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Lowestoft man off to Afghanistan

PUBLISHED: 12:49 18 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:59 06 July 2010

MORE than 100 Suffolk-based gunners have set off on a six-month mission to protect an airbase from insurgents in Afghanistan.

The 140-strong detachment from 2 Squadron RAF Regiment were today packing up their kit and going through passport control at RAF Honington before heading off by coach to RAF Brize Norton for the flight to Kandahar Airbase.

MORE than 100 Suffolk-based gunners have set off on a six-month mission to protect an airbase from insurgents in Afghanistan.

The 140-strong detachment from 2 Squadron RAF Regiment were today packing up their kit and going through passport control at RAF Honington before heading off by coach to RAF Brize Norton for the flight to Kandahar Airbase.

Once there, the squadron will be responsible for maintaining base security which could include directly engaging militants armed with rockets or clearing up mines.

For Senior Aircraftman Chris Denby, 27, of Lowestoft, this will be his first tour.

“I am a bit nervous and quite excited at the same time,” he said, adding the risk from explosive devices and small arms fire were “on your mind”. He said he would be following the advice from more experienced gunners who had been on tours before.

For SAC Ashley Watson, 25, of Mulbarton, this will be his second tour in Afghanistan. Over the coming months, SAC Watson will have to combine his military duties with organising his wedding later in the year.

He told how on his last tour in Afghanistan the lives of his unit were saved by a US Predator drone which detected he and his fellow gunners were approaching a Taliban ambush.

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