by JULIE-ANN SPENCE
Lance Corporal Robert Baxter received his medal from Brigadier Eddie Forster-Knight, Provost Marshall (Army) during a parade at Normandy Barracks, Sennelager, Germany Pics by Staff Sergeant Ian Houlding
Lance Corporal Robert Baxter, 20, with his Afghanistan medal.
A SOLDIER from Dromore has been presented with his Afghanistan operational medal after a demanding six month tour in which he provided a vital military policing role in support of the NATO led mission to prepare the Afghans to fully take over the security of their own country.
Lance Corporal Robert Michael Baxter, 20, serves with the Territorial Army and was attached to 110 Provost Company 1st Regiment Royal Military Police which provided a range of specialist policing and security support across Helmand Province between September and April. Often based on the front line in Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) and check points, personnel were primarily involved in working with and training members of the Afghan National Police Force, investigating possible insurgent activity apprehending and guarding suspected insurgents, partnering members of the Afghan Army and also taking on an infantry role.
The former Brownlow Integrated College student who joined the TA in 2009 received his medal at a special ceremony at his barracks in Paderborn in Northern Germany.
I started off my tour in the Lash Ka Ghar Training Centre mentoring Afghan uniformed police; it was a very unique experience," he explained. "We were split into teams, each responsible for around 100 students. They were very eager to learn and appreciative of what you were trying to do for them. I also spent a month deployed in a close support role with the infantry."
110 Provost Company supported 20th Armoured Brigade during the tour and were instrumental in helping to ensure that the Afghan Police and Army will be ready to fully take over the security of Helmand by 2015.
Robert, who hopes to join the regular Army, added: "It was absolutely fantastic receiving my medal, I had a real sense of pride and achievement."
The parade, which included music from the Band of The Prince of Wales' Division and was watched by families, was attended by Brigadier Eddie Forster-Knight, Provo Marshall (head of the Royal Military Police) who presented medals.
Addressing the soldiers during the ceremony, Brigadier Forster-Knight, said: "I'd like to welcome and thank 110 Provost Company. Afghanistan is a very difficult operational challenge, our job is to get on and deliver operational success.
I have seen significant changes on the ground with the development of the Afghan security forces and the police. This is core work to us and it is very clear that you have done an outstanding job in delivering operational success.
I also want to thank the families who are here today. You will have been through a difficult time; we do not underestimate the support you provide to personnel on operations. We could not function as soldiers without the support of our families.
Finally I'd like to thank the Rear Operational Group of 110 Provost Company. It is a difficult job when you are the element left behind when your comrades deploy. Thank you all."