Members of the most northerly RAF Reserve squadron joined Army Reserves from 7 Scots Regiment to conduct a two day assault exercise at Fort George, Inverness-shire. The Exercise was made all the more realistic by the integration of the Chinooks from 27 Squadron (normally based at RAF Odiham) who were on detachment to RAF Lossiemouth.
The purpose of this training weekend was to provide realistic enemy position assault training for Armed Forces Reservists who come from varied backgrounds and have a range of civilian jobs.
After initial training and planning briefs the Army Reservists began the exercise by providing fire support on the enemy targets. The Chinook airlifted the RAF Reservists from RAF Lossiemouth to the training area and dropped them into the landing zone. From there the RAF men proceeded to carry out a land based assault on the targets. The undulating ground, covered in thick gorse, provided an additional challenge to the manoeuvre as the Servicemen continued to progress and eventually take the enemy position.
The first day’s training ended with a simulated casualty evacuation, with the Chinook being brought in again to airlift the ‘casualty’. For the second day of the weekend Regular RAF Regiment instructors were brought in to fine tune the Reservists’ battle drill skills.
This recent training event was the first that had integrated training of Army and RAF Reserves in such a practical way in the north of Scotland. Flt Lt Mick Morley is the Training Officer at 2622(Highland) Squadron, he said:
“This was an excellent training weekend for our Reserve personnel. We were able to co-ordinate the Army’s ground troops and ours along with utilising the visiting Chinook helicopters to create an exercise that was really challenging.
“Everyone performed really well and by the end of the weekend our battle drills were pretty slick.”
A big change to their normal civilian work routine, Senior Aircraftsman Pete Kelly,54, teaches physics at Elgin High School during the week, but also fulfils a commitment to the Reserves as a RAF Regiment ‘Gunner’. Likewise for Senior Aircraftsman Phil Thornley, 42, who is a wind farm facilities manager and lives in Ellon.
Flight Lieutenant Morley added:
“For RAF Reservists, who come from a variety of backgrounds and have a huge range of experiences, this training is really important. We provide the best instructors and training to give the Reservists in 2622(Highland) Squadron the skills and information they need to be an important part of the UK’s Armed Forces protecting our interests at home and overseas.”
“We ask a limited commitment from our Reservists, but we can give them physical, mental and emotional challenges that will help them in their personal and working lives outside of the Royal Air Force Reserves.”
2622 Squadron are recruiting personnel aged 18 – 54 yrs to become RAF Regiment Gunners. The Regular RAF Regiment protects aircraft and personnel deployed on operations around the world. Reservists form part of this elite force and come from all walks of life from tradesmen, office and retail workers, teachers, students, self employed, unemployed etc. They attend a minimum of 27 days training a year including one 2-week residential period however those with extra time to spare attend much more. They receive a daily rate of pay and travel expenses from home address to RAF Lossiemouth, plus a substantial annual tax-free Bounty.
Once enlisted Reservists attend a few monthly training weekends of General Service Knowledge, foot drills, etc and just get to know a bit about the Reserves and 2622 Squadron prior to attending a 2-week residential training course. Many employers allow their staff extra annual leave for this.
Information on all
aspects of the Reserves including eligibility can be found on the RAF Careers website (Regular
& Reserves) You can apply online, or call 2622 Squadron on 01343 817390 and
speak directly with one of the Recruiters.
Photographs: Cpl Dave Blackburn
2622(Highland) Squadron personnel are airlifted to the Exercise area.
2622(Highland) Squadron personnel carry out battle drills.
Senior Aircraftsman Phil Thornley.
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