An Army Reservist from Oakham has been honoured for his service in Afghanistan.
L/Cpl Shaun Fowler of 158 Transport Regiment Royal Logistic Corps (158 Tpt Regt RLC) was presented with a Joint Commander’s Commendation and his campaign medal at a parade in Ipswich on Sunday.
The parade marched through the town centre to Christchurch Park, where Mayor of Ipswich Coun Bill Quinton took the salute and presented campaign medals to 23 soldiers who have recently returned from a six month tour of Afghanistan.
The troops came back in March after deploying on Operation Herrick alongside Regular colleagues from 2 Logistic Support Regiment Royal Logistic Corps.
Their role was to run a fleet of trucks carrying out combat logistic patrols from Camp Bastion, to both deliver supplies to forward operating bases and return equipment as part of the drawdown of British forces.
L/Cpl Fowler was one of five soldiers from the Regiment’s 203 (Loughborough) Squadron which deployed on the tour.
The citation for his Joint Commander’s Commendation described how his performance on tour had “exceeded all expectations for a soldier of his rank and experience”.
The 46-year-old builder, said: “As a section commander I was responsible for looking after a group of soldiers and vehicles, commanding them out on the ground and ensuring everything was well maintained.
“I’m deeply honoured to receive this commendation when, to me, I didn’t put any more effort in than what the other guys did.
“The parade was a really good experience; it makes you feel so proud to have people cheering as you’re marching.”
The father-of-two had a brush with fame in Afghanistan when he took to the stage with Gary Barlow during a concert for troops in Camp Bastion.
L/Cpl Fowler was featured in an ITV programme called Gary Barlow: A Journey to Afghanistan, which was aired over Christmas.
The amateur musician took a small guitar to Afghanistan, which he plays as a hobby, out to play for the other soldiers in his time off.
He auditioned for the concert unaware that there would be a surprise visit from the chart-topping star.
L/Cpl Fowler said: “It was a slightly surreal experience but really enjoyable. Gary was genuinely interested in us and it was brilliant to get my guitar out and play in a gig like that.”
L/Cpl Fowler has been a reservist for 12 years and also served in Cyprus and as part of the security effort for the 2012 London Olympic games.
He said: “Being a reservist has been very rewarding for me, building my team work skills and confidence.
“In return, I’ve brought a maturity and wider experience of life to the Army which I was able to share with some of the young regulars we were working with in Afghanistan.”
158 Tpt Regt RLC’s commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Michael Hughes said: “The parade was a very proud occasion, recognising the commitment of our men and women who put their hands up to volunteer to serve in Afghanistan.
“As well our troops who have received their campaign medals today, this is an occasion to celebrate the contribution of all of our soldiers who have deployed to Afghanistan since 2002.
“They have all served with a commitment and professionalism that has made them indistinguishable from their regular colleagues and they should be rightly proud of their contribution.”