Soldiers from East Anglia’s own Army regiment last week received their medals to mark their latest tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Campaign medals were presented to members of First Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment at Woolwich Barracks two months after they returned from a six month tour of duty in Kabul.
There was also a medal presentation to their children to recognise ‘the exceptional time separated from a parent’.
The Royal Anglians, nicknamed ‘the Vikings’, deployed with more than 200 officers and soldiers on Operation Toral in February this year.
After the medal ceremony Lance Corporal Michael McKay, 22, from Mildenhall, explained that their job was to support mentors training the Afghan security forces.
It was Michael’s second tour there, serving in a reconnaissance platoon. He said: “It’s quietened down considerably compared to Helmand, but there were a lot of vehicle-borne suicide bombers.”
He said this was in some ways more stressful than Helmand’s shooting war.
“You didn’t know where the threat was,” he said.
Michael was born in Bury St Edmunds and raised in Mildenhall, where he belonged to the army cadets and studied at West Suffolk College before he signed up at the regimental headquarters next door in The Keep.
“The Army is not for everyone, but, personally, I love it,” he said. “I’ve been to quite a few places in the world and they look after you.
“For me, the future looks bright in the regiment.”