Plaistow airman’s ‘commando yomp’ for charity

‘I want to do my bit to help those who have had life-changing injuries’

An airman from Plaistow serving in Afghanistan with 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines has set himself a challenge to run 30 miles in under eight hours.

In order to be able to wear the coveted Green Beret, all Royal Marine and Army Commandos must complete the infamous commando course at Lympstone, Devon.

The final test of the course is a 30-mile “yomp” over Dartmoor, carrying a Bergen or rucksack weighing 40lbs and a rifle, which must be completed in less than eight hours.

Help For Heroes

Senior Aircraftman Matthew Wasmuth, who is deployed to Helmand for six months, has decided to complete a “30-miler” around the Main Operating Base in Lashkar Gah, where the headquarters of Task Force Helmand is based.

The 24-year-old has been in the RAF for five years and despite serving alongside Commandos, he has no experience of the course.

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He said: “I’m sure people think I’m mad, but I wanted to do something to really push myself.

“For the four-month tour, I’m based at the HQ so unlike most of the guys out on the ground, I’m not patrolling two or three times a day, carrying all my kit and living in pretty austere conditions.

“So, I thought this would be a good way to show my support for them.”

He will begin his journey at 3am to try and avoid the blistering heat of the Afghan summer.

Once the sun comes up, the temperatures quickly reach about 45 degrees in the shade and it’s a lot hotter in direct sunlight.

“Completing the distance would be hard enough in this heat, but to do it carrying my Bergen and my rifle makes it even more difficult. My plan is to start early enough that I’ll get most of it done when it’s relatively cool.”

SAC Wasmuth is hoping his efforts will raise money for military charity Help for Heroes.

“A number of people have been wounded during my time in Afghanistan – some of them quite badly – and I just want to do my bit to help them and others who have suffered life-changing injuries in the line of duty.”


SAC Wasmuth has asked some of the Commandos based in Lashkar Gah to help him with some training tips and he’s also hoping that a few of them will join him on the day.

“I don’t expect them to do the whole thing with me, but I know that there will be times when I’ll struggle and I’m hopeful that a few of the lads will come and take part alongside me for at least part of the way to keep me motivated,” he said.

Despite the challenge, SAC Wasmuth says he has no ambitions to join the Commandos. After completing his tour in Afghanistan, he will return to the UK where he is based at MoD North Luffenham, Rutland.

Before that though, he’s looking forward to a well-earned break during which he’ll catch up with friends and family in Plaistow.