Local officer back in Helmand

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AN ARMY officer from Monifieth has deployed to Afghanistan for the second time where he is working alongside members of the Afghan National Security Forces.

Captain Robert Grieve (27) is based in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province, with other members of his unit, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (known as 5 SCOTS).

His role is as B Company operations officer, with responsibility for co-ordinating operations as they take place on the ground. It is his job to ensure that all troops on a patrol are aware of what is happening around them and that they have the correct support lined up when required.

He also has to keep abreast of events and incidents in the wider area and consider any impact these may have on his company.

Operations are generally conducted alongside troops from the Afghan National Army or Afghan National Police who are being trained and mentored to eventually take over security responsibilities in their own country.

Robbie explained: “It has been a quiet start to the tour as our patrols have continued to familiarise themselves with the ground and the local population. Since my last tour here in 2008, the communities in the towns and villages appear to have much more freedom and power to make their own decisions and, as such, their interaction with us has improved dramatically.

“The co-operation we get from local people, both in terms of them warning us of potential threats and in our work to redevelop the local environment, has made the province a much safer place than before.”

Robbie added: “It is extremely satisfying to see a positive change in the country. The Afghan security forces - the police and the army - have both shown willingness to work with us and a renewed energy for providing security in their regions. It’s the perfect foundation for our eventual aim of handing security responsibilities over to the Afghans for good.”

When he is not on an overseas posting, Captain Grieve is based with 5 SCOTS in Canterbury, Kent, but his real home is Monifieth, where his parents Hazel and Donald, brother Alister and sister Amy live. He is due to marry his fiancee Rona Longair next year.

He attended The High School of Dundee before joining the Army in 2002 and has served tours in Northern Ireland and Iraq, as well as Afghanistan. In his spare time he enjoys playing rugby, golf and football.

Robbie added: “I’m enjoying the tour, but I’m also really looking forward to getting back home and seeing everyone again. My fiancee and I are due to get married in July and I cannot wait for our big day.”