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12 March 2012

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For the first time an RAF Station has provided more than just Airpower to the joint Air and Land Exercise PASHTUN JAGUAR. RAF Benson had the added responsibility of delivering real life support to the 500 JHC exercising troops. The real life support had been delivered adjacent to RAF Benson’s five other major commitments in Op HERRICK, Jordan, Kenya, the UK, and its ongoing preparation for the 2012 Olympics.

Merlin Aircraft carrying out training serials at Netheravon Airfield camp

Exercise PASHTUN JAGUAR 1/12 provides essential pre-deployment training for Joint Helicopter Command (JHC) personnel, whilst also delivering aviation support for the Battle Groups preparing to deploy on Operation HERRICK 16. The Exercise runs over the period 12 Feb – 11 March on Salisbury Plain, and Ex PASHTUN JAGUAR provides the aviation support to the much larger ground exercise for the Brigade troops, Ex PASHTUN DAWN.

Merlin aircraft flying at Netheravon Airfield camp

The Exercise provides a realistic training environment where Air and Land forces work together in a cohesive battlespace. The Exercise prepares JHC personnel and Army Brigade troops for the threats that they will face and combat together in Afghanistan. Additionally, complex training serials and scenarios are compiled by Exercise Control staff, and through this active role-play personnel are provided with a safe environment to test themselves and the equipment that they will be reliant on during Operations.

Real Life Support Tented accommodation for exercising troops

The Real Life Support Team is on site for the full duration of the exercise, working behind the scenes to ensure that the vital training runs smoothly. Real Life Support encompasses; 55,887 meals, 70 canvas tents, and 3500 litres of hot water per day, along with the other logistics that are required to house 500 personnel for one month on a field. This feat has not been made easy by the diversity of the English weather, which plummeted to -11°c in the first week and then soared to +14°c two weeks later!

Officer Commanding Real Life Support Squadron Leader Jim Thorley maintaining site

Never the less as Cpl Dawn Danby a Steward in the Mess said: ‘Although not all of us may be as cool as a Puma Pilot, we are all important to the running of this site.’ And despite the bleak conditions on Salisbury plain, every section has pulled its weight and the Exercise has been a success because of individual sections working cohesively together.

Exercise Pashtun Jaguar Real Life Support site

Behind the scenes of 3 Mobile Catering Squadron

Editor: RAF Benson Media Office

Photographs: Cpl Phil Major RAF Benson

RAF/MOD Crown Copywright 2012

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