‘So long, but I wish I was coming with you’

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“KEEP a sense of humour - and keep in touch.” This is the advice imparted by Corporal Lewis MacLeod to his wife, Senior Aircraftswoman (SAC) Chrystie MacLeod, as she looks forward to her deployment to Afghanistan in the New Year.

He should know - he came back from Afghanistan in June and, in the intervening few months, the couple found time to hold a full military wedding ceremony at Edinburgh Castle.

However, as Lewis pointed out, they could only snatch a few days on honeymoon in London, “in between training.”

The couple, from Kirkcaldy, are both RAF reservists, serving with Leuchars-based 612 Squadron (County of Aberdeen) after joining up 18 months ago.

The squadron provides field hospital-based medical and surgical support to the armed forces.

FORCES

Lewis, 38, a trained nurse for 16 years, is now working for NHS 24 in South Queensferry.

Chrystie, 43, is a health care assistant at Forth Park Hospital, Kirkcaldy, and will be the first health care assistant to be deployed to Afghanistan.

But, whereas Lewis was with the British forces at Camp Bastion - where he worked as a staff nurse on the main wards - Chrystie will be deployed to Kandahar Airbase to work with US forces for three months from January 2011.

She told the Citizen: “I actually joined 612 Squadon after looking into the options for my son, who was keen to join the forces from the age of two.

“The more I found out about being an auxiliary, the more I realised it was something I could do.”

GARRISON

Her son, 17-year-old Jamie Barr, is passing out at Catterick Garrison this week and is due to join the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

He may also be deployed to Afghanistan as the same time as his mother.

Chrystie also has a daughter, Suzanne, and a three-year-old grandson, Kieran. Lewis has a son, Lachlan, and daughter, Caitlin.

Lewis, who was in Afghanistan between April and June, received his Operational Service Medal last month.

He explained: “As a nurse on operations, you see a number of different injuries to those you would see in the NHS.

‘‘However, the training you receive as a member of the armed forces prepares you to deal with them.

“I would go back in a second - I only wish I could go back out with my wife in January.”