A CARNOUSTIE officer has been awarded a prestigious military medal for his service in Afghanistan.
Colonel Edward Fenton (43), the former Commanding Officer of The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (3 SCOTS) during Operation HERRICK 15 was awarded a Distinguished Service Order (DSO) for his gallant leadership during the battalions’ tour of Afghanistan.
He commanded the largest combined force in Helmand Province during the six month tour from October last year, with 1500 troops including his own battalion 3 SCOTS.
Operating in the Nad e-Ali district of Helmand, the then Lieutenant Colonel Fenton worked closely with the Afghan leadership to increase the pace of transition for security responsibility to the Afghan Forces.
They conducted a series of rapid and aggressive combined operations against the insurgents, which not only ejected the fighters from their stronghold but also built the confidence of the Afghan Forces in their ability to maintain their new position.
His plan put the transition objectives six months ahead of schedule, and set the conditions for a successful operation to secure the neighbouring region of Kopak – the last insurgent stronghold along the canal zone in Helmand.
His citation states: “These operations have not been unopposed. Indeed levels of violence on Operation Herrick 15 have exceeded those the preceding summer fighting season by 23 per cent, but by seizing and retaining the initiative he has skilfully reduced casualties by 50 per cent, despite extending offensive operations to pursue the insurgents.
“Throughout, Lieutenant Colonel Fenton has led by example, frequently exposing himself to significant direct fire and IED [Improvised Explosive Device] threat, often ahead of the forward line of his own troops, commanding under fire and showing courageous leadership that has inspired and reassured his soldiers.”
Colonel Fenton, who recently handed over command of 3 SCOTS at their base at Fort George, Inverness, paid tribute to what was a “tremendous team effort” through Operation Herrick 15:
“I am immensely honoured to be awarded the DSO, but in truth it is an honour that reflects not the actions of one man but the tenacity, courage and leadership of a tremendous team from across 3 SCOTS, 2 MERCIANS, 1 PWRR, 1 YORKS, 5 RIFLES, Scouts Battalion Estonian Defence Forces and our supporting Arms that made up Combined Force Nad e-Ali on Operation Herrick 15.
“Our achievements were down to the selfless dedication of an outstanding battalion headquarters team led by Major Harry Clark, the inspirational leadership of the junior commanders who showed immense restraint in the face of the enemy in order to protect the local people, and the gritty determination of the Jocks facing danger on a daily basis, every one giving their all to help the Afghan Forces take responsibility for security.
“That lasting Afghan-led security continues to thrive in Nad e-Ali is testament to their superb efforts, and I am absolutely delighted that those efforts are further recognised today in the award of five Mention in Dispatches, and nine Joint Commanders Commendations earned by the men and women of Combined Force Nad e-Ali. To be recognised in such a way nationally gives us enormous pride in our achievements.”
Colonel Fenton has now taken up a staff officer post in Warminster as Commander of the Command, Staff and Tactical Training group, helping to prepare headquarters staffs for their future deployments to Afghanistan or be ready for Contingency operations world wide.
The former Dundee High School pupil is married to Max. They have one son, Will aged six.