Thank you so much guys - mumsnetters never fail to impress! Your info. will def. make it sound much more believable. Unfortunately, the quality of writing is poor and the plot's a bit naff, both of which his teacher will be able to help him with, but it also needs to be convincing...not necessarily true to life, but the reader needs to believe in the story and with your help he's half way there!
If it is for English coursework does it really matter if the facts are correct, surely it is about how well it is written? It is unlikely that the examiner marking it will have any idea whether it is correct or not.
Why Iraq? Would it be better/more up to date if he used Afghan?
He knew 2 years in advance he was going to Iraq Possible, as long as he is not talking about a ground war. Regiments know where they are on the Ops Cycle 2/3 years in advance. The very last troops in Iraq came out in 2009, so make sure he gets his dates right.
He flew to Bagdad then straight on to Death Valley No, British Military don't fly into Bhagdad.
He received instructions from his General Unikely - What rank is the soldier? The CO (Lt Col) is more likely to give his Regiment 'the plan', The OC (Maj) will instruct his Company in detail.
Some other soldiers arrived at the house to collect him, dressed in sand coloured uniforms Context required - are these mates that are going on Ops with him? Families do quite often take their soldier to camp to wave them off, others prefer to say their goodbyes at home.
Also, the dad reappears at the end as a surprise seems unlikely to me Surprise to who? If the kids, then yes, I know wives that do this, but very unlikely a wife wouldn't know the date of return (unless he's been injured / been flown back early for a specific reason).
Lastly, do all families with a dad in the forces live on a base? No, but if you are talking about a Regt where they all move together then more will than wont (housing is much cheaper). Or do you mean 'inside the wire'? Most quarters are on a patch away from the actual Regimental Buildings IYSWIM. Families don't have to go through a security gate to get home.
Hope this helps, happy to answer any more questions
Six to twelve months is the average lead-in time for an op tour IME but it can vary depending on the regiment/corps.
I'm afraid I don't know the answer to the flight into Baghdad question.
Instructions from his General - unless the Dad is a senior officer, unlikely. If he's a private/corporal/sargeant he's likely to receive his orders from his OC who would probably be a Lieutenant/Captain and, possibly, a Major. If he's a junior officer - then his orders would come from his Company Commander (a Major) or his CO (a Lieutenant Colonel).
Soldiers arriving to collect him - possible, depending on his location.
Not all families live on base (we currently don't) but the vast majority do live in married quarters.
Appearing home as a surprise - slightly unlikely. If the Dad is an infanteer and is on tour with his battalion, then the end of tour date would be well known. If he's posted as an individual, then he could keep his EOT date as a surprise but it would be unusual.
Hi folks, He's a really sweet cadet and lacks a decent father figure, hence the reason why he's chosen to write about a hero type dad in his short story, which will contribute to his final English grade. I've read the story and, although my knowledge of the forces is nil, it just doesn't sound convincing. Here are the things I see as being a problem... 'He knew 2 years in advance he was going to Iraq' - realistically, how much warning would he get? 'He flew to Bagdad then straight on to Death Valley' - is this really how the journey would go? 'He received instructions from his General' - is General the right title here? 'Some other soldiers arrived at the house to collect him, dressed in sand coloured uniforms' - could you tell me the usual process for leaving to go on tour of duty. Also, the dad reappears at the end as a surprise - seems unlikely to me. Lastly, do all families with a dad in the forces live on a base?