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Afghan Super Tucanos delivered

First aircraft delivered from the USA

The first four of 20 Embraer A-29 Super Tucanos for the Afghan Air Force were delivered on January 15. The US Air Force’s 81st Fighter Squadron at Moody AFB, is training the initial cadre of Afghan pilots on the type.

The introduction of the A-29 via Sierra Nevada Corpora-tion (SNC) to train Afghan Air Force pilots in the skills of close air support (CAS) suffered significant delays when the rival bidder, Beechcraft, took the decision to the federal court. After months of wrangling, the A-29 came out on top. With US forces fighting two very different wars in 2007 against insurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US Air Force began to focus on various projects involving irregular warfare, out of which was born the Air Warfare Tiger Team. This was a USAF-wide initiative that went to all the combatant commands look-ing to identify their requirements in the insurgency arena.

Out of this program emerged requirements such as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), which was partly met by the Beechcraft MC-12W; other requirements included light airlift, leading to the PZL C-145A Skytruck that is now flown by the Air Force Special Operations Air Warfare Center (AF-SOAWC). The light airlift category also includes the Cessna 208 Caravan, a type that makes sound financial sense for countries that cannot afford to fly an air-craft as large as the C-130 Hercules but still need an airlift capability to fly out of austere airfields.

A second program was focused on light attack, designated O/A-X or Observer Attack Platform. The Tiger Team now looked around to see what was required in terms of sensors, endurance, weapons and other desired items, such as a data-link.

While the Tiger Team was running the irregular warfare concept, Air Combat Command (ACC) was working on a similar project titled Light Attack/Armed Re-connaissance (LAAR). The Tiger Team aligned the two projects to create an O/A-X enabler concept at ACC, which now reflected an Air Forces Central Com-mand (AFCENT) requirement for a Light Air Support program. The Tiger Team fed in the requirements and capabilities from both teams to a single program. However, with the USAF operating large numbers of A-10s, F-15s and F-16s that already have a significant air-to-ground attack capability it was obvious from an early stage that the airframe numbers required would not be significant in the long run. However, there remained a requirement for a LAAR squadron to serve in an air advisory capacity; very similar to the 81st Fighter Squadron role today.

While these programs were running there were other projects that would have an impact on the LAAR and LAS programs. For instance, the US Navy and Air Force were jointly working on ‘Imminent Fury’, a light attack program to support forces in Afghanistan. A concept of leasing four A-29s and deploying to Af-ghanistan for a combat demonstration was developed, though this was not funded and fell by the wayside while the LAAR and LAS programs progressed.

The aircraft were now to be solely Air Force owned, with 12 primary assigned aircraft (PAA) and another three for maintenance training. The vision was that the Air Force would serve as advisors to countries that wanted the same capa-bilities as the planned LAAR squadron. The first customer was Afghanistan.

Eventually the LAAR program was defunded since Congress decided there wasn’t a sufficient requirement for an air advisory squadron. However, as the LAS squadron is a combatant command vetted requirement and is run using the Afghanistan Security Force Fund (ASFF), it utilizes an entirely different funding stream and was allowed to continue.

In the end, there was only a requirement for 20 aircraft for the Afghan Air Force. The award for this contract was given in December 2011 but was pro-tested by Hawker Beechcraft through the Judge Advocates Office (JAO).

Eventually the decision was made to re-bid the whole contract. According to a senior officer in the Tiger Team this led to some turmoil: the Air Force had to reassign the LAS team as well as bring in a whole new team to conduct the bid-ding process all over again. Although the process was shortened it still took an additional 18 months.

The full version of Combat Aircraft’s coverage of the 81st FS appeared in our July 2015 issue, available here:

www.combataircraft.net/view_issue.asp?ID=6384

Desert Storm – 25 Years on

F-15C Eagle’s finest hour

F-15C FROM THE COCKPIT

In our March issue, in production as the 25th Anniversary of the beginning of Operation Desert Storm’ is marked, Warren Thompson provides a fascinating look back at some of the F-15C ‘kills’ during the campaign.

The F-15C was a major force for the coalition in ‘Desert Storm’ and ended the war with the most air-to-air kills.

