A 47-year-old RAF reservist was awarded with a medal by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh after serving five months in Afghanistan.
Senior Aircraftman Martin Carrigan, from Milton of Campsie, did a tour as a gunner in the RAF regiment and was presented with an Afghanistan Service Medal for carrying out force protection in the province of Kandahar.
He works full time in child services with the NHS in Troon and was delighted to learn that he would be part of a royal visit at the headquarters of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force’s 603 Squadron.
He said: “The squadron commander phoned me and told me that the Queen was going to be there.
“It was such an honour meeting her and I think it’s a great advertisement for the RAF reserves and for the local community.”
He decided to join the reserves as a tough way to keep fit and did not expect to have to go to Afghanistan so soon.
“I didn’t think I’d be going out so quickly. I joined the reserves to keep fit and it was very challenging. We do bleep tests and have to walk with 25 kilos on our back.
“I was out there with boys of 19.”
He said the hardest part about being in Afghanistan was enduring the sweltering heat.
“When I got there it was a bit scary at first. It’s called a theatre environment where everyone carries guns but I became immune to it.
“The heat was the worst thing, it was over 40 degrees every day.”
His squadron of ten reservists done basic pre-deployment training at RAF Lyneham and he said they were well prepared for the job.
Although most of the team are in their twenties, he said they are all on the same level because of the excellent training they get.
He said the NHS have been very accommodating and supportive of his career in the reserves.
Martin still attends training twice a month with the reserves to keep his level of fitness and continue with weapons training.