by NEIL GREENLEES
Army Captain - Captain Paul Martin, a former
pupil of Wallace High School.
A FORMER pupil of Wallace High School who is
now an army officer has paid a warm tribute to his Royal Irish
Regiment comrades who saved his life when he was seriously
injured in Afghanistan last year.
Captain Paul Martin (30), of the Regiment's
First Battalion, still has bits of shrapnel embedded in his body
following a Taleban mortar attack which occurred in Helmand
Despite this traumatic experience he is
currently taking part in 'Grand Prix', a major six
week training camp being held in an arid Kenyan tundra
'Grand Prix' is regarded as vital training
for his battalion's next deployment to Afghanistan in March.
Captain Martin said his injuries had left him
in no doubt as to the value of such exercises.
"If it had not been for the quick thinking
and training of my colleagues I probably would not have been
here today," he added.
"The conditions in Kenya are very challenging
and this will hold the guys in good stead when we deploy to
Afghanisation in March next year."
Captain Martin joined the army in 2004 and
has served all over the world including Iraq, Afghanistan and
His battalion is around 600 strong and due to
its size, 'Grand Prix' has been broken down into a number of
'stands' each manned by a company of around 130 soldiers.
Each stand concentrates on a certain aspect
of warfare training and the four companies will experience all
of these during the exercise's six week duration.
The Battalion's Commanding Officer Lieutenant
Colonel Ed Freely is more than happy with the training.
"I've seen them progress through the section,
platoon and now to the company stage attack. The progression is
very evident," he added.
"I'm very happy the air assault companies are now on track to
be in a position that I can combine them with all of the Battle