I don’t often write about my job at the Ministry of Defence in this column but two weeks ago the Second Mercians arrived home from their most recent tour of Afghanistan, which gave me a chance to reflect on the work of our armed forces.
I think that we often misuse the word ‘hero’. Yet putting your life on the line for Queen and country in conflicts across the world is true heroism and that is what our army, air force, navy and marines and Special Forces demonstrate on regular basis.

My ministerial work means that I encounter this heroism often and it is something I am always humbled by. Just a year ago I went to Korea for the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Imjin to lay a wreath in memory of the British troops who lost their lives in the Korean War. For this occasion, some of the war veterans travelled back for what was their first return visit to Gloster Hill and it was a privilege to meet the men who had fought to ensure democracy across the world.

Last month at the House of Commons, I met members of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force who had been engaged in the Libyan conflict. The stories they had to share about their operation over in Libya were truly inspirational tales of bravely and courageousness.

Society’s role in this is to ensure that we do all we can to honour and respect the sacrifice of not only those who lose their lives but also those who are injured in battle. The charity Help for Heroes has to date raised over £130 million, helping provide recovery facilities across the country for ex service men and women. I am particularly delighted that Wychavon is facilitating the provision of new homes for service men and women in need.

As Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, it is my job to ensure that our armed forces are properly equipped for their dangerous and vital jobs and we have never sent better equipped or better trained troops into combat. But it is our men and women who actually go out and win the wars for us. We should rejoice that our country still produces such people to defend our country and make the world a better place than it would be otherwise.

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