A man who worked hard and played hard, Col. Richard Pickup, a former commander of SBS, has died. The Col. respected others and was deeply respected by them. The Telegraph writes -
The British government's response to 9/11 was to launch Operation Veritas, an attempt to deny al-Qaeda its Afghan base. Two months later Pickup was in the leading aircraft which landed unannounced at the former Soviet airbase in Bagram, which was being strongly contested by thousands of government fighters and the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, led by Uzbek warlords.
Although vastly outnumbered, Pickup and his 100 men held on for a day and a night. This infuriated both contending armies, who were insulted by a fourth British invasion in two centuries; it also exasperated the American army's large Delta Force, which had planned to arrive first.
In this extremely tense atmosphere Pickup ordered reconnaissance patrols to ensure the safety of follow-on forces, and imposed his authority on the local Afghan commanders, thus allowing the first significant coalition foothold to be established. . .The trust he had engendered among Afghan tribal leaders proved crucial in persuading them to take the first faltering steps towards peace and stability. . .
Col. Pickup had read biochemistry at Newcastle University, but he wanted adventure and he joined the marines.