After the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on August 1, 1990, US Air Force Eagles began arriving in the Gulf on August 6, when the 1st Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW) sent its jets to Dhahran Air Base in Saudi Arabia. Initially, the F-15E Strike Eagle did not deploy, due to a lack of targeting pods for its LANTIRN system, which was being installed at the time. The second round of F-15C deployments to Saudi Arabia began in November 1990 when the 33rd TFW deployed its 58th Tactical Fighter Squadron (TFS) to Tabuk AB from its home at Bitburg AB, Germany. As 1990 came to a close, the number of F-15C squadrons increased as a plan evolved to control the skies over Iraq and Kuwait.

The 53rd TFS deployed out of Bitburg on December 20, 1990 during the final stages of Operation ‘Desert Shield’, which involved the preparations for the war ahead. The 53rd’s base was to be Al Kharj AB, also known as Prince Sultan AB.

Once the Eagles had settled in, they began to fly combat air patrols (CAPs) and then commenced intensive training missions that were co-ordinated as part of the much larger force that would be employed when the fighting began. On the first night of the air war, January 17, 1991, six enemy aircraft were shot down over Iraq and the first to fall was an Iraqi Air Force MiG-29 downed by Capt John Kelk of the 58th TFS.

Ten days later, the air war over Iraq was in full force when element leads in the same flight downed four enemy aircraft. Capt Jay ‘OP’ Denney bagged two Iraqi MiG-23s while Capt Ben ‘Coma’ Powell shot down another MiG-23 followed by a Mirage F1. All four kills registered that night were credited to the 53rd TFS. Twenty-five years on, Capt Jay ‘OP’ Denney recalls the events of January 27, 1991, when he and his wingman flew what was probably the most successful single engagement of the entire war.

STEP-CHANGE FOR THE MARINE CORPS

‘The F-35B’s ability to conduct operations from expeditionary airstrips or sea-based carriers provides our nation with its first fifth-generation strike fighter, which will transform the way we fight and win’ Gen Joseph Dunford

On the last day of July last year, the US Marine Corps finally declared initial operational capability (IOC) for its F-35B Lightning II aircraft. In other words, the amphibious warfare specialists now have a squadron of 10 F-35Bs ready for deployment anywhere in the world.

The achievement was recorded by Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 (VMFA-121) ‘Green Knights’, based at MCAS Yuma, Arizona, which became the first squadron to become operational with any F-35 variant, and followed a five-day Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI), which concluded on July 17.

The ORI saw VMFA-121 pilots take three written exams that tested them on immediate action procedures, general aircraft knowledge, and tactics. Then, during four flights and three rides in the simulator, the aircrews’ ability to conduct specified missions was assessed. The ‘Green Knights’ maintainers were also put through their paces, with an examination of the maintenance and supply programs currently in place.

The 10 VMFA-121 jets are in the Block 2B configuration, ‘with the requisite performance envelope and weapons clearances, to include the training, sustainment capabilities, and infrastructure to deploy to an austere site or a ship’, announced Gen Joseph Dunford, Commandant of the Marine Corps. This means the aircraft can fly close air support (CAS), offensive and defensive counter-air, air interdiction, assault support escort, and armed reconnaissance missions, either within a Marine Air-Ground Task Force, or in support of joint forces.

While the path toward IOC has taken more than two years, the exact requirements for IOC declaration were laid out in the June 2014 Joint Report to Congressional Defense Committees. In the run-up to IOC, the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) warplane was put through its paces during seven weeks of flight operations on board the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1), during large-force exercises, and in an operational evaluation (Opeval) that included multiple live ordnance sorties.

View from the top

Speaking to journalists on the eve of the declaration, Lt Gen Jon Davis, the USMC’s Deputy Commandant for Aviation, was in bullish mood. Davis highlighted the aircraft’s showing in the CAS and armed reconnaissance roles, where it is already performing ‘very, very well — great accuracy with the hits’. Meanwhile, the exchange rates and kill rates recorded by the F-35B against adversary aircraft in the course of a multi-mission profile had been ‘incredibly impressive’.

Since the Lightning II has been designed from the ground up with low observables in mind, Davis was at pains to point out that the CAS and armed recce scenarios in Opeval had involved a very high level of threat. ‘We would never put a ‘legacy’ platform in that kind of threat environment, but these guys went and did it’, Davis remarked, before noting the F-35B’s potential to conduct the type of ‘Scud’-hunting missions flown in the 1991 Gulf War — and to do so unescorted, even if targets were defended by high-end surface-to-air missiles. During Opeval, F-35Bs armed with Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM), Laser JDAMs and GBU-12 laser-guided bombs flew ‘Syria-type’ missions, but with the addition of medium and high levels of threat.

