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A 51-year-old grandad has rejoined the SAS after saying he missed "the craic".
He is believed to be the Who Dares Wins regiment’s oldest serving member having served in Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan and numerous other war zones around the world.
He joined the L-Det specialist reservist unit composed of former full-time members of the black-clad force after top brass appealed for ex-soldiers to rejoin, the Mirror reports.
The soldier told friends: “I was regarded as being old when the Iraq War kicked off and I deployed in my mid-30s. There were all these young blokes calling me old timer and grandad. Now I really am a grandad and I’m rejoining.
“The SAS has been a major part of my life and I loved serving in it. But everyone knows that the clock is ticking and you only have a certain amount of time before you have to leave. It was a real blow but I knew it was coming."
The soldier, who can’t be named for security reasons, like all members of the special forces, said: “When I walked out the camp gate I thought it was best to put the regiment behind me and concentrate on getting on with life. But I missed the job, the people and the craic.
“The SAS is always understrength and because it’s an operational unit the manpower demands are always high.
“I’m up for the challenge and although I might not be as fast as a 25-year-old, I still train every day, running half marathons and hitting the gym.”
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The UK Special Forces group – which is composed of the SAS, the SBS and the Special Forces Support Group – is reportedly facing a manpower crisis with more troops leaving than joining.
Most soldiers who join the SAS will remain in the unit for the rest of their military careers and can serve up 20 years.
But with around 10 to 15 soldiers retiring from the SAS every year the loss in terms of years of experience is seen as too high.
One former SAS officer said: “The SAS, and it’s the same with the other special forces units, can lose up to 15 soldiers with over 150 years of operational experience between them.
"At a time when manning is low across the entire armed forces that is a loss the SAS cannot afford and so those who can still offer the regiment something are invited to rejoin.
"A 50-year-old soldier today is far fitter than a 50-year soldier 30-years ago so we still have a lot to offer.”
- British Army
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