Denny hero home for Christmas

William McGuire returns home from Helmand
William McGuire returns home from Helmand

Home safe for Christmas is a part-time member of the Armed Forces.

William McGuire swapped his desk job for a six month deployment on the Afghan frontline.

He admits the experience was “busy and challenging” but said he wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

However, the two women in his life – mum Anne McGuire (66) and partner Audrey Penman (43), are delighted he is back home in Denny safe and well.

William (44) joined the Royal Auxiliary Air Force two and a half years ago and his stint in Helmand Province was his first deployment.

He said: “I should have joined the military when I was a lot younger but I didn’t.

“When the opportunity came along to join the Reserve Forces I jumped at it.”

A customer service team manager at the Scottish and Southern Energy call centre in Cumbernauld, William is also a Senior Aircraftsman with 603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron.

He was called up in January this year and after health checks spent three months with 58 Squadron, RAF Regiment at RAF Leuchars learning the skills he would need for his frontline tour.

William said the pre-deployment training was tough but prepared him well for what he would experience.

In April he went to Helmand as part of C Flight and quickly got into the routine of lengthy patrols outside the perimeter fence to protect Camp Bastion.

He also spent time with the Medical Emergency Response Team which flies out in Chinook helicopters to pick up casualties direct from the battlefield.

William added: “You see some pretty horrible stuff but you’re so busy guarding the helicopter and helping the guys that you don’t really take it in.

“But what you do focus on is that if a casualty is removed by helicopter they have an 80 per cent chance of survival and 90 per cent chance if you get them back to base, so that is always your aim. You focus on getting the job done.”

During his stint he met Ross Kemp, who was filming his ‘Back on the Frontline’ series with troops.

William said: “I was in one of the episodes but only for a second. I also saw Cheryl Cole when she was out, but didn’t get any photographs with her as I was on duty.”

Adjusting to life back on civvy street, he said: “It was a great experience and one I’m glad that I had the opportunity to take part in.

“However, coming home and getting back to my previous routine has been a bit of a culture shock.”