Busta is one of those happy go lucky guys that you meet once in a blue moon. Full of wise cracks and up for a laugh, plus he will always win with the best stories. You can learn a lot from talking to a guy like him. Busta joined us a few weeks ago and has already made a big impact with the rest of the team. In light of Veterans Day and the release of our limited edition bipod, I wanted to share Busta's story with our Spartan followers - it's certainly one to be told.
I joined the British Army aged 15 and 9 months in 2004, having left school a couple of years before. School had never interested me, and growing up watching my dad in the army, I knew it was all I ever wanted to do. Nothing else had ever made sense to me. After completing my training at the Army Foundation College I was deployed to Northern Ireland where I was part of the Riot Control team. I feel like this was a good start to my life in the army - things weren't stable like they are now in Northern Ireland in 2005. My role mainly kept me on reassurance patrols, checking vehicles for IDs and just keeping an eye on things in general out there. Things had improved greatly since The Troubles, but it was still a volatile place.
After two years in Northern Ireland I was moved to Cyprus for a two year deployment, during which I completed two tours in Afghanistan. I began in Nozwad, and then finished in Musa Qala for my first tour. I was relatively lucky here and didn't encounter too much action, though of course there was still plenty. As tours go, it was a pretty good introduction to life in Afghanistan, though the heat was often unbearable. This tour lasted five months.
For my second tour I was deployed to Nad-e-ali for four months. We were the youngest platoon, nicknamed the ‘kindergarten platoon’, and it was here that the fighting got very, very real. We were shot at every single day for four months, and faced everything from abushes to deliberate, planned attacks. One of my friends was shot in the head, many others in the legs. I’m not going to dwell on this too much, but I witnessed some pretty unimaginable scenes - we even had a bayonet charge one day.
After an eye opening tour in Afghanistan, I headed back to Cyprus and then returned home to the UK. Here I was deployed to Woolwich, London where I completed a Recon course and Sniper Selection. During this time I enhanced my strength, shooting, as well as learning and improving my sniper skills. At the same time as this I was stationed at Buckingham Palace, which I absolutely loved. Nothing better than getting to meet the public and being out and about in London. From this I was contacted and deployed by the United Nations to join them for covert surveillance. I was placed on the Greek/Turkish border stopping human trafficking and drug trade, and couldn't have enjoyed it more. I was so fulfilled in so many ways and honoured to have been part of such an important task.
I then returned to Cyprus where I was deployed to Iraq to train the Peshmerga guys (the Kurdish branch of the Iraqi armed forces) sniper tactics. Having the opportunity to take on a role as important as this, and to train the guys who played majors roles in the downfalls of both Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden, was just incredible. However, my time training the Pershmerga lead to the beginning of the end of my time in the army. On a day off from training in 2015, myself and the lads were hanging out in a disused prison's courtyard. I was making the most of a very rare afternoon of relaxing, so lay on the roof of one of the heavily armoured trucks sunbathing. Once finished, I jumped down and was just walking behind it when the truck suddenly reversed, crushing my left leg between a concrete post and truck. I hit the ground and both my tibia and fibula became exposed, and managed to pull myself back up. As I did, the truck reversed and hit me again, pretty much destroying the exposed bone. As I lay screaming on the ground, the driver got out of the truck, saw my leg and immediately passed out. One of the Swedish SF guys heard me and picked me up with my leg barely attached, running with me in his arms for help. Some serious complications led to it taking three days before I landed in the UK, and my heart stopped from blood loss on the plane journey home. I knew I would never return to active service or be deployed, so I decided to remain in the army but educate myself further. I went to college and got an extended technical diploma in Game and Wildlife Management, and then got offered a job as a firearms trainer. This was obviously a massive change from how I had spent my last 12 years living and not one that I could acclimatise well to. I left the army for good in 2018, but the diploma I earned cemented a new way of life for me, and led me into countryside living. This in turn brought me to Spartan through my friendship with the Spartan Queen Hannah. After 22 operations and over 5 years since the accident, my lower leg was amputated in February 2021.
In the UK we honour Remembrance Day, and our friends in the USA honour Veterans Day, both on the 11th of November and in honour of our soldiers. Both days are hugely sentimental and send ripples around our nations, and this year has hit us harder in the office with Busta being a part of our team. We really wanted to do something to donate to charities that would be supporting our fallen soldiers, and so we have created a limited edition bipod to be sold throughout the month of November. All of the proceeds will be donated to three charities - Wishes for Warriors, Special Forces Association (Southern Pines), and The Special Forces Charitable Trust. These three charities focus solely on improving the lives of injured soldiers, as well as fallen and injured soldiers' families. These men and women are the epitome of selflessness, and deserve to be cared for during their time serving and after. 100% of the proceeds will be going to these charities. Thank you for your service to all the soldiers and veterans out there.