Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Ready for Battle; Our Soldiers Speak of War Training on Harsh Prairie

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Ready for Battle; Our Soldiers Speak of War Training on Harsh Prairie

Article excerpt

Byline: SARAH JUDD

TEESSIDE soldiers bound for Afghanistan in 2010 have opened their hearts about being away from family and coping with extreme weather, as they train in Canada.

Facing sleepless nights in tents during stifling heat, stormy winds or icy temperatures, the courageous army personnel still manage to keep up their spirits.

In Canada, the soldiers are at least free from the worry of relentless gunfire - something that could become part of everyday life on their tour of Afghanistan.

However, many comrades, like brave Mark Aire, 25, from Middlesbrough, are unfazed at the prospect of going to the Middle Eastern country.

Speaking of his forthcoming duties in Afghanistan, he simply says: "It's all right, it's something I know I have to do.

"It's a bit scary but you can't think about that. It's something we just have to get on with." Mark, of 4 Mechanised Brigade, has been in the army for eight years. He is training in Canada for the fifth time.

Like so many brave families with relatives serving in dangerous conflicts, Mark says his mum and dad are "pretty much all right with the idea" of him going to Afghanistan.

"My dad used to be in the army so they understand what has to be done," Mark explains.

Speaking to TFM Radio's Hayley Brewer, who spent a week in Canada with our heroes, Mark told of the extreme heat and stormy nights in a tent.

Mark said: "You get a real mix of weather. Some days have been nice and hot and then it's changed quickly and been extremely cold.

"I've been sleeping out on the prairie with the lads for 13 nights now. The other night it was really windy. The tents were nearly blowing away." Captain Jay Nathan is an army doctor for the Royal Dragoon Guards Battlegroup in Canada.

Usually based at Catterick Garrison, Jay's wife lives in Yarm although he hails from London. …

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