for.”

The soldier stated that he has been on the front line several times and finds it scary, however, he feels safer at night on camp than he would in any other country.

This is mainly because there are always guards on duty in the camp and in his opinion, crime has become a serious problem worldwide.

Mclean recently returned to St Vincent and is happy to reunite with his nine year-old-son and the rest of his family who he said have supported him tremendously. (BK)