Around 150 soldiers of the 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (2 LANCS) have begun deploying to Iraq in support the international fight against Daesh.
The Secretary of State for Defence, The Rt Hon Sir Michael Fallon MP, today said the Lancashire-based battalion are helping to make Britain safer.
After completing a comprehensive training package here in the UK, 2 LANCS personnel are now deploying as part of a larger 500-strong British Army force, which will spend six months training Iraqi Security Forces and Kurdish Security Forces.
As part of the UK's leading role in the 68-member Global Coalition committed to defeating Daesh, 2 LANCS will not only train local forces but will also provide protection to other British troops there.
British personnel have saved lives and contributed to recent successful operations in Iraq by training over 30,000 Iraqi forces - including nearly 7,000 Kurdish Peshmerga - in Infantry skills as well as weapons maintenance, counter IED, engineering and combat medical skills.
The 2 LANCS troops are light Infantrymen, used to operating on foot, and so learning how to working from Foxhound patrol vehicles has been key preparation for the mission. The state-of-the-art vehicles will provide the best in protection whilst they move around Iraq.
The Foxhound is at the cutting edge of protected patrol vehicle technology and provides unprecedented levels of blast protection for its size and weight. Foxhound's specifically designed V-shaped hull protects against roadside bombs and, because it is lighter and smaller than other armoured vehicles, it is ideal for soldiers operating in mentoring and partnering roles.
Pictured A Foxhound Light Protected Patrol Vehicle.
Sir Michael Fallon said: “Daesh is an evil terrorist group that we want to see destroyed. Alongside our Coalition partners, the RAF are bombing Daesh positions and the British Army are mentoring and training Iraqi and Peshmerga forces to fight Daesh on the ground.
"Defeating Daesh will help stabilise Iraq, which in turn will make Britain safer and 2 LANCS should be proud of the role they'll play in helping achieve that goal.”
Major Rob Singleton, Commanding Officer of 2 LANCS, said: “We are deploying to train both the Iraqi and Kurdish Security Forces in the skills they require to combat Daesh. We have been training for several months to prepare for our role and are ready for the challenge.
"The training has included developing our language skills, the use of interpreters, force protection, learning how to instruct on foreign weapons and equipment, and driving in demanding conditions. We have also trained on the new Foxhound vehicle - which is excellent.
“Our role in Iraq is vital. We are part of an international coalition and will contribute by training the Iraqi and Kurdish Security Forces in diverse skills. This includes Counter IED, Infantry and medical training.
"We are well prepared. As we demonstrated with the floods in the north of England last Christmas, we relish a challenge and the Kingsmen - our soldiers - can make a real difference. We feel proud to have been chosen for this task and are keen to get started.”
Corporal Nathan Pickering, from Darwen, has deployed on two tours of Afghanistan with 2 LANCS. The 24-year-old section commander said: “I'm really looking forward to going out to Iraq because we are doing very different work in a new environment, and as a corporal I will have a lot more responsibility. We've got a lot of young lads in the company who are going on their first tour, and they're looking to me for guidance.”