Heroes return from Afghanistan

SOLDIERS were reunited with their families today after a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan.

At Dalton Barracks, Abingdon, 123 troops from 4 Logistic Support Regiment, including seven from 23 Pioneer Regiment, came back from their tour in Helmand Province.

Most of the troops have been based at Camp Bastion.

Lance Corporal Justin Collett, 28, of 4 Logistic Support, returned from his second tour of Afghanistan and his wife Melanie and 10-week-old baby daughter Daisy were waiting for him.

He said: "Mel and I have been together seven years and we never thought I would be away when Daisy was born. "I am over the moon to be home and see them both."

Mrs Collett, 30, added: "Justin flew home to see Daisy when she was just six days old. It was a very emotional occasion but he hasn't seen her since until today. It has been difficult."

Caroline Jones, 34, who lives on the base, was reunited with her husband, Staff Sgt Robert Jones, 33, who has been in Afghanistan since March. She said their five sons Tom, 18, David, 14, Ryan, 13, Alan, 12, and Jake, nine, have been looking forward to seeing their dad.

She added: "The boys really miss their dad when he is away. It's the second time he has been out there and I hope he does not have to go back."

David added: "Dad's really funny, it will be great to have him around."

After being reunited with his family Staff Sgt Jones said: "I am absolutely delighted to be back, it could be the last time I will be away in Afghanistan. "I tried to make sure I spoke on the phone to my family every night."

Before the troops arrived back at the base, army spokesman Chris Fletcher said: “This day is eagerly anticipated and can not come soon enough for the loved ones back at home.

“The wives and girlfriends tick each day off the calendar and look forward to this from the moment they say goodbye.

“It’s a magical moment when their loved ones come home.”

Abingdon town clerk Nigel Warner said: “I’m sure the whole town will be pleased to welcome these soldiers back into the community.

“There will be a welcome home parade in the town centre on Tuesday, November 27, which will be a great opportunity for people to come out and show their appreciation.

“The soldiers will leave the fire station in Ock Street at 10.30am and there will be a salute in the market place at 10.40am.”

Troops in 4 Logistic Support Regiment supply units on the frontline with kit, ammunitions, fuel, rations and water.

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