British Apaches Prevent Disruptions Of Afghan Elections
From the British Ministry of Defense Website (June 20, 2009): Following a Chinook and Apache helicopter assault on the Babiji region of Helmand Province, troops from The Black Watch 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (3 SCOTS) and the Light Dragoons have linked up to continue flushing insurgents out of the area. This latest assault which is part of Operation PANCHAI PALANG, or Panther’s Claw, was part of a strategic push to flush the insurgents out of towns and villages in order to secure them for Afghanistan’s Presidential and Provincial elections taking place next month. The air assault, launched under the cover of darkness and involving four Chinooks and two Apache helicopters, also resulted in the discovery of a large narcotics laboratory in which the soldiers found 750 kg of a precursor base chemical required to create heroin and 5kg of a morphine derivative substance. After securing the site north of Lashkar Gah, and handing it over to Afghan-led counter narcotics police the 140 soldiers from 3 SCOTS continued their advance to clear the land ahead and push north to meet with the Light Dragoon’s Battlegroup, who had been working their way down from the Nahr e Burgha canal for the previous two weeks. Operation PANCHAI PALANG began in June 2009 with the Welsh Guards Battlegroup securing several crossing points along the Shamalan canal and 3 SCOTS doing the same along the Nahr e Burgha.
Bob Ferguson Photo
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visited Wattisham Airfield in July 2009, to present service medals to soldiers returning home from Afghanistan. More than 100 members of 4 Regiment Army Air Corps received their medals following a tour of duty in Afghanistan between May 2008 and May 2009. 4 Regiment flies Apaches helicopters. The Prince spoke to troops and handed out the medals in his capacity as colonel in chief of the Army Air Corps. Following the presentation, the Prince addressed the soldiers, sat in the cockpit of a Apache helicopter newly-upgraded with a Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight, handed out a few long service awards to long-serving members of the Army and rejoined the main reception to talk to troops and their families.