Scott's mission to seek out the hidden bombs left for our boys
A FEARLESS Derbyshire soldier serving in Afghanistan has told how he helped to defuse five Taliban roadside bombs during one mission.
Corporal Scott Saward, of Belper, was on patrol in the southern part of the war-torn country, on the lookout for improvised explosive devices – the dreaded IEDs.
As a member of the Explosive Ordnance Destroy and Search Task Force, it is the 26-year-old's duty to find and disarm these homemade bombs.
He is currently deployed in Afghanistan on a six-month winter tour and spent Christmas in the war zone.
Cpl Saward said his highlight of the current tour was supporting a mission led by Afghan troops..
He led his team in helping the Afghans to clear a route that was full of IEDs. Each man had body armour, weapons, ammunition, search equipment, radios and water and patrolled in searing heat to find the devices.
Under extreme conditions and under physical and mental duress, they completed the mission, helping to find and destroy the five bombs.
He said: "We're experts in searching for IEDs, it's our job and we are comfortable doing it. We are provided with the best equipment and extensive training to ensure we are fully prepared for the challenges in Afghanistan."
During another mission, one of his superiors ended up in another type of hot water.
He said: "We followed a route that required crossing an irrigation ditch. My lead searcher decided it couldn't be that deep and slid down the bank and promptly disappeared. I walked over to the edge and peered down to see him up to his chest in water.
"We had to laugh at the situation as we couldn't avoid this ditch. The rest of us followed and needed ladders to get out the other side."
After joining the Army in 2004, Cpl Saward – known by his nickname Seaweed – is on his second tour of Afghanistan. He said that, this time around, he had noticed a big difference in the type of work he was doing.
He said: "With transition to the Afghans in full flow, the number of jobs for our team has rapidly decreased.
"Increasingly, the newly-trained Afghanistan teams are dealing with their own IED incidents".
As bitter winter drew in over December, Cpl Saward has spent his second Christmas in Afghanistan in the past three years.
But he said he and his fellow squaddies made their base as homely as possible.
He said: "I don't mind being here. We made it the best Christmas Day that we could. However, it does make you think of home.
"I will be using some of the money I save while I'm here to buy a house with my girlfriend when I get back.
"It won't be long till I get some time at home to see her and my family. We'll have a belated Christmas then."