A SCOTS bride swapped her wedding dress for camouflage and a machine gun after being sent to Afghanistan a week after her wedding.
Vicky Campbell tied the knot with her soldier husband and just had time for a short honeymoon before heading for Helmand.
Vicky, from Dunfermline, Fife, married Lance Corporal Lee and then spent a week on holiday in Cancun, Mexico.
The newlyweds were then separated as Vicky flew to Camp Bastion for her second tour of the war-torn country.
Although the 24-year-old corporal will get home for two weeks after Christmas, Lee, 24, will head for Afghanistan almost as soon as his wife returns next April.
Vicky’s family and friends held a hen party for her in Belfast before her wedding in Edinburgh at the end of September.
She joined the army in 2005 and the couple met when they were both stationed in Germany.
Vicky is currently part of the the Adjutant General Corps.
Pictures on Vicky’s Facebook page show a world a long way from the romance and excitement of being newly married.
She is seen blasting away with a variety of weapons on target ranges in the country.
Wearing desert camouflage, she fires assault rifles, pistols and machine guns down range.
Her parents, Denise and Billy Armstrong, from Dunfermline, say they are proud of their daughter.
The wedding festivities meant Vicky and her family put her Afghan tour to the back of their minds.
Denise, 49,said: “Because the wedding was coming up no one had time to think about Afghanistan.
“Everyone knew at the wedding but no one wanted to say it.
“It’s hard for everyone but someone has to do the job she does.”
She added: “We’re all very proud of Vicky and she loves her job.
“The worst time for the family is the day she goes away. We can’t even look at her when she goes.
“She knew a while before she got married she was going to Afghanistan.
“They got engaged in September last year. She only had eight months to plan it, it was a big wedding.”
Vicky’s military background helped in planning her own wedding, where her sisters and another friend from the Army were the bridesmaids.
Denise said: “She arranged everything, she did it all herself. Everyone said it was one of the best weddings they’d been to.
“She went really overboard with it, she arranged the sweets, balloons, flowers during the day and chocolates.
“She said: ‘It’s the wee things everyone remembers.'”
Vicky’s sister Kelly, 28, said: “Vicky’s only 5’ 2’’. She’s a very happy person, smiling all the time.
“Through the army she’s been to places she would have never been, like Belize and Mexico and she was stationed in Germany.
“She phones home every few days and also keeps in touch with us all through Facebook.”
Her family are also organising shoebox donations for serving soldiers in Afghanistan as Christmas gifts.
Denise said: “Vicky says there are some of the soldiers over there who don’t get any presents which is a real shame and people can help by donating things like deodorant, shower gel, shampoo, magazines chocolate and other things.”
Last week the death of British Army medic Channing Day highlighted the often dangerous work women do the in the armed forces.
The body of Corporal Day, of 3 Medical Regiment, was repatriated this week along with Corporal David O’Connor of the Royal Marines.
The pair were fatally injured in a gun battle last week, and Corporal Day is only the third servicewoman to die in Afghanistan since British troops entered the country in 2001.
In September this year it was revealed a British servicewoman gave birth after not realising she was pregnant.
Earlier this week two British soldiers died after being shot while on patrol by a man wearing Afghan police uniform.
Lieutenant Edward Drummond-Baxter and Lance Corporal Siddhanta Kunwar of The Royal Gurkha Rifles died in what is suspected to be the latest “green on blue” attack on UK forces, where their supposed allies turn against them.