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British soldiers swap Afghanistan for Olympic duty

18 July 2012, 08:45

More used to patrolling the battlefields of Afghanistan than checking Olympic accreditations, smiling British troops fanned out across London's Olympic Park on Tuesday to fill the void left by a private contractor's failure to provide enough guards.

Unarmed but in combat uniforms, soldiers with suntans acquired in exotic locations far from cloudy London were getting accustomed to their temporary theater of action, the 2.5 square kilometres of former industrial wasteland transformed into Olympic venues and accommodation.

With "London 2012" badges starting to join regimental insignia on uniforms, soldiers swapped machine guns for barcode zappers as they manned airport-style checkpoints to the park.Several said they had recently served a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

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