A surprise Christmas Day visit from ISAF Commander General Stanley McChrystal brightened up festive celebrations for the soldiers in a remote corner of Afghanistan as patrol base SANDFORD welcomed one of world’s most senior military officers for a cup of tea.
SANDFORD is in the heart of the Helmand province in the fertile 'Green Zone' close to the Helmand River. The soldiers that occupy the patrol base are from the 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (2YORKS) and the Afghan National Army and living alongside them is a small element from the Danish Army.
General McChrystal, who is the Commander of all ISAF troops in Afghanistan, spread some Christmas cheer amongst the soldiers from 2 YORKS on a whistle-stop tour of Afghanistan on December 25th.
Traditionally senior officers visit their troops in the morning to wish them all a Happy Christmas – usually with a mug of tea topped up with rum. Afghanistan is an alcohol-free zone for troops but this didn’t stop General McChrystal from enjoying a ‘cuppa’ with the 2 YORKS soldiers and stopping for a few photos.
For the soldiers of SANDFORD it has been a particularly difficult tour. They have been operating in very austere conditions and have been victim of countless insurgent attacks and IED strikes. The surprise visit of such a senior military figure on Christmas Day boosted morale immeasurably and will be remembered by all in SANDFORD.
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Notes to Editors:
* UK Forces are deployed to Afghanistan in support of the UN authorised, NATO led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission and as part of the US-led Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). UK operations in Afghanistan are being conducted under the name Operation HERRICK.
* Task Force Helmand is the name given to UK-led forces in Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan.
* Follow Task Force Helmand at Army Frontline News; on the Helmand Blog (also on YouTube at Helmand Blog YouTube channel); and on Twitter.
* For more information, contact the Task Force Helmand Media Operations staff on: firstname.lastname@example.org
* The 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards) deployed to Afghanistan as the Operational Mentoring Liaison Team (OMLT) Battle group on 23 Sep 09 for a 6 month operational tour returning late Mar 10. The 2nd Battalion is currently based in Weeton Barracks near Preston as part of 11 (Light) Brigade.
* The Yorkshire Regiment was formed on 6 June 2006 with the merger of The Prince of Wales Own Regiment of Yorkshire, The Green Howards and Duke of Wellingtons Regiment, becoming the 1st, 2nd & 3rd Battalions respectively.
* For up-to-date info on The Yorkshire Regiment please visit their website: http://www.army.mod.uk/infantry/regiments/3474.aspx
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