THE Fife public gave a warm welcome this week to the recently returned RAF Leuchars personnel when they paraded through the streets of St Andrews.
Members of Number 6 Force Protection Wing (6 FP Wg) and Number 58 Squadron returned last week after spending seven months in Afghanistan performing force protection duties at Camp Bastion.
They were warmly applauded as they marched along Market Street on Tuesday afternoon accompanied by the RAF Band.
Among those taking part was senior aircraftsman Duran Dawson.
He had to return home ahead of the rest of the squadron after he was shot while attending to an injured colleague near Camp Bastion.
Now fully recovered, he explained how he was injured.
“It all started off pretty routine to be honest,” he said.
“We had been briefed that there had been contact with the Taliban on the ground before we headed out.
“But we managed to land and get our casualty on to the aircraft okay.
“We had everyone back on the aircraft and were ready to leave when I was hit on the shoulder.
“It was just a graze really, but bad enough to get me sent back home.
“It hasn’t put me off in any way and it’s great to be here today and see so many people here to welcome us all back home.”
Officer Commanding 6 FP Wg, Wing Commander Dave Tait, said being invited to march through the streets of St Andrews meant a lot to the squadron.
“It’s really fantastic to be back home,” he explained.
“We flew straight into Leuchars which was great, no long bus journeys to worry about.
“And now it’s great to have this opportunity to march through our local town – it is a huge privilege.
“We are really proud of the job we done over there and it is really is good to come home and see this sort of support from the public.”
Fife Provost Frances Melville told squadron members the parade was an opportunity for the local community to show their support for the armed forces.
“I would like to say a very big thank you for carrying out your difficult and dangerous duties,” she said.
“We are honoured that you are parading through the streets of St Andrews.”