4 months away. What was I doing?

OwnedbyChanter

With out my boys life would be bland
Apr 16, 2009
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So as some of you know I am in the RAF and have just come back from a 4 month tour of Iraq.

This is my second tour of Iraq my first was in 2008 for 6 months to Baghdad. This time I was in north Iraq the Kurdistan region called Erbil and only for 4 months.

My role out there was to look after 144 military people (141 male, 3 female). I was the chief clerk and cashier. Our role out there was to train the Peshmeger (Kurdish Army) in the fight against ISIS.

My job as a cashier was to control the purse. I was responsible for purchasing all items required by the deployment (det) ranging from obtain phone credit. buying tea/coffee and wood to build phone booths. I even had to source and find a Christmas tree. I also went to weekly meeting with our coalition partners in order to agree how to spend the tiny pot of money that we had to keep the office building running!! not to mention basic cashier work and attempting to balance the books at the end of each week. I also had to write cash security plans and cash convoy plans.

The other and more interesting part of my job was the chief clerk as the only Admin person there my role was huge and very varied. I dealt with 4 compassionate cases which resulted in persons having to be sent home the quickest route available. To many 'private' talks with lads that just needed to talk to someone about stuff!. I had to arrange for the drug testing team to come out and complete a 100% test. This involved writing the CDT plan from nothing.

As the det had only been running for 8 months I also had to produce and pass a Assurance Plan making sure that even through we are deployed we are still conforming to the same standards that a Gen Office would do in the UK. It was hard work getting all the information together constantly reaching back to the UK for guidance as I had not worked in a Gen Office for a couple of years and things change.

Just keeping on top of the changes in the UK and making sure the troops I looked after received the latest information as well as welfare, obtaining and applying for welfare grants as there is just no money any more.

It was a huge learning curve having never been a cashier before, working with Army infantry and the other side of the RAF that the public do not see was a real opportunity that I am glad got to experience.

The camp was really small you could walk from one end to the other in under 5 seconds and with that many people you don't get any time to yourself. The food was OK but just no enough the portions were tiny and when you are training twice a day you need the food. The lads all dropped to much weight regardless of what food they got their hands on (we were being feed by the USA). The gym was not really a gym as such it was an open sided tent with some mats, weights and a beaver fit frame. We got a running machine after about 2 months and 1 stepper so not a lot. The first couple of months I could run on the air strip but then it got to cold and wet. The days were very long it was normally 8-8 but on flight nights I would finish when the plane got in which was anywhere between 0100 and 0500 and no I didn't get a day off the next day. I worked 4 months straight through with out a lay in or day off.

I was tough having to learn on the job. It was lonely as only 3 females and being the senior rank I could talk to the other two about some work issues. The internet was really poor it dropped out more than it was in and you only got 30 minutes a night when it did connect and it would drop off all the time. Plus only 30 phone call a week. That was tough.

But I am home the boys look good as do the dogs the house was tidy but OMG how dirty!!! and best of all I saved loads of money.

That is the bits I can say about it may not sound much but it was one of the best jobs I have had the pleasure of doing.
 

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Skib

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Dec 21, 2003
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Extremely interesting first hand account OBC. My OH is an Arabist and read your post too. Quite odd, the place of Christmas trees in the Middle east? Very glad you got hold of one. I remember a hotel in Palmyra where they had a tree lit up in November (presumably to welcome European tourists). So sad that all that has been destroyed. Both the Syrian people and their antiquities. OH says it is not generally known how little pockets of British forces are out there doing the sort of things you did. Thank you for posting.
 

Ale

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Feb 8, 2012
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Thank-you for going into more detail about what you got up to. Very interesting, sounds like a very hard 4 months of work! Do you get some time off now to make up for all the time worked there?
 

Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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Thank you OBC, Im always humbled when I hear about deployments and how many hours you are expected to work under extreamly tough conditions, I'm not sure I could do it, but somehow you and so many others find it in you to do it so not all of us have to.
 

Mary Poppins

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Oct 10, 2004
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That sounds amazing. I am so jealous that you have such a worthwhile job, I really am so very envious of you.

I wish that I did something worthwhile - all I do is write performance reports and business plans that no-one really reads or cares about. I am always in a dilemma about my working life. Is it better to go back to work full time and try and salvage a proper career for myself at the expense of my children having to do breakfast/after school club everyday and holiday club during holidays, or am I best to carry on as I am in a part time (2 day per week) job that I hate but means I am there for my children every day? My children will win every time but it doesn't stop me feeling that I have thrown away what was once a promising career and am now stuck in a never ending dead end job.
 
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