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Bovington TA soldiers on exercise
9:52am Monday 21st October 2013 in News
Territorial soldiers from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) have been receiving hands on training on millions of pounds worth of current operational vehicles and equipment.
The TA personnel from units across the UK, who in the future will be known as the Army Reserve, were taking part in Exercise Southern Bluebell on the Salisbury Plain Training Area in Wiltshire.
Its aim was to update their knowledge and competency at their trade, developing them as individuals, so that ultimately they are able to be mobilised and support the Regular Army.
The training on offer included Battle Damage Repair using protected vehicles like those being used on operations in Afghanistan such as Mastiff 2 which costs £1.5 million. The Mastiff 2 along with the likes of Ridgeback, Coyote, Husky and Wolfhound used during the training weekend have come into service through the Ministry of Defence’s Urgent Operational Requirements (UOR), funded by extra Treasury money to provide fast equipment solutions to the ever-changing operational demands of Helmand.
As part of the exercise the Recovery Mechanics were set the challenge of using two 30 tonne Man (SV) recovery vehicles to rescue a fuel tanker that was on its side, pulling it back in to the up right using towing cables and straps and then taking it back to a safe location.
Corporal Mark Davis, 30, has served 12 years with the REME and is attached to The Royal Wessex Yeomanry in Bovington, Dorset. He lives in the town and works repairing military vehicles for The Defence Support Group (DSG) which is also based near his TA unit.
“I get plenty of opportunity to train and I went to Germany in July of this year with 150 Recovery Company which was an excellent host and it was a brilliant camp doing recovery.
“I have also been on annual camp with my regiment, The Royal Wessex Yeomanry, out here on Salisbury Plain with the Challenger 2 Tank, so am very busy with the TA”.
“I have also worked in Afghanistan with my civilian job with DSG.
“I spent 54 weeks in Camp Bastion repairing Army vehicles which was quite a long stint but very, very good and worthwhile, I learnt a lot.”
There were a whole range of training stands for REME Reserve trades delivered by both Regular and TA instructing staff. This ranged from the basics for Potential Tradesmen moving through to Armourers learning to repair a whole range of operational weapons systems from a pistol through to a Light Machine Gun.
Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Harty is the Course Director and has served 35 years in the TA. He is now retired from his civilian working life as Head of Business Management for British Telecom.
“With something in the order of ten percent of those in theatre being from the TA there is quite a large call on the reserves now, and under Army 2020 and Future Reserves 20 that is going to become even more prevalent.
“So it is important that they learn on operational equipment as that is what they will be working on in Afghanistan or other future deployments or even at our training overseas training bases such as BATUC in Canada.
“With a blend of experienced TA and Regular instructors – the benefits speak for themselves – as they share it with their colleagues.”
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