Don Spinks - Level of threat and ground truth
In Kandahar, the sirens would go off. One of the buildings where we were housed in in one of the camps there, it received a full-on rocket strike in sort of the top area, the accommodation where the VIPs would visit. So the risk was always there. TK, yes. So Tarin Kowt, under attack. Not often, maybe once or twice, but you'd sort of either come in after or before an attack.
Kabul, there were certainly some very serious breaches in the outer perimeter, not while we were there, but at various times the insurgents had taken out the first wall and then entered the base and then left to the troops to tidy it up. So it was something that that constant threat was always there.
And certainly out on patrol with our forces down in Uruzgan Province, we certainly engaged in kinetic activity on patrols and stuff, but not direct firefights, if I could say that. But we weren't supposed to be doing that, the general and the RSM Force… it's ground truth, and if you knew my boss at the time, he was very hands-on, and there were probably many who thought that that wasn't the smartest thing to do, but that was just his style.
That was his leadership and we certainly stayed out on the patrol bases and went out with the troops, be it vehicle mounted patrols, either helicopter or actual dismounted patrols…And I'd have to say, I mean, we were sort of almost like voyeurs going out, but it was really just to get a sense for the community, the environment, and just to, I suppose, have the opportunity to engage and talk with the troops and just experience a little bit of what they were experiencing.