Lance Corporal Natalie Aspinall has been hard at work on the front line in Afghanistan (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Lance Corporal Natalie Aspinall has been hard at work on the front line in Afghanistan
Despite being the age of just 22, Lance Corporal Natalie Aspinall has been working on some of the most challenging and dangerous operations conducted this summer.
The Liversedge medic is working with the 12th Mechanized Bridge Reconnaissance Force, an elite unit operating in some of the most dangerous areas of Helmand, Afghanistan.
L Cpl Aspinall is with the second troop of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force, as a combat medical technician, and has been working on her second operation since returning from two weeks leave in the UK.
She said: “The first operation was a bit horrible, with lots of muddy fields, irrigation ditches, and it was very dark. I was a bit worried, but it all went smoothly.”
Her job is to go out on the ground and provide support to soldiers who need medical attention.
She said: “We have team medics who give initial treatment and then they bring the casualty back to me or I go forward to them and then assess what other treatment needs to be done, such as intravenous drips.
“The best thing about this operation was that it was quiet. I always hope I won’t have to do my job, not having to treat any of the guys.”
On a day-to-day basis, as well as deploying on operations, L Cpl Aspinall looks after the troops in camp. She checks they are physically fine and there are no issues that could cause them any harm.
As soon as an operation has finished, L Cpl Aspinall prepares for the next call out, which could be at a moment’s notice, by repacking her medical kit, including bags of fluids, splints and equipment for dealing with heavy bleeding.
She said: “I’ve never actually weighed the kit I carry, but if you compare what I carry and what I weigh to one of the big blokes, the ratio works out about the same. When you’re out on the ground you’re worrying about other things, but when you’re resting, you realise how much your shoulders are aching.”
Most of the soldiers in the Brigade Reconnaissance Force have had extra training to give more than basic first aid, and the former Spen Valley Sports College student has been training them to slow down bleeds, check for chest injuries and assess the body for numerous other injuries.