AFB Young Patron Dan Richards
I joined The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery on the 15th November 2003, after Basic Training at ATR Pirbright and Phase 2 Training at the Royal School of Artillery, Lark Hill.
In September 2007 I became the first Kings Troop Soldier to be sent on Op Herrick. I mainly worked out of Camp Bastion and Kabul dealing with all the interpreters for the British and Danish. There were quite a few "hairy moments." One time whilst in Kabul in a convoy from Camp Souter to KAIA (Kabul International Airport), the driver of my vehicle hadn't first paraded the vehicle properly and, as we were the last vehicle, we were left stranded and I watched the rest of the convoy disappear into the night. We were quickly surrounded by what looked like the entire population of Afghanistan, and you could hear the stones hitting the outside. Then I was brought back to the initial brief that there had been reports of a suicide bomber patrolling our route! Needless to say Force Protection turned up after about 40 minutes. There were others I could tell you about but it would turn into a novel! Anyway, I returned in March 2008, but the following year on 31st May 2009, the day after I was involved with the first review of Trooping the Colour, I was
involved in a road traffic accident. I have no memory of it but it involved the amputation of my right arm and shoulder, and I broke both ankles and smashed my left arm. When I woke up in hospital I thought I was back in the block, and had no recollection of an accident.... After the story about what had happened I said I'd never get back on a bike again.
After Headley Court I returned to work, got back on a horse and learned to ride again, but always felt something was missing. I knew it was the bike but convinced myself it would pass. Well, it never did, and so after 2 years and a chat with my family I now ride a Yamaha XV1900, which is my pride and joy. NABD adapted my bike for me and Headley Court gave me a prosthetic arm which I think looks pretty cool!
On March 13th 2012 I was told that I would be Medically Discharged. The following day I had my left ankle fused, and the day after that I was in Tedworth House. Since then I've been very much involved with Help for Heroes and The Veterans Charity. September 2012 I was in the Paralympic closing ceremony in front of 85,000 people, and then I was involved with Bell's Whiskey Advertising campaign for H4H. Somewhere there is a perspex statue of me (and 20 other individual statues of 20 others) for the "Bells Whiskey Bell's Battalion!”
28th September 2012 marked my final day in the British Army and I do miss it, but thanks to organisations like the Armed Forces Bikers it never goes because bikers are just like a family and just like being back in the army. I love bikes and I love the army, so the two go hand in hand. Being asked to be a Patron is a huge honour and I thank you for the privilege. I look forward to meeting everyone at up and coming events.