From Spen to Helmand!

ALL SMILES: Lance Corporal Natalie Aspinall has been serving her country in Helmand, Afghanistan.
ALL SMILES: Lance Corporal Natalie Aspinall has been serving her country in Helmand, Afghanistan.

LANCE Corporal Natalie Aspinall is just 22 years old, but has already been in the thick of some of the world’s most dangerous military action.

The medic, from Liversedge, has been serving in her second operation in Helmand, Afghanistan, since recently returning from two week’s leave in the UK.

Natalie is with the second troop of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force, as a combat medical technician, and has served in some particularly gruelling operations.

On a day to day basis, as well as deploying on operations, Natalie looks after the troops in camp.

Her job is to check that troops are physically fine and that there are no other issues that could cause them any harm.

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.

“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.”

Natalie, a former pupil of Spen Valley Sports College, said that while she was still at school, her teachers and peers were very supportive of her joining the armed forces.

Natalie names her father, Paul Greenwood, who also lives in Liversedge, as her main inspiration, and said he was her main motivation to push herself.

Her first tour was in 2007, and, like anybody, was nervous when first going out to Afghanistan, but said that other troops made her feel welcome.

She said: “Being in the Royal Army Medical Corps is great, we’re taught up to the highest standard.

“However, putting all that you’ve learnt into action is another thing. All your training takes over and afterwards you step back and think ‘I did that’. It’s all drilled into you to act in the situation that needs your attention there and then.”