Oldest infantryman back from 'fierce' tour of duty
A RIFLEMAN reservist has returned from a "fierce" tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Rfn Luke Du Laic, from Plympton, spent six months in the war-torn region on tour with 3rd Battalion the Rifles.
It is believed, at 45 years old, Luke was the oldest combat infantryman fighting on the ground in Afghanistan during the six-month deployment.
Speaking at a home-coming ceremony, Luke said: "I was, according to someone, the oldest British soldier fighting on the ground in Helmand on Operation Herrick 16 which is something I'm proud of.
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"With my age I had some difficulties with the young men as I was older then their fathers and they are young and naive.
"Naivety is good in a battle situation, for instance they went forward when I was worried about them and trying to pull them back – they had no inhibitions. But in other cases when it got really gritty, I was going forward and pulling them forward with us so it had its gains and loses and sometimes when my body was damaged it took me a long time to get over some damages.
"We got a lot of problems with our feet and lower limbs from charging through ploughed fields with 60kilos of equipment on. The young lads were supportive of me and looked after me. I wouldn't like to be too boastful and say I brought more to the party than I took away, but speaking to them afterwards it was good."
During his tour, Luke like every other Rifleman patrolled in the region of 1,200km and racked up 1,400 hours in a sangar.
Luke, who is self-employed, was on his first tour of the country this year.
He added: "The tour was fierce but satisfying. It was hard work but very rewarding."