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Soldier returns from 'experience of a lifetime' tour in Afghanistan
KIWI Dion Tantrum is glad to be back in his adopted home of Dorset after the ‘experience of a lifetime’ serving in Afghanistan.
The corporal with the Territorial Army and member of the Dorchester based C Company, 6 Rifles has just returned from his second deployment to the country.
The 38-year-old, who lives in Milborne St Andrew, says he owed a great deal to the TA for making him feel at home in the county despite being thousands of miles from his native Waikato in New Zealand.
Father-of-two Dion, who moved to England after meeting wife Clare while travelling the world, said: “When we came to this part of Dorset, I knew absolutely no one.
“I had a good look round and thought the TA might introduce me to a few people – and it’s been a great choice.”
His first deployment to Afghanistan was in 2008 and he recently returned for a second stint.
Dion said: “Altogether, it has been an experience of a lifetime.
“I am just left feeling sad that Afghanistan could be such a fascinating and wonderful place but for the conflict that has affected so much of its history.”
In civilian life Dion works as a butcher for C & S Meats, of Holnest, near Sherborne.
He said: “I still miss home. I haven’t been back to New Zealand for three and half years.”
The TA is always keen to welcome more recruits as the government plans to rename the force the Army Reserve with a £1.8billion investment in training and equipment as well as plans to expand to 30,000 trained reservists by 2018.
Enhanced conditions for reservists include the introduction of paid annual leave and pension entitlements during training and operations, plus better access to defence health services and training.
Employers will be given £500 per month per reservist when mobilised, in addition to existing help such as with the cost of advertising for replacements.
C Company, which has a detachment at Poole, is particularly keen to attract new recruits.
It offers many opportunities to learn new skills as well as the chance to enjoy some adventurous training.
In the new year Dorchester-based reservists will be skiing in France as well as island hopping in the Caribbean on a sailing trip from St Thomas to Miami.
For more details on C Company call 01305 264969 or to find out about opportunities in the TA visit army.mod.uk/join/20237.aspx
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