Manage episode 358923877 series 2813344
Kirk Bowett Served in The Cheshire Regiment and his deployment to the Middle East began during Op Telic 4, 2004.
We hear about his personal experiences of the realities of war, which includes details of injury and loss of limb. If you feel that you might find this challenging, you may prefer not to listen.
“I was part of the recce element…in Basra City…the infrastructure had failed, no sanitation…We were initially met with open arms…”
They tried to help “...hearts and minds…” But there were problems “...everything had stopped…police had disappeared…”
“We were doing house assaults to try to capture the terrorists. Militias were beginning to form because of this power vacuum…organised…good weapons…planting precision IEDs.”
Rumours, press and social media, “...created an anger and hatred towards us…a nationwide attack on coalition forces…All hell broke loose…it made me realise… it’s not a peace-keeping thing…it’s a start-stop war…”
Another tour, “...Al Qaeda had started to rear their ugly head…” After that, Afghanistan, “I lost 12 friends in a 3 month period…burnout of post 9/11 wars had started to really hit the combat troops….Having buried 6 or 7 of my friends…putting them in the ground, that for me was closure enough on my time as an infantry soldier.”
Kirk returned to Iraq as a bodyguard, “...things started to take a turn for the worse. ISIS.” His vehicle was blown-up. He lost his arm and suffered brain trauma.
Life on Civvy Street unravelled, drinking, family separation, homelessness and considering ending his life.
Blesma helped with overcoming challenges. Kirk now draws upon his experiences as a survival instructor with the RAF, in his acting career and as a published author. Although he experiences loneliness, he’s found his sense of purpose, “My children are my anchor…they keep me going…they’re my reason for being.”
Follow Kirk on Instagram and Twitter
If you’re a member of the Armed Forces community and need support with your mental health, Op Courage can help.