The 3rd Battalion of Royal Regiment of Scotland (3 SCOTS) has received a well-deserved warm welcome on their homecoming parade through the Highland capital after a six-month deployment.
Freshly returned from Iraq, 3 SCOTS – better known as the Black Watch – were deployed on a mission to train local border security forces.
The battalion provided security for the thousands of coalition troops stationed at the Al-Assad air base in an area that had in the previous three years come under attack by ISIS.
The deployment of coalition forces at the base is aimed at providing the ISF with a secure base of operations as well as the capability to conduct their own security operations targeting and protecting against ISIS.
The six-month tour saw Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) trained in infantry tactics, security procedures, first aid, advanced weapons and communication skills.
Major Finlay Anderson, 29, officer commanding Delta Company, said: “We deployed January to July of this year so we have had a couple of months of leave when we got back – well deserved for all the soldiers and now we are back into normal life.
“But before we get back into training we are have a quick celebration with a homecoming parade here and throughout Scotland.”
Mr Anderson explained the mission was to train Iraqi Security Forces in “a whole range of skills, infantry skills from 3 SCOTS as well as with our counterparts in the Royal Engineers and the Medical Corps teaching their skills to the Iraqis as well.
“Certainly it was successful, the Iraqis were very receptive and they were very keen to learn from our guys and all the skills that they have in the British Army. And they are using that in the fight against Daesh so we were proud to be part of that.”
Corporal Robert Steel, 23, a detachment commander gave in insight into infantry life and some of the skills that would be passed on.
He said: “We work in sections so it is usually about two Dets of four, so eight men and when we deploy on the ground we work as one unit, we can get tasked with different things.
“We could do ambushes, we stay in OPs, observation posts where basically we will just live together, dig a hole, make a camp, so the enemy effectively can’t see us.”
He added: “I am well chuffed to be back, got some well-deserved leave. It was quite good as a newly promoted corporal it was a good experience to get out there and improve my skills as an instructor.”