Paras compete in poignant competition

Paratroopers have competed against each other to be the best while celebrating one of The Parachute Regiment’s heroes.

The Budd VC Cup saw the platoons of 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment (3 PARA) put through their paces around Colchester’s Friday Woods and Fingringhoe Ranges. Across 24 hours, troops in full battle rig were tested with a 10-mile speed march, a 10-mile patrol testing their basic soldiering skills and a two-mile march and shoot.

The competition is named in honour of 3 PARA’s Corporal Bryan Budd VC, who was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for his "inspirational leadership and supreme valour" during heavy fighting in Afghanistan’s war-torn Helmand Province in 2006.

Machine Gun Platoon won the event and were yesterday *Wed 20 Jun* presented with the trophy by Brigadier Nick Perry DSO MBE, Commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, during an informal parade at Merville Barracks.

Machine Gun Platoon commander Lieutenant Tom Griffiths said: “As airborne soldiers, we get dropped in behind enemy lines and have to fend for ourselves. Each individual soldier needs to be on top of basic soldiering skills and have the physical toughness and mental resilience to do the operation asked of them. Events like this give our soldiers confidence in their own skills and those of the man standing next to them. It’s been a tough competition and everyone had to dig deep, but winning makes it enjoyable!”

The skills tested ranged from shooting to signalling and navigation to first aid.

Corporal Carl King said: “Healthy competition is good, and our younger soldiers have learnt a lot about leadership, confidence and the standards that are expected of them. It’s really important that we remember Cpl Budd VC, because what he did in Afghanistan is what is expected of every single soldier if they are called upon.”

3 PARA is currently held at very high readiness as the lead infantry unit in the Air Assault Task Force (AATF), ready to deploy anywhere in the world to conduct the full range of military operations.