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RAF Odiham chaplain revs up to return from Afghanistan
RAF Odiham’s chaplain is currently supporting troops stationed in Afghanistan – but he cannot wait to return to his family and his motorcycles.
Chaplain Colin O’Dell has spent the last three months conducting services at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, looking after the welfare of personnel who include Chinook crews, engineers and support staff from RAF Odiham.
The 52-year-old is on his first operational tour as a chaplain, although he lived in Kenya for six years, working with the Mission Aviation Fellowship – a Christian charity that flies vital medical supplies to remote communities around the world.
Before coming to RAF Odiham in April, he was the chaplain at RAF Lyneham, in Wiltshire, responsible for overseeing the repatriation ceremonies every time a British soldier was killed in Afghanistan.
At Camp Bastion, Chaplain O’Dell takes morning prayers and memorial services.
He said: “I help to maintain the welfare of the community and can also be used as a barometer by command to assess the moral of the troops. I guess my duty is the care of souls.
“Despite the canvas walls of this church, it is still very much a sacred place – a step away from the busy world of Bastion and a step closer to the eternal world.”
But while the chaplain is kept busy at Camp Bastion, working with personnel and ministers from other faiths, he cannot help but think of life in the UK.
He added: “I have never been separated from my family for this length of time so I am very keen to see them again. Being back at home will also allow me to ride my Harley Davidson Superglide and Yamaha XJR 1300!”
The chaplain, who lives in the married quarters at RAF Odiham, is due to return home at the end of next month.
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