Over 200 soldiers from the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) have taken part in Exercise Iron Challenge, the 3rd (United Kingdom) Division Technical Training Exercise (TTX) at Longmoor Military Camp and Bordon training area in Hampshire.
REME personnel came from over 50 different units ranging from the Royal Tank Regiment to the Household Cavalry and 24 Commando Royal Engineers to 4 Regiment Army Air Corps. Drawn from locations at Kinloss in Northern Scotland to Chivenor in Devon and everywhere in between, they were all aiming to achieve validation in a series of training objectives.
This intense training is not only helping me achieve the qualification I need but has also given me more confidence and the opportunity to work closely with other trades too Lance Corporal Eoghann Houston
39 Engineer Regiment
Leading the TTX, Lieutenant Colonel Neil Robertson, Commanding Officer, 3 Armoured Close Support Battalion REME:
“Exercise Iron Challenge is about us giving 3rd (UK) Division a better capability.
Giving them people that are better trained and ready to carry out their role, who are better able to keep vehicles in the fight and when they do get broken or need to be repaired, they can do that both quickly and efficiently. The exercise is all about getting people ready for that next phase.”
All eight REME trades were intensely covered during the three-week exercise: Recovery Mechanic, Armourer, Avionics Technician, Electronics Technician, Metalsmith, Vehicle Mechanic, Aircraft Technician and Technical Support Specialists, delivered by a Training Delivery Team of nearly 150 instructors and logistics support from across the Division working in an environment where it is ‘safe to fail’.
The parent regiment may be losing their soldier for a few weeks but when they get them back, they return as much more rounded tradesmen and women with a greater skillset.” WO2 LEIGH HOPWOOD.
CHIEF RECOVERY MECHANIC, 3 BATTALION REME
Warrant Officer Class Two, Leigh Hopwood is Chief Recovery Mechanic, 3 Battalion REME:
“We want to educate these people so that they can add value when they are out on the ground doing tasks. The parent regiment may be losing their soldier for a few weeks but when they get them back, they return as much more rounded tradesmen and women with a greater skillset.”
Exercise Iron Challenge has taken months of planning and preparation. The set-up phase at Longmoor and Bordon took three weeks to complete with over 300 Vehicles and Main Equipment transported to the site from