STUDYING for a degree at any time is tough – but imagine doing it in the middle of a war zone.
Lance Bombardier Michael Aberdeen leaves for Afghanistan tomorrow with the prospect of taking on the Taleban and having to keep up with his studies.
And if that wasn’t enough he will have to juggle with the knowledge his second child will be born while he is away.
The 24-year-old of 12th Regiment Royal Artillery, based on Thorney Island, Emsworth, has been studying through the University of Essex Online for a BA in business to enhance his career prospects within the army and when he leaves.
LBdr Aberdeen, who is from Grenada, said: ‘It’s going to be tough but I believe education only enhances your prospects of a better career.
‘It will be a challenge but I explained to the university and they have gone out of the way to construct the syllabus so that I do as much as I can when I can and they’ve been really flexible.
‘I’m not going to be able to access the internet very often which could be a problem and I’ll try to study a lot but at the end of the day the job I’m going to do takes priority.’
LBdr Aberdeen’s 29-year-old wife Amanda will be at home with their daughter Tiana, one, awaiting the arrival of their second child next month.
‘There’s lot’s going on in my life at the moment and it’s strange to think that I’ll have a child I would not have seen,’ he said. ‘But I’ll go back for R and R about mid-way through my tour. It’s my first tour and I think because of that I’m quite neutral towards it and I’m quite excited about the job I’m going to do. I will be making sure the guys on patrol on the ground are as safe as possible.’
LBdr will be away for six months with his colleagues from 12th Regiment.
Lt Col Matt Rimmer said he welcomed LBdr Aberdeen’s decision to combine work with study, adding: ‘Individuals such as LBdr Aberdeen who undertake intensive and time-consuming studies demonstrate dedication and a willingness to learn.
‘In addition these individuals broaden their knowledge and make themselves more employable within the Army.
‘It is a bold and commendable ambition which is fully supported by his chain of command.’