Cheryl Cole admitted she was prepared for the worst on her trip to Helmand Province
The 28-year-old singer visited the British army in the treacherous Helmand Province last month to mark 10 years of British operations in Afghanistan, and says she prepared herself for the dangers of war so she could spend time with troops.
Cheryl, who received hostile environment training before she went to Afghanistan, told the Daily Mirror, ‘I was given war training which was pretty full-on and quite scary.
‘They warn you about coping with all kinds of scary scenarios – things like having a gun put to your head.’
Cheryl continued to tell the newspaper, who went with her as part of their Pride Of Britain awards, ‘I was warned before I went out there that it could be dangerous. But nothing was going to stop me from going. And I’m just so glad I did.’
As well as boosting the troop’s morale it seems the 28-year old singer wasn’t afraid to get her nails dirty, saying she has never experienced so much dust in her life.
As well as traveling with soldiers going back from the UK to Camp Bastion, Cheryl helped serve dinners to fellow troops, and was given a full army uniform to wear to take part in real-life demonstrations.
During a mock gun fight the Girls Aloud singer said, ‘I heard an explosion – I was terrified. I’m not ashamed to say I screamed and uttered a few expletives.’
The former X factor judge also took part in driving army vehicles and was involved in casualty evacuation drills with a group of Royal Marines.
Task Force Helmand chief, Lt Col Tim Purbrick, told the Mirror, ‘Cheryl was not afraid to get her shoes dirty. Whatever preconceptions we had went out of the window as soon as we met her. She was up for doing everything we suggested. She was like one of the lads.’
Talking of the ‘lads’, Cheryl told the paper she had a lot of admiration for them and found them awe-inspiring, ‘The men and women I met out there were inspirational, and so amazingly brave and dedicated.’
It seems there were a few troops Cheryl favoured, admitting she has stayed in touch with some via Twitter, and exchanged numbers with one Royal Marine.
She said, ‘Not only are the soldiers incredibly brave, a few were also incredibly cute. I came back with a phone number.
‘He started chatting to me – I think it was for a dare – after I’d been ‘shot’ during a training exercise. It wasn’t real ammunition but it was still terrifying.
‘I think I’ll call him this week and we’ll see what happens. I’m sure he’s not expecting me to ring but that’s why it’ll be funny – and that’s why I’m going to do it.’
It seems she may have been braver out on the field as she still hasn’t plucked up the courage for a little phone flirting.
Cheryl told the paper the whole experience was incredible, ‘I’m delighted to be here to recognise all the hard work they do. Every one of them is a hero in my book.’
Cheryl also celebrated more of the nation’s unsung heroes last night with a host of other celebrities at the Pride of Britain Awards in London.
Watch Cheryl in action in Afganistan in the video below…