‘The guys did so well with the weapons we gave them’, Davis enthused. Asked whether the F-35B can do what an A-10 does in the CAS environment, Davis was sanguine: yes, it can match the ‘Warthog’, with or without the gun. Davis also pointed out that the highly relevant Small Diameter Bomb capability that the A-10 lacks is one that will be added to the F-35B in the future.

While the USMC describes the declaration of IOC as ‘the most significant milestone achievement in F-35 program history’, in truth, it’s simply the beginning of what will be a long path toward full operational capability (FOC), slated for the fourth quarter of 2017 — Davis quoted a window of plus or minus six months within which to achieve this. The roadmap has been especially complex, not just as a result of the game-changing technology involved, but also because developmental testing and operational flying have been run concurrently. It’s a concept that has had its critics, but one that industry and the military agree is vital to get working Joint Strike Fighters in the hands of the troops in the most expeditious way.

There will be many more hurdles to clear before the F-35B is mature enough to take its place as the centerpiece of Marine tactical aviation, replacing the AV-8B Harrier II, F/A-18 Hornet, and EA-6B Prowler. As a result, Lt Gen Davis has an extensive list of items that will need to be ticked off before the aircraft starts to truly fulfill its potential. On Davis’s personal wish-list right now are the Small Diameter Bomb II (SDB II, ‘something I’d like sooner rather than later’), video streaming capability, four-ship data fusion (currently, the Marines are making do with two-ship fusion), and a pilot’s helmet with full visual acuity at night (i.e. with night-vision goggle capability).

The current Gen 2 helmet can be used for night work, including deck landings and aerial refueling, but the secondary night-vision camera lacks acuity. Rockwell Collins announced delivery of the first Generation 3 (Gen 3) helmet-mounted display system (HMDS) for the Lightning II to the Joint Program Office (JPO) on August 11. Before the new helmet comes on line with USMC units, Davis still judges F-35B performance with the existing Gen 2 helmet as ‘better than a ‘legacy’ platform with a Gen 4 helmet-mounted sight.’

As regards data fusion, latency issues with the current Block 2B software mean that four aircraft can’t be ‘tied together’, at least not effectively. In the interim, the Marines are working on the basis of two groups of two interconnected F-35Bs (known as 2+2). ‘There’s no latency at all with the first two airplanes; there’s no latency problems with ships three and four’, Davis explained. ‘It’s when I try and tie all four together that sometimes a target is kind of slightly misplaced on the ground, or it’s not but I’m not confident in 100 per cent of the cases exactly where it’s supposed to be.’

Davis expects Lockheed Martin to complete a software patch for the data fusion issue within six months to a year. Once this is up and running, four aircraft sharing data between them will significantly improve targeting accuracy, especially against moving ground targets. The four-ship data-fusion capability is also a prerequisite of the forthcoming Block 3F software standard.

In light of controversy surrounding the Lightning II’s supposed deficiencies in aerial combat, Davis took the opportunity to make the case for the F-35B against the nimble F-16. ‘The F-16 is a great airplane. But I would not want to get into a full-up fight [against an F-35B]. The Air Force did not change their buy from a total of 1,700 [F-35As]. They are a bunch of meat-eaters, and they are totally convinced this is the right way to go’. Davis highlighted the performance of a four-ship of F-35Bs put up against no fewer than nine bad guys — ‘It didn’t go so well for the bad guys. It went poorly for the bad guys, all of them.’

The full version of this feature appears in the October 2015 edition of Combat Aircraft.
www.combataircraft.net/view_issue.asp?ID=6378

Rich Cooper’s favourite five from 2015

CA’s special correspondant shares his best shots from the past year

Light is everything. Whether there’s none of it, streams of it, a pinpoint, the last rays or artificial swathes. When shooting military aircraft in action, there’s only so much you can control. The action unfolds very quickly and, more often than not, you have to get it right there and then – there’s no second sitting.

The five I’ve chosen for 2015 were hard. I love shooting military hardware in all conditions (sometimes the worse the better).

