Meet our soldier boy
A childhood ambition has taken a Milton man to the heights of Afghanistan.
Milton's Jesse Reid, 22, is a signaller in the 3 Signals Squadron based at the Burnham Military Camp in Christchurch.
He joined the army as an 18-year-old and is two months into his second tour of Afghanistan.
"I've wanted to join the army ever since I was a kid. It's pretty much been my ambition since I was little, " Reid said from Afghanistan.
Days varied greatly, he said.
"Whilst I've been here I have been able to visit the Bazaar and the local Buddhas.
"The local Buddhas were rather interesting as they had been blown up previously by the Taliban back in 2001, but is still a great attraction."
He also helped teach locals English and visited the local orphanage on several occasions.
One of the biggest surprises about Afghanistan was seeing how the people live, he said.
"They can live off the barest of necessities while back in New Zealand people take everyday luxuries for granted, like electricity, running water, easy access to food.
"Also, being based within Bamiyan, the population is much more supportive of our presence compared to the rest of Afghanistan. Additionally, religion is a very big part of the Afghan way of life, which is something I am personally not used to."
There were several things he missed about New Zealand.
"At the moment it is summer there [New Zealand] whilst here it is winter and it gets very cold. It can reach temperatures of negative 25 degrees."
He was also missing another Kiwi Christmas; his first tour in Afghanistan was from late 2011 to early 2012.
"On a positive note, it is a great job and I am doing something very few other people back in New Zealand have done before."
The Southland Times