8 FP Wg HQ Normal Jogging
Since the last article 8 Force Protection Wing HQ has continued at pace with supporting the RAF Reserve Regt annual military skills competition in Otterburn Training area.
This area is located a hair’s breadth from the Scottish border and considered by many to be the most arduous training area in the British Isles.
For those readers lucky enough to have never been to Otterburn Training Area, it can best be described as: the south is a bleak mountainous hell hole where within moments of arriving every ounce of your being wishes for the torrent of appalling weather to stop and the north of the training area is all together infinitely worse. Thankfully the RAF Force Protection HQ was kind enough to not only book the worst training area but the worst part of it (the north) and during the worst weather period in 2014. This aside, our reserve counterparts dug deep and after some miserable fog and rain the event ended with the RAF Waddington RAF Regt Reserve Sqn coming a well-fought second.
No sooner had we finalised one exercise almost in Scotland we were warned off for a much larger one in Scotland in the form of Ex JOINT WARRIOR which will see 8 FP Wg HQ staff acting as exercise coordination and directing staff for our counterparts from 5 Force Protection Wing from RAF Lossiemouth who will operate from West Freugh on the west coast of Scotland. Whilst this exercise isn’t planned until April, the reams of staff work have now started with the numerous trips down south to 3 Commando Brigade, who we will be exercising with, east to 16 Air Assault Brigade who will also be exercising, and up north to West Freugh. During many of these long trips the Staff have got to know more about each other than many married couples; indeed more than perhaps one would want to know….
With such a busy year planning and running exercises in support of other Force Elements we were looking forward to a well-deserved break over the Christmas period. However, due to our ‘knowledge of Waddington aircraft’, we were tasked to lead on the guarding support to 51 Sqn over the New Year period which meant getting back into the beloved Ford Focus for yet another road trip but this time to RAF Mildenhall where we were to liaise with our American colleagues in order to arrive at a combined plan for the aircraft arrival. This meant that whilst working hard on coming up with a robust plan to suit all parties we were also afforded some opportunity to increase our cultural awareness… and it turns out that Sgt Morris can not drink an entire supersize Burger King Pepsi. As the plan finalised, Sgt Morris along with several RAF Regt Reserve personnel started their guarding duty on 28th December and will continue to provide this vital service up until March.
In addition to all this work Cpl ‘Trig’ Morrissey and SAC ‘Murry’ Murry attended the advanced signaller course at RAF Honington where they were taught how to establish and maintain complicated communication in support of both land and air units. During this course they were expected to understand all elements of the communications system used by the RAF Regt including how weather and the ionosphere can affect the signal output…if I’m brutally honest I stopped listening after that but needless to say our lads performed incredibly well and moreover know everything they need to get communications.
In addition to the two signallers SAC ‘Eddie’ Munro was selected for the RAF Regt Lance Corporal Promotion course commonly known as the FT1, where after a refresh on the basic soldiering skills required of a Regt Gunner including running around with ridiculous amounts of weight whilst lots of unnecessary military shouting takes place, he will be given the tools and opportunity to lead a Fire Team of 4 men in combat scenarios. This course is a prerequisite to the rank of Lance Corporal and we wish him every success.
– ‘wisdom in defence’