Cheryl Cole becomes new forces sweetheart on trip to Afghanistan front line Read mor

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  1. IF she had been expecting to simply meet and greet our heroes on the front line, then Cheryl Cole was in for an almighty shock.
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    Shortly after landing at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan, on a trip organised by the Daily Mirror, the pop star was handed army fatigues, an SA80 rifle and invited to join a fierce mock gun battle in the sweltering 40C desert heat.

    The Girls Aloud singer screamed as crack soldiers set off explosions around her inside a specially-built compound.

    She then had to run for cover while “enemy” gun fire reverberated amid the chaos. The exercise ended with her helping to carry an injured soldier to a Chinook. Cheryl, 28, said: “I went into the room and heard an explosion. It was scary. I was terrified. I’m not ashamed to say I screamed and uttered a few expletives.”

    Cheryl’s dramatic welcome to army life came after she took a 12-hour RAF flight to the base in the heart of Helmand – the most violent part of Afghanistan – from Brize Norton, Oxon.

    On the plane, she endeared herself to fellow passengers, *servicemen and women flying out for a six month tour, by becoming a stewardess. She served dinners of sausages, mash and peas to star-struck soldiers on the Tristar jet. Cheryl also dished out drinks and snacks to the 20 Armoured Brigade troops.

    Her flight arrived at Bastion, where 8,500 British troops are based, under the cover of darkness at 2am yesterday. But just five hours later she was up and ready to watch and even take part in the training exercises. She was mobbed everywhere she went and happily signed autographs and posed for pictures.

    Task Force Helmand chief, *Lt Col Tim Purbrick, said: “She was not afraid to get her shoes dirty.

    “When everyone heard she was coming we did not know what to expect as she’s a huge star. But whatever *preconceptions we had went out of the window as soon as we met her. Her smile is infectious, she was up for doing everything we suggested. She was like one of the lads.”
    Cheryl Cole meets the troops in Afghanistan (Pic: DM/Rowan Griffiths)

    Cheryl made the visit to film a special tribute to our frontline troops as part of the Daily Mirror’s prestigious Pride of Britain Awards, which will be on ITV1 next month. Her trip coincided with the 10th anniversary of UK operations in the country where 380 Brits have died.

    She said: “I always had admiration for what the guys do out here, but seeing them here at work is awe inspiring.

    “I’m delighted to be here to recognise all the hard work they do. Every one of them is a hero in my book.”

    Her first day on the base began with a welcome briefing from Royal Marines Sgt Maj Ben Perkins before she was taken for a ride in a Jackal armoured fighting vehicle. After meeting troops she climbed aboard a Scimatar 2 light tank and fired a 30mm cannon.

    Cheryl, wearing combat clothes with her surname embroidered on the pocket, yelled: “That was amazing.”
    Teaser - Cheryl Cole

    She was given her own helmet and body armour and expensive ICE sunglasses. Next up was a Warthog, a mine-resistant vehicle capable of withstanding powerful explosions and rocket attacks.

    To cheers, Cheryl fired a massive grenade machine gun. At the driver training area she got behind the wheel of a Jackal, and declared: “It’s a bit different to driving a car in Newcastle.”

    The star later went on a mock patrol with 1st Battalion, The Rifles, walking 200 metres to a specially-erected Afghan compound, built to replicate the type of buildings facing troops on patrol.

    She joined the battle-hardened soldiers climbing ladders and walking along rooftops dressed in full combat kit.

    Cheryl also took part in a traditional shura, where soldiers sit down with village elders to discuss problems. Then came the room clearance exercise, where she joined troops as they fired blank ammunition. Lt Col Purbrick said: “She was a little taken aback by the noise and general chaos and was a little shaken but she gamely carried on.

    “I’m sure plenty of celebrities probably would have rather just observed but Cheryl was in the thick of it.”

    In another mock *exercise, Cheryl helped treat a soldier with a wound to the leg. She took him to a landing site, where a Chinook helicopter swooped down to evacuate him.

    One soldier said of the new forces sweetheart: “She’s a stunner and having her out here has lifted morale. She’s probably the biggest star to visit. Fair play to her, it’s a dangerous place to come.”

    Read more: Cheryl Cole becomes new forces sweetheart on trip to Afghanistan front line - mirror.co.uk
    Go Camping for 95p! Vouchers collectable in the Daily and Sunday Mirror until 11th August . Click here for more information
     
  2. Call me cynical but this does come at a time when Miss Cole's profile has somewhat nose-dived.
     
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  3. What he said, yes it has...lol
     
  4. But i bet the boys enjoyed the letch, lets face it we all would....................................
     
  5. I would smash the shit out of Cheryl. She's lovely.
     
  6. I'd love to be first on the scene if she was involved in a mine strike. First IA would be to fit a catheter and perform mouth-to-anus resuscitation.
     
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  7. Nice one, Tim.
     
  8. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    Good work by her publicists. Grip'n'Grin visits are fine, but achieve sod all for the soldiery who will no doubt get fecked about in the cause of a waning 'star's' public image.

    This is second only to her suddenly marrying Ashley Cole shortly after she had been convicted of a racially- connected assault, and he had been subject to many rumours regarding his sexuality.
     
  9. chrisg46

    chrisg46 LE Book Reviewer

    I admit, my first thought on reading that was "Good girl..."
     
  10. Fair enough but who would you rather visited ?? her or Jim Davidson :)
     
  11. I would be on that like a tramp on chips, especially (strangely) in her combats????

    If it cheered the boys up for half an hour then it was worth it in my view.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  12. Perhaps they enjoyed cutting about on a training exercise so that Cheryl had some good photo ops. She's a good looking lass when made up, wonder what she looks like in real terms, Connie Huq didn't look so hot when I met her in Khandahar after a 12 hour flight a couple of years ago...lol
     
  13. She can put a claim in for that whan she gets back.

    Half an hour gone and not one volunteer to give her a helmet? Mmm...

    No proper wounded legs to look at. Was it a quiet day?
     
  14. Could have been worse -I flew into KAF with David Jason onboard - he didnt take his helmet off till long after we landed - he looked a right plonker :)
     
  15. Bit harsh I think. While it may be, in part at least, a publicity stunt for her, there are plenty of rich and famous who would not be prepared to visit an op theatre and get their shoes dirty.
    It is hot, it is smelly and it is potentially dangerous. Not that we would want them but I cant see waste-of-space so0 called celebrities like Heather Mills, for example, showing support for the Armed Forces by going out there.
     
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