Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Commanders hail response to attack

Prince Harry, left, is currently stationed at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan

British troops responded "swiftly and decisively" to regain control of Camp Bastion after the Taliban raided the base last week, military commanders have said.

Fifteen heavily armed insurgents breached the perimeter defences of the huge Afghanistan base, killing two US Marines in their attack.

But Royal Air Force gunners did an "outstanding job" in reclaiming the airfield the Taliban had stormed, wielding machine guns, AK 47 rifles and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs).

Members of No 5 RAF Force Protection Wing worked alongside the US Marine Corps to fight on the ground, while Army Apache helicopters were scrambled to fire on insurgent positions.

All but one of the enemy fighters were killed, and the other was captured.

Prince Harry, who is based in Camp Bastion for a four-month tour of duty, was at the Helmand Province military hub at the time of the attack and was moved to a guarded location as the fighting unfolded.

Sergeant Al Bedford was the RAF Regiment incident controller in the Joint Operations Room at the time of the attack, which damaged infrastructure and AV-8B Harrier jump jets in the US area of the base.

He said: "We were attacked from multiple firing points, however we quickly co-ordinated ground troops and air assets to suppress the enemy and then utilised those assets to clear the airfield of any remaining insurgents.

"We also co-ordinated medical support to the gunners on the ground and ensured re-supply was timely, allowing the lads to maintain their momentum."

Sergeant Roy 'Doc' Geddes was a tactical commander of an RAF Regiment Flight consisting of 30 gunners on the airfield during the attack. He was injured during the assault, sustaining fragmentation injuries from an RPG, and said: "As I moved on to the airfield I could already see some Harriers on fire. We were soon engaged with the enemy, who used small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades, however, my gunners were quick to react and returned fire, suppressing the enemy position."

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