Perth soldier Chris Stewart gets ready for Operation Shader later this month

Members from 4 Scots protect a forward Operating Base (FOB)

A Perth soldier joined more than 250 soldiers from the 4th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland who have just completed a week-long mission rehearsal exercise at Bodney Training Camp in Norfolk.

Highlander Chris Stewart, who is based at Bourlon Barracks in Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire, said the exercise was helping to hone the skills they need before deploying to Iraq later this month on Operation Shader on a six-month tour.

He said this would be his first operational tour and they had been training really hard for the last year in preparation.

“It’s going to be a pretty important tour. Our role in theatre will be to provide the security for the Al Asad airbase and to develop the military capability of our Iraqi partners. This exercise will help confirm that we are ready to deploy.

“I am really looking forward to it and it will be a real challenge. Hopefully we will get into a good routine out there which should help the time to go pretty quickly.”

The Al Asad airbase is an Iraqi and United States Armed Forces base in western Iraq.

And according to his Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Neil Tomlin, the soldiers would have the opportunity to work with a variety of people training the Iraqis and developing all their skills. They would also have the opportunity to work with the Americans and the Danish battlegroup.

Lt. Col. Tomlin said he had deliberately chosen a mix of soldiers who had been on combat operational tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan in the past with younger soldiers who were facing their first operational tour in the Middle East.