Soldier set for war zone
PUBLISHED: 07:00 21 October 2010
A WESTON soldier is taking part in a tough three month exercise 8000 miles from home in preparation for a mission to Afghanistan.
Trooper Paul Frost, aged 18, is just over half way through Exercise Prairie Thunder with his Germany-based regiment 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards (QDG) in Canada.
The challenge is taking place at the British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS) in the middle of the vast plains of Alberta in the West of the country.
The exercise includes using machine guns, heavy artillery AS90 guns, tanks and armoured fighting vehicles.
The whole challenge is based on a fictional scenario to prepare soldiers for operational duty where they have been tasked with patrolling villages, dealing with insurgents and interacting with locals.
Paul, who joined the Army in 2009, is the driver of a vehicle used to transport snipers and other dismounted troops around the battlefield.
He said: “As the driver of the vehicle I am responsible for getting the crew from A to B across some really testing terrain in as much comfort as possible, which at night can be a real challenge with no lights on due to the tactical situation.
“I have certainly learnt lots of new skills in a short period and I am now really confident that if I am tasked to drive out in Afghanistan next year I will be up to the challenge.”
Sleeping bags, ponchos, a bowl to wash, shave and bath in and a ration pack to get through the day are just some of the hardships the soldiers face.
Added to this is the constant maintenance of kit, equipment and vehicles as well as battling the heat, flash thunderstorms and swarms of mosquitoes.
The former Wyvern Community School student added: “So far the weather has been kind to us but the next time we go out on the exercise there is a high chance of snow, which I have no doubt will add a different dynamic to the situation.”
Paul’s girlfriend Natalie is studying in Bristol University and his parents, Paul and Shirley, still live in Weston.
Paul will get some time off when he returns from Canada and also a well-earned break at Christmas.