My role in the fight against Daesh
Reservist Captain Clark is deployed to Baghdad in Iraq on Operation SHADER — here’s his story…
As the Operations Officer in the British Headquarters for Operation SHADER, it is clear that my role, whether directly or by enabling others, has contributed to the enduring defeat of Daesh.
Operation SHADER is the operational code name given to British military operations undertaken as part of the US-led global coalition in Iraq and Syria.
The experience of deploying on an operation is quite disorientating, taking a while for your body to catch up with a different time zone and environment.
My deployment started with an early morning drive to Brize Norton before flying to Cyprus for an afternoon arrival. After changing planes I arrived in Baghdad later that same night.
Early the following morning, I took a helicopter to my final destination and went straight into my handover.
Ensuring that Daesh is unable to re-establish itself across Iraq and Syria, ultimately restricts its ability to spread extremism and related terrorist activity across the world.
The process of preparing for a deployment like this sees you go through a transition in mindset that prepares you for the months to come.
It does take some getting used to, but you quickly get to know the other regular and reserve personnel going through the same process and build new relationships with them, as well as an understanding of the different opportunities for deployment around the world.
By the very nature of working in an international coalition, there have been many opportunities to work with other nations and organisations. This naturally brings with it the opportunity to share thoughts, experiences and ways of doing things that are beneficial to each other.
For example, we were invited to be on the ranges with the US Army. It was interesting to share our different practices, including methods of coaching.
Whilst the Americans are excellent shots, I did achieve the highest ‘Expert’ rating for my shooting — upholding our own national honour!
A highlight for me out on this deployment has been the additional activities that are available to get involved in. I took part in a charity challenge, Everest at Home, for the Gurkha Welfare Trust.
We ran up the vertical height of Everest (8,848m), taking 23 days and just over 11 hours in total — raising £8,500.
When I finish this deployment, I am looking forward to relaxing at home. You miss the simple things, so being able to chill out and spend time with my wife, will be the first thing I do.