I settled on this set, showcasing a range of aerial assets from all walks of life in a cross-section of settings. Pictured here during incredible sunset air-to-air is a fully-armed MiG-29 ‘Fulcrum’ on NATO QRA over the Baltics. Sunset is something of a speciality of mine, and heading to RAF Fairford to catch the USAF B-2A Spirit on finals to the base one late summer’s night was surreal. Of course, when the sun completely disappears, the camera should not… This JAS39 Gripen on 24hr NATO QRA is shown being guarded by a Lithuanian AF Security Force member in the silent dead of night. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the delta eclipse caused by Vulcan XH558 during its final year in the air. Here, the aerospace icon is taking its tribute at RIAT in bright, summer skies. For all the impact that low, soft or midnight light can bring, sometimes the sheer clarity of the heavens provides all you need.

The MiG-21 ‘Fishbed’ left Bulgarian skies in 2015 and this shot, taken at 13,000ft from an open ramp in-between thunderstorms over Eastern Europe provided my final choice.

Rich Cooper

Special Correspondent, Combat Aircraft

More of Rich’s work can be found at:www.centreofaviationphotography.com

Growlers on the hunt

US Navy EA-18G Growlers track down targets in Syria

Details have been reported regarding US Navy EA-18G Growlers of VAQ-137 embarked with the USS Theodore Roosevelt being used to track high value targets in Iraq and Syria.

The Growler’s ‘brain’ is the Northrop Grumman AN/ALQ-218(V)2 re-ceiver that can detect, classify, and locate enemy radars and can then suppress those emissions using either anti-radiation missiles or AN/ALQ-99 jammer pods. It can also detect and disrupt communications, which has proven very useful in recent operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and against so-called Islamic State (IS).

The US Navy plans a total of 16 Growler squadrons: nine carrier-based squadrons, five land-based expeditionary squadrons, one reserve squadron, and a Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS). At present, 13 Growler squadrons have stood up, including the reserve squadron, VAQ-209 ‘Star Warriors’. Of those units, all but one (VAQ-141 ‘Shad-owhawks’ which is forward-deployed with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan) are located at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington.

The Whidbey Island units currently include eight carrier-based squadrons, the EA-18G FRS VAQ-129 ‘Vikings’, and three expeditionary units: VAQ-132 ‘Scorpions’, VAQ-135 ‘Black Ravens’ and VAQ-138 ‘Yellow Jackets’. VAQ-142 ‘Gray Wolves’ will complete transition from the Prowler this summer and will be assigned to carrier duties. VAQ-134 ‘Garudas’ will complete the transition syllabus in 2016 and will likely be allocated to CVW-1. The final Growler squadron, the yet-to-be-named VAQ-143, will begin to form sometime in 2017 and will be the final expeditionary squadron.

VAQ squadrons operate with five Growlers, one aircraft more than the previous EA-6B squadrons. Studies are currently under way to determine whether the optimal squadron size is seven or eight aircraft. According to Boeing, which has performed its own internal studies, the Growler’s effectiveness is enhanced when operating in a three-ship flight versus the single or section operations often used by Prowlers. This flight configuration allows two Growlers to fly with active pods while the third EA-18G flies in a passive mode, using its sophisticated ALQ-218 electronic gear to listen.

In July 2013, VAQ-130 ‘Zappers’ deployed aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) supporting Operation ‘Enduring Freedom’ and logged 226 combat sorties totaling 1,596 flight hours.

In August 2014, VAQ-139 ‘Cougars’ deployed aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) to provide support for air operations over Syria as part of Operation ‘Inherent Resolve’ and returned in early 2015.

VAQ-137 ‘Rooks’ is now deployed aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71).

The full version of this feature appears in the US Navy and Marine Corps Air Power Yearbook 2015, a special edition of Combat Aircraft, which is currently on sale.

https://shop.keypublishing.com/product/View/productCode/SPECCORP/US-Navy-&-Marine-Corps-Air-Power-Yearbook-2015

Hungarian Gripens

Baltic Air Policing – EXTRA

Our forthcoming December issue of Combat Aircraft includes a feature from Rich Cooper on the deployment of four 59th Tactical Fighter Wing JAS 39C Gripens from Kecskemét air base are for the first time flying the Baltic Air Policing mission out of the Lithuanian base of Šiauliai.

Here is an image taster for the feature, in the January issue, on sale from December 3.

