A BRACKLEY solider has spoken of the ‘beautiful but harsh’ nature of Afghanistan after he received his service medal from the Duke of York this month.
Lance Corporal Stephen Marshal, 23, received his medal on Thursday, December 8 during a ceremony at the regiment’s headquarters in Germany.
He was deployed to Afghanistan alongside his comrades in the 9th and 12th Royal Lancers during their tour which took place between April and November.
Stephen, who is married to Emily, 23 from the Isle of White, was part of an advisory team teamed up with 150 members of the Afghan National Army (ANA). He said it was a challenge over coming cultural difference but he had begun to build bonds and trust with the Afghans.
During regular foot patrols Stephen often came under enemy fire but he said he is looking for to going back and added: “It’s a country that sucks you in, beautiful but harsh, you could be fighting for your life one moment or being bored doing nothing the next, the country is about extremes.”
There are around 9,500 troops stationed in Afghanistan this Christmas and the MOD has shipped out a tonne of sprouts, 18,500 mince pies and 1.35 tonnes of Christmas Pudding.