Felicity House deployed to Task Force Helmand Headquarters in Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan as the Deputy Scientific Adviser in August 2012. This is her third deployment, following a tour as an Operational Analyst (OA) in 2009 and a technical trial in Kandahar in 2010. When not abroad, Felicity works at the MOD’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), a position that she has held for six years.
Had I been told, when I finished University, that I would be working for Dstl on my third deployment to Afghanistan and, more importantly, that I would be excited about doing so, I would never have believed you. Yet this is the position that I find myself in.
My first tour was as Operational Analyst for the Brigade Headquarters. This was a challenging role and was a huge culture shock, though it didn’t take long to acclimatise to the military sense of humour, the constant noise of helicopters overhead, wearing body armour, exercising every day and working seven days a week. I already had OA experience within my day job at Dstl, so there was not a huge amount of training required before I deployed. Within a month, I felt like an integral part of the Brigade and was constantly busy, buzzing from the atmosphere and the ‘can do’ attitude that emanates from the military on operations.By the time I returned home, I knew that I would miss this working environment and the job satisfaction that is so easy to come by when working in support of operations.
I am currently deployed as Deputy Scientific Adviser, which is more challenging for me as the work that I am involved in is so broad. I undertook training over a period of six weeks. I had to get an overview of each of the work areas within Dstl, understand operational and research priorities and explore technology that could have an impact on my six month tour. It was really interesting to learn so much more about other work areas of Dstl and MOD and I felt well prepared by the time I set off for Lashkar Gah.
I have now been deployed with 12 Brigade for two months, and 4 Brigade are shortly taking over. Already the work has been really interesting. I have been involved in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, windscreen protection, force protection and personal protective equipment to name but a few work themes. It’s good to be back working in a military environment and I am looking forward to seeing what the next four months bring.