Argentine Mirages bowing out

Special colours mark farewell event

The Argentine Air Force is marking the retirement of its charismatic Mirages, with final flights currently slated for December 3. The remaining Mirage IIIDA, a Finger IIIB and a Dagger Bs have received special markings and paint scheme for the occasion.

Photo Alexander Golz.

More to come in the February issue of Combat Aircraft.

Backfires in action over Syria

Tu-22M3s strike as part of large strategic bomber force

Some fourteen Tu-22M3 ‘Backfires’ from Mozdok attacked IS targets in the east of Syria. While Kh-555 ALCMs appear to have been used from the Tu-95MS and Kh-101s from the Tu-160s, videos suggest dumb iron bombs were used by the Tu-22M3s.

Russia is preparing its Tu-22M3 long-range bombers for several more decades of service. One by one the aircraft are undergoing major overhaul and being prepared for upgrade. Between 1969 and 1993, a total of more than 500 Tu-22Ms of all versions were built. Russia’s long-range bomber force currently includes seven squadrons of Tu-22Ms at three bases. A squadron of Tu-22M bombers has a nominal strength of 10 aircraft, but the actual number may vary slightly. Around 60-70 Tu-22Ms are estimated to remain in Russian service, with 100 more are storage, with the main operational version being the Tu-22M3 (codenamed ‘Backfire-C’).

The dedicated Cold War era Kh-22 (AS-4 ‘Kitchen’) missile is the Tu-22’s primary weapon. The Tu-22’s can carry up to three Kh-22/Kh-32 (AS-4 ‘Kitchen’) missiles, one semi-recessed on the under-fuselage BD3-45F pylon and two under the fixed wing glove on BD3-45K pylons. Free-fall bombs as used in the recent Syria raids can be carried suspended on KD3-22R or KD4-105A pylons inside the bomb bay as well as on four external MBD3-U9-68 multiple racks (two under the engine air intake trunks and two under the wings, each rack carrying six 500kg bombs). Bomb load options are, for instance, 69 x 250kg (551lb), or 42 x 500kg (1,102lb), or eight x 1,500kg (3,307lb), or 2 x 3,000kg (6,614b).

This feature appears in full in the July 2014 issue of Combat Aircraft.

Brazil Selects Gripen

On 18 December 2013 the Brazilian government announced the selection of the Gripen NG for the FX-2 replacement programme.

Brazil had been considering the Swedish fighter option in competition with offerings from Dassault and Boeing. Saab has offered a package to Brazil which includes 36 Gripen NG aircraft, financing, technology transfer, and bi-lateral collaboration between Saab and Brazil. Contractual negotiations between Saab and the Brazilian Air Force are expected to be concluded, with the order for the aircraft procurement expected to be placed, within the next year.

The news from Brazil comes in the immediate aftermath of two orders from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV), for the integration of the Meteor weapon system and also for the modification of 60 Gripen C to Gripen E (for Sweden) with initial deliveries in 2018. The Gripen NG had previously been selected by the Swiss government for procurement as a future fighter jet, subject to a referendum within Switzerland scheduled for 2014.

Current Gripen operators include Sweden, South Africa, Hungary, Czech republic, Thailand and the United Kingdom Empire Test Pilot School.

JOINING FORCES FOR OUR TROOPS

A new book is being launched at Liverpool’s Alamein Barracks on May 29th – “Joining Forces” is a compilation of stories and poems volunteered by people all over the UK. It will raise funds for Operation Shoebox, the charity which sends gift boxes to servicemen and women serving overseas and in Afghanistan.

“It’s a worthy cause that certainly deserves our support,” said Peter Quinn, managing director of United Press which is publishing the book.

Teaming up with Operation Shoebox, the publishers ran a competition to find material for the book, which will be on sale in August 2013 for £7.99 – visit unitedpress.co.uk or operationshoebox.co.uk for further details. They have each won £100 in shopping vouchers for the winners of the 3 categories – under 12s, under 18s and over 18s.

Ian Whiteway, Founder of Operation Shoebox UK, said “it always warms my heart to see the generosity of the British public in supporting our UK troops abroad in active service. We will benefit from every book sold which means more shoeboxes to send to our troops.”

