Below is an informal interview i had with on of the soldiers in 1 Rifles. Towards the end of the interview answering the questions starting to bother him, i could tell that he was beginning to feel quite uncomfortable.. During this i remembered about what Matthew Partington said so i gave him some time to think in between each questions and didn’t rush him. I’m happy with the answers I got and i can tell that the responses are completely honest due to how he reacted. It was quite difficult for me but i’m happy i had the confidence to speak to a soldier as i feel it gives my images much more context and backs them up.
Why did you decide to join the Army?
I wanted to prove to myself that i could cope in certain situations. I feel this is probably one of the main reasons why most people decide to join up. Guys tend to play call of duty and other war games and it makes you think what you would be like in those situations.
How many times have you been out to Afgan and what is your role?
I’ve been out twice, 2 7 months tours so that’s 14 months all together. I help to provide security for locals by patrolling/deliberate operations (strike up, found out information where the enemy are, where they store their weapons etc). We build up relationships with the local community which allows them to trust us which helps us a lot with our job.
What is the atmosphere like when you’re out on tour?
It’s really busy, the work flow is pretty constant it does mainly depend on peoples moods, some people are missing home some people are fine with the whole situation. I quite like it in some respect because it’s a simple life, you go on patrol, go on guard then go to the gym or sleep. It does bore the shit out of me though, that’s one of the worst things about it is the boredom. Day in day out 7 months doing the same thing.
Briefly describe the conditions that you’d have to live in and whether you like or dislike it them
It varies depending on your job out there. Camp Basiten is the size of a small town which has pretty much everything there. Engineers, drivers, mechanics and those type of people stay in that camp. Then there are patrol bases which are quite small, they’re alright they have a TV and electricity usually they’ll have a small tent kitchen. Then you get check points which is basically where the locals live which is disgusting. It’s stinking.
Does the thought of being at war scare you? Did it ever used to worry you and has that changed since you’ve been out?
You don’t know what to expect. I have been scared, not in anticipation but when they have given you a job then they explain to you that you’re going into a really dodgy place then that’s obviously a bit scary. There’s a saying ‘fear will keep you alive’ so it keeps you on your toes.
Do you think about and miss home often when your in Afgan?
Quite a lot yeh, not to the point that it bothers me because i just have to carry on with my job and what i do. I don’t have much time to think about home.
What do you like and dislike about being part of the Army?
I don’t like being away all the time. We’re always moving around to go on tour, training and to do courses i’m just beginning to get fed up with it.
What I like about it is that it gives you real life experiences. I see normal everyday problems that people have and i just find that these things aren’t a big deal when you’ve seen how people live in other parts of the world. I like how it keeps you fit and gives you a structure to life and stability. I’ve always got income, i have some where to live (camp) and i don’t need to worry about bills etc.