'We're confident we have the best soldiers'
SOLDIERS from Staffordshire and Cheshire are among the 25 personnel selected from squadrons across the UK for the upcoming tour of Afghanistan.
The 159 Supply Regiment is expected to be deployed to Camp Bastion in March or April for six months.
The volunteers will leave their day jobs to become full-time paid soldiers for 12 months, which includes training, their tour of duty and a post-operation debriefing period.
The selection process for the Supply Regiment began in November, with more than 60 people hoping to get picked.
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Former delivery driver Tony O'Brien, aged 30, from Leek, joined the 123 Squadron, in Cobridge, in August 2011.
He said: "I was made redundant and wanted to do something productive, not just join the dole queue.
"I was always interested in joining the Army, and the TA provided me with a way of training part-time and looking after my family."
Tony will be leaving his wife Kate, and sons Liam, aged seven and six-month-old Tommy.
"Katie is very supportive of me, but I know it will be tough. I'll miss them a lot when I'm over there."
Angie Garton, aged 33, from Woore, is a personal trainer and has been in the TA for three years.
She said: "I'm having to leave my clients, but they are all very understanding.
"I joined the TA because I'm really into fitness. Being a personal trainer helps, but military fitness is on another level."
Jack Roberts, from Norton Green, joined the TA two-and-a-half years ago.
The 20-year-old currently works in Poundland.
He said: "I can't wait to get out there. The TA suits me because I get to be a soldier. But I can be a civilian when I need to be, although I'd never rule out joining the regular army."
Lieutenant Colonel Colin Francis, who has been training the soldiers at the headquarters in Coventry, said: "The duty of the supply regiment is to sustain the 9,000 deployed troops with adequate food, equipment and munitions.
"Part of their mission is also to help with the reduction of troops.
"It will be a difficult task, but we're confident we have the best soldiers."