Pair set for Afghanistan

A TERRITORIAL army medic and soldier, both from Clevedon, will soon be deployed to Afghanistan for the first time.

Natasha Theodossiadis, aged 37, is a medic with the Gloucester-based A company, 6th Battalion The Rifles (6 Rifles), and 22-year-old Mike Clift is a soldier with the same infantry battalion.

In just a few week’s time, all of its 45 members will deploy to Afghanistan for a six-month tour of duty.

Natasha, a care assistant, will be battling 40 degree heat to help soldiers and local people begin their physical and mental rehabilitation after shock or injury.

She was motivated to join the army after her brother returned from duty and told her the army age retrictions were being broadened. When she comes home, Natasha is considering training to become a paramedic.

She said: “As a care assistant, and being from a medical family myself, I know the importance of supporting disadvantaged and vulnerable people, making sure you can respect their dignity while they are struggling with day-to-day tasks.

“I’m looking forward to helping local people, as well as the regular and reservist soldiers I’ll be working alongside.”

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After losing his factory job last summer, Mike has been looking forward to taking on the challenge Afghanistan will set.

He said: “Although I’m a bit nervous about my deployment, I’m excited and keen to get out there after all the training we’ve been through.”

Mike admits that his mum Kay, sister Helen and girlfriend Zoe will worry about him while he is in Afghanistan but that they are proud of him.

While in Afghanistan, 6 Rifles will serve as part of the 550-strong 1 Rifles, which is supporting the 3 Commando Brigade Herrick 14 battle group, known as Taskforce Helmand.

Its aim is to continue to build security in central Helmand and to set the conditions needed to enable improvements in its local government as well as the local economy.

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