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Soldier helps Afghans rebuild their lives

By Herald Express  |  Posted: September 21, 2012

AFGHAN TOUR: Brad Roe in southern Afghanistan

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A TORQUAY soldier is just about to end a tour in southern Afghanistan helping Afghans rebuild the country.

Brad Roe, 47, from Crownhill Park in Chelston, is currently serving a six-month tour of duty which is due to finish next month.

Captain Roe is serving with the Royal Devon Yeomanry which is based at the Territorial Army centre in Paignton.

They are based in the Nad-e Ali district of Helmand Province helping Afghans try to rebuild their future as a secure and stable country.

Captain Roe said: "Serving with the Yeomanry has brought me such joy over the past years and this tour is the culmination of all those years' training.

"Afghanistan is an amazing place, full of diversity and rich in history.

"The base we are at is an old mud walled fort which the British built more than 130 years ago. It's crumbling now but the history still oozes out of each tower and every doorway.

"Seeing the difference we're making to the local people is the real prize. Helmand Province is a rural agricultural society so being able to move around safely is key to the population.

"People can go to the market now to sell their produce without fear of the Taliban.

"I went on a patrol through Shawqat market and couldn't help but notice the smiles and happiness of the local people here.

"Two years ago, this market was targeted by the Taliban and was completely bombed out.

"The locals were too scared to come here and the economy of the whole area suffered as a result."

Captain Roe has run Crownhill Renovations Building Contractors for ten years and has taken a year out of running his business to serve his country.

His wife Carolyn, 45, is currently looking after the day-to-day operations of the business.

She said: "I'm so proud of Brad and all of the family are behind him 100 per cent.

"What he's doing out in Afghanistan is making a real difference to the freedom of the local people."

They have two sons, James, 17, and Tom, 21 who is also a serving trooper in the same squadron.

Tom said:"I hope it's not too hot out there. Once you put on all the body armour and fill up the pouches with ammunition and water, it weighs a ton.

"I can't imagine how the boys are coping out there running around in the heat and dust all day. Dad phoned the other day and said it was 45 degrees in the shade. I just hope he brings some of the sunshine back with him when he comes home."

James added: "Dad phones home every now and again so his being away is not too bad for me. He managed to get home on leave a few months ago which really pleased mum because he got back one day before their 25th wedding anniversary."

Captain Roe added: "I'm planning on having a holiday to wind down a bit then I will be back to work. It will be great to get back to the squadron as well after such a long time away. Many of our guys will have been on duty at the Olympic sailing centre in Weymouth so it will be great to see them."

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