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2011-2012 Training

2011-2012 Training

Written by Sgt Jason Connolly

Following the return of B Company soldiers from their operational tour in Afghanistan with 2 and 3 PARA, the Company launched into a period of consolidation training which has seen the successful reintegration of those soldiers with its existing members, particularly those new members who are the successful products of recent Pre-Parachute Selection (P Company) courses.

This training has seen the Company deploy on camp with the Battalion in Arnhem, Holland – Exercise Orange Marauder – in September 2011, during which our soldiers worked with their Dutch counterparts, with the exercise culminating in the parachute descent onto the WWII drop-zone of their predecessors in 1944. This annual commemorative event has a multi-national flavour with parachutists drawn from airborne forces in the UK, USA, Holland, Poland, Czech Republic and Germany, and gave the opportunity for our soldiers to earn their foreign wings by jumping with these forces respective equipment and aircraft.

Company training weekends have focussed on the basic and the essential skills and drills of a Parachute Regiment soldier and as a member of a Section or Platoon. This has seen a significant amount of work to renew and develop these drills through progressively difficult battle exercises at each level and which will culminate in an airborne exercise to test the soldiers at all levels of command before the Battalion formally becomes part of 16 Air Assault Brigade in April 2012.

In addition to this field training, portions of the weekends and training nights have been dedicated to covering all of the essential Military Annual Training Tests (MATT), whilst ensuring regular fitness and physical training is incorporated wherever possible. In doing so, this maintains the standards expected of our soldiers and enables them to make the most of the training opportunities available them.

Away from field training, Company members have participated in ‘Freedom Parades’ in Leeds and Bradford and have risen to the challenge of foot and rifle drill to the many spectators at these events. Doing so ensures that the Company, Battalion and Regiment remains in the public eye and so attracts potential recruits to the ranks. B Company has been particularly successful in this respect through its activities of Recruitment and the Recruit Training Teams continue to produce the new soldiers needed to take the Battalion forward in the future. Additionally, many of its members have participated in overseas adventure training (AT) exercises and expeditions: Alpine skiing, scuba diving and mountaineering which are the rewards for the hard work demonstrated in their field training.

That immediate future includes the integration of the Battalion into 16 Air Assault Brigade in April 2012 and for the Company, confirmation of its involvement in the London Olympics. In addition to these significant events, B Company looks forward to future field firing exercises, overseas training exercises in the USA and Holland, and its members continuing to participate in overseas AT expeditions. The next 6 months will be a busy and testing period but B Company remains well placed to meet the varied challenges and opportunities that await its soldiers and their commanders.

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