WHILE his friends in Jedburgh will have got up this morning and pulled on their normal daily attire of jeans and t-shirts, 22-year-old Steven Munro clad himself in Osprey body armour, ballistic protection goggles and armoured pants.
As a soldier currently mid-way through a tour of duty in one of the world’s most dangerous places, he needs to ensure he is always well protected.
Fusilier Munro is normally part of 6 SCOTS – his local Territorial Army regiment – but volunteered to deploy with The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland (also known as 2 SCOTS) on their current tour of Afghanistan’s Helmand Province.
On operations he is a rifleman in an infantry section. This involves a number of roles from patrolling, guarding locations and interacting with local people.
He told TheSouthern it had been a challenging, but interesting, few months.
“I tend to guard the camp when I am not busy on patrols or speaking to locals, but there is also time for us to relax as well,” he said.
He has nothing but praise for the equipment troops are now being issued.
He explained: “The equipment is second to none. Times have changed from the days when people complained about kit. I have even had some of the American soldiers asking me to sell them my trousers.”
One particular patrol saw him and his comrades providing security for a meeting between his commander and the local village elders.
He said: “This was a good operation as it allowed us to interact with the local people. It also saw us working with the Afghan National Police and Army which is always interesting. One of the main roles of British forces is to train up the Afghan forces so that, after we leave, they can continue to defend their own country from the insurgents.”
In 2008 he served in the Afghan capital Kabul where the environment and his role were quite different.
He is now looking forward to finishing his tour in April and returning home to Jedburgh to see his family.