(Video Credit: TheJournal.ie)
CLOSE TO 100 Irish soldiers returned home this morning after a six month tour of duty in Syria.
The Defence Forces 43rd Infantry Group were deployed to the region in the midst of the Civil War to monitor the Golan Heights region, ensuring a ceasefire was maintained between Syria and Israel and to “supervise the disengagement” between the two sides.
It was the first tour of duty for 38 of the 89 soldiers returning home today, and for one, Private Derek Lamb, his partner Stacey Balfe was waiting with his 4-day-old son at Casement Aerodrome.
Another solider, Corporal John McAllister, met his daughter for just the second time since she was born.
Irish troops came under fire several times during their six-month stay in the Golan Heights, with one solider being injured.
The Group’s Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Brendan Delaney, said the soldiers knew how handle themselves in each of the situations.
“We had some very good background briefs, so we were very aware it was volatile situation,” he told reporters morning.
“We tried to mitigate the incidents with our training and equipment,” adding that well-rehearsed drills fell into place and that troops were able to respond appropriately.
The Lieutenant Colonel Delaney added that “you couldn’t get away” from the conflict in the country.
“You do have concerns, you do have worries. Even on a benign mission, or pre-planned task, something can happen very very quickly”
I was very confident with the guys we had, we had a very good crew.
The returning troops will pass on a raft of information to those who are replacing them and who flew out last night.
The 89 soldiers who returned were from 19 different counties, with the youngest being 21 and the oldest 58.
In order of appearance are Captain James O’Hara, Commandant Tim O’Brien, Lieutenant Lisa McMahon, and Sergeant Clive Dunne. (Video Credit: TheJournal.ie)
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