“Operation Shoebox UK would like to thank Peter Quinn, Claire Watson and the staff at United Press for all their hard work in making this idea reality, without their help and expertise we wouldn’t have known where to begin. They have been instrumental in both running the competition and bringing these great poems and short stories to print this book, which we hope will go some way to providing much needed funds for Operation Shoebox UK . If you would like to pre-order copies of this book please go to our website –www.operationshoebox.co.uk/book.order.php

“We’ve received hundreds of entries from people of all ages who’ve written poems and short stories about both military and non military subjects. There were some very touching pieces of work and it’s a pity we can’t include them all. The book has contributions by over 100 people, Joining Forces will be enjoyed by all ages” said Claire Watson, editor of the book.

“Our aim is to encourage people be creative and to ‘give it a go’ – almost all our competitions are free to enter so there’s nothing to lose, our new competition is already open for entries” said Claire. To enter send up to three poems (on any subject) up to 25 lines (including blank lines) and 160 words each, by June 30th 2013 to NPA Free Competition at United Press Ltd, Admail 3735, London, EC1B 1JB or visitwww.unitedpress.co.uk or e-mail your work to info@unitedpress.co.uk or ring 0844 800 9177. To see competitions for younger poets visitwww.youngpoets.co.uk.

The winners in the three categories were presented with their awards at Alamein Barracks.

The 3 category winners are:

Emily Lewis from Cwmdare in Wales aged (Under 12’s category) – FRIENDSHIP

Liam Reynolds from Liverpool in Merseyside (Under 18’s category) – A SHOEBOX AND A SMILE

Mrs Adele Roberts from Trebanos in Wales (Over 18’s category) – WHAT DOES A SOLDIER DO?

You can read the three winning poems below

FRIENDSHIP

We walk together, through the sand,

Near forever, hand in hand,

I am I, you are you,

Though we are different, our friendship is true.

Through dark and stormy weather,

I know that you are here,

When sadness folds around me,

I am I, you are you,

Though we are different,

Our friendship is true.

From walks in the park,

To talks in the dark,

When I feel blue, I can rely on you,

I am I, you are you,

Though we are different, our friendship is true.

Whether a day at the pool, or a day at the school,

We will never cease,

We give each other peace,

I am I, you are you,

Though we are different, our friendship is true.

Together we tread, four footsteps we leave,

Around these four footsteps, our story we weave,

I am I, you are you,

Though we are different, our friendship is true.

Emily Lewis, Age 10 yrs, Aberdare, Wales

A SHOEBOX AND A SMILE

‘Twas the week before Christmas,

No snow, just sand.

Fighting in this foreign land.

Christmas seems so far away,

It’s just an ordinary soldier’s day.

No Christmas tree, no Christmas cake,

Still putting their lives at stake.

Do you have a spare shoebox?

Or maybe some unwanted gifts?

Send it to our troops, giving them a festive lift.

Toothpaste, some jellies or even new socks,

Just sort them out neatly and seal the box.

Another shoebox, for a soldier awaits,

To open on Christmas and enjoy with their mates.

Christmas in Afghan will never be pleasant,

But come on, join in, donate them a present.

It doesn’t take long but it’s sure to bring smiles,

For those not returning home for a short while.

Santa might not visit Afghanistan,

But there’s no reason we can’t give them a festive feel,

Help us to cheer up our soldiers, by supporting the shoebox appeal.

Liam Reynolds, Age 16 yrs, Liverpool, Merseyside

WHAT DOES A SOLDIER DO?

A small child once asked me

Miss, what does a soldier do?

My reply was quite a simple one,

They protect our country, me and you.

The question had me thinking,

Had I answered it correct?

I went home that evening

And researched it more, in depth.

On my return the following day,

I quietly took the child aside.

I said, I have more information

About soldiers far and wide.

As well as protecting our country

And fighting for you and me,

Their job is that of courage,

Of strength, honour and loyalty.

The child just stared, looked at me,

With eyes that opened wide.

She edged her way towards me,

Eager to learn, sat by my side.

I talked of soldiers both far and near,

Avoiding wounds, trauma, blood or war,

For this small child was innocent

And she was the tender age of four.

There are troopers, medics and snipers,

They all fight for right and wrong.

Commandos, marines and engineers,

They are courageous, brave and strong.

A soldier can also be a father,

A mother, a daughter, someone’s son.

They all represent our country,

We should thank each and every one.

The child looked at me once again,

Stood up, smiled and turned to say

Miss, I really enjoyed that story,

I would like to be a soldier, some day.

Adele Roberts, Swansea, Wales