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Operations and Overseas Training

As a member of 299 Parachute Squadron there is opportunity to serve on an attachment to the Regular Army, whether for a particular operational tour, for a longer period of up to two years or a shorter time for an exercise or adventure training.

Any of these engagement types are beneficial to both the soldier and the Army. The Army gains extra manpower for a period, and the reservist gains invaluable experience both for his civilian and reserve forces career.

Since 299's reformation in 2006, personnel have served with the Regular Army in Afghanistan, Cyprus, Germany, America, Nepal, Kenya and the Falkland Islands.

Mobilisation

Mobilisation is the process whereby members of the Army Reserve are called up for service on a specific task but volunteers are always welcomed. Whilst mobilised a soldiers job is protected by law and he will be paid whichever is the highest of his military or civilian salary.

For details about mobilised service and support for employers visit the www.sabre.mod.uk web site.

Attachments

Short-term attachments with a Regular Army unit can be arranged for a suitable soldier for the duration of a particular activity such as an exercise, general daily works duties or adventure training activity.

Operation HERRICK - Afghanistan

From 2006 up to 2013 soldiers from the Squadron have deployed on Operation HERRICK in Helmand Province Afghanistan.
Thirteen soldiers deployed with 23 Engineer Regiment (Air assault) on Op HERRICK 13 in Afghanistan during September 2010 to March 2011. These sappers were integrated into field Troops with their Regular Army counterparts. Some of the tasks undertaken by the Engineers during their tour were: route maintenance and construction, FOB and Patrol base construction, locating buried improvised explosive devices, mentoring members of the Afghan National Army and close support engineering to infantry patrols

Exercise KELP FIRE - Falkland Islands

In September 2014 The Squadron headed down to the Falkland Islands with 23 Parachute Engineer Regiment to complete construction tasks. Tasks included repairing a Helicopter Landing Site in the Western Isle at Byron Heights, repairing leaks and damage at the various Rapier sites around Mount Pleasant Airfield and to recce and repair a road that leads up to Byron Heights. Due to the severity of the wind and unpredictability of the weather the tasks were challenging to say the least but everyone pulled together and our tasks were completed on time.

Meanwhile five personnel from Support Troop disappeared into the central wilds of West Falkland to a place called Onion Range. Their task was to carry the removal of a bund to enable 9 Parachute Squadron to start accommodation improvements to enhance the living facilities of units using Onion Ranges. The team also levelled and extended the equipment park to enable it to be used as a helicopter landing area.

Back at Mount Pleasant Airfield some of the guys headed back to the UK early to take part in the Arnhem parachute celebrations whilst the rest of the guys visited Port Stanley for 3 days of adventure training and battlefield tours. Some of the soldiers had the chance to see some of the best wildlife they had ever seen, vultures, seals, whales dolphins, penguins, kara kara birds, all that on just one bike ride around Stanley. Next trip was to take in a couple of battlefield tours. Mount Harriet was first on the list followed by Mount Tumbledown and finally Mount Longdon.

Exercise ASKARI STORM- KENYA

In late September 2014 a small group of soldiers from 299 Parachute Squadron and 9 Parachute Squadron headed out to Kenya to tackle two    TLZ’s (Temporary Landing Zones) and re establish a Drop Zone in time for the 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiments Battle Group to commence airborne operations as part of Exercise ASKARI STORM.

The first airstrip to tackle was a remote and barren piece of land on the edge of a game reserve. There was already a small bush airstrip used by the local landowner and students of Harvard University to track and tag wild animals. The task was to widen, lengthen and generally upgrade the airstrip to accept a C130 Hercules (logistic aircraft) and the team had only 6 days before moving on to the next job.

From Impala Farm they moved straight up to Archers Post and to an airstrip that had been used in the past but had issues. It was also famous for being in the Film “Wild Geese”.

During the exercise period an RAF C130 did numerous flights into Impala Farm and Archers Post with 120 paratroopers jumping into the Drop Zone at Ol Kanjo. The Hercules Pilot commented that the airstrips were so good it was like landing at RAF Brize Norton.

A few Members of 299 parachute Squadron also took part in the building of a football pitch and completed some other basic maintenance tasks around a school in central Kenya close to the main town of Naynuki. Tetu school is home to 236 pupils with an age range of 5 to 14 years old, most of whom are orphans and who have very little in the way of personal possessions.

During the initial look around, Private Johnson and Sapper Themeras handed out sweets to the pupils and joined in with a sing along that brought a ray of sunshine on a day that the heavens opened up and rain of biblical proportions came down!

Many projects like this take place and leaves something that contributes to the welfare of underprivileged locals. The 299 Parachute Squadron contingent are very proud of our contribution and will remember Tetu school for years to come

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