Redcaps prepare for challenging airborne operations

Exercise Redcap Pegasus has seen 156 Provost Company, 4th Regiment Royal Military Police training on the windswept STANTA Ranges in Norfolk to be ready to provide military policing support to 16 Air Assault Brigade, the British Army’s Rapid Reaction Force.

Airborne operations - where troops could find themselves operating in hostile territory with limited reinforcement and resupply - demand soldiers on top of their specialist skills, but also able to show initiative and flexibility to meet the needs of the mission.

The Redcaps started the two-week training with an infantry masterclass from 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment to develop their infantry and patrolling skills, before focussing on their core policing skills of detainee handling, evidence gathering and route reconnaissance and signing.

Major Mike Boyd, Officer Commanding 156 Pro Coy RMP, described the training as “a building block” to confirm the unit’s skills ahead of larger exercises alongside 16 Air Assault Brigade.

“Airborne operations demand soldiers working at a higher mental and physical standard,” he said. “We all need to be physically robust and able to live, manoeuvre and fight alongside paratroopers. While doing that, a junior soldier may find themselves working as the sole policing specialist with little ability to receive direction. Soldiers have to demonstrate that they’re on top of their skills to be able to carry the responsibility of making the right policing decisions on their own.”

Lance Corporal Sarah Hill, 22 from Sheringham, Norfolk said: “Being on high readiness keeps us all on our toes. Everything has to be ready to go so training like this keeps our skills sharp, our kit is always packed, keeping physical fitness up is vital and we need a flexible mindset. But I’m proud to be serving in such a demanding role.

We learn infantry tactics, but the 3 PARA lads have really taken us out of our comfort zone – they’re all about being hard, fast and aggressive. Lance Corporal Sarah Hill

“I’ve worked alongside paratroopers before on exercises in France, Germany and Kenya, but this is the first time they’ve taught us their skills. We learn infantry tactics, but the 3 PARA lads have really taken us out of our comfort zone – they’re all about being hard, fast and aggressive.”

Lance Corporal Harry Holt, 23 from Eltham, South London said: “We provide community policing to Colchester Garrison, and this training is about refreshing and renewing our skills as military police and as soldiers to be ready for operations. We need to have infantry skills so that we can go out on the ground alongside paratroopers and not be a burden. We provide our policing expertise to the Paras, this training is them sharing their skills and everyone becomes better and more rounded soldiers from it.”