SAYING farewell to a loved one can be an emotional experience at the best of times.
When they’re leaving to fight a war in which two of their friends lost limbs, the anguish must be heart-wrenching.
That’s the goodbye awaiting Trooper Daniel Feast’s family and friends when he sets off on a six month military tour of Afghanistan in the near future.
Among those who the 24-year-old Skegness soldier is leaving behind are his fiance Danielle Smith and his widower father.
“My dad’s wife passed away a few years ago so to be so far away from him is quite a struggle and my fiance sees stuff on the news, which gets her upset, so I try and stay positive and make sure she’s not worrying too much,” Daniel said.
Having already served one tour in the war-torn nation, he is well aware of the horrific devastation that combat can bring.
“The last tour had its ups and downs - we had two UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) strikes - no one lost their lives but two quite close friends had to have limbs amputated,” he said.
“From the first death to the 400th, it’s just as hard - recognising that it could have been me.”
But despite the dangers, Daniel remains upbeat about his impending deployment and confident of the support that his comrades will provide to ensure his safe return.
“Your friends in the army are really great friends - you watch their backs and they watch your’s, you’re all like brothers, you’ve got to be as close as possible,” Daniel explained.
Daniel’s family has a strong history of military involvement - both his grandfather and his uncle have served in the forces.
It was that military background, which inspired Daniel to first enlist back in 2007 at the age of 17.
Although he has since taken time out from the forces, he was eager to return and has praised the skills, qualifications and experiences that army life provides.
“The army provides you with some useful skills and qualifications to help you face the big wide world - I’ve had some great life experience and made some mates for life,” he added.