Published Monday, 04 March 2013
Paul Clark on the front line. (© UTV)
A series of special reports from Helmand Province are airing on UTV Live this week, focusing on the mission of the soldiers from the TA, after Paul was stationed at the sprawling British-run base of Camp Bastion - which was established there in 2006.
Local troops have already escaped injury in a Taliban rocket attack on the base since arriving.
The Royal Dragoon Guards carries in its name the history of a number of the finest cavalry regiments in the army, including the Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards.
It is proud of its Irish military tradition.
Before heading out on patrol with A squadron, Paul had to be kitted out with body armour - including what is known as a 'nappy'.
"This is the first time in my career I have ever had to wear body armour," he said. "But for these soldiers in the Royal Dragoon Guards, it is a daily occurrence.
"I wear these blast goggles to protect my eyes. Down here I have what they call a nappy to protect my private parts. The helmet has my name and, in case I should need a transfusion, so too does my blood group, B positive - and that just about sums me up right now."
Soldiers from the squadron have carried out 40 front line reconnaissance and intelligence operations in the past three months, supporting the Afghan National Army.
During missions they often travel in heavily protected all-terrain Warthogs, but being safe is one thing - there comes a time when a soldier's boots must touch the ground.
Trooper Mark McKeen said: "We need to get out of the vehicle to clear a route where the commander will decide if he doesn't like the route or not, so he would get a couple of us to get out and go in front of the wagon and clear for the wagons coming behind us."
Trooper Brian Kennedy added: "We all stick together, especially out here we have all come a lot closer and stick together, the same as the English boys as well.
"We are very close to them but I think it is different for the Northern Irish boys, that we all stick together and make sure we all stay safe and get home together."
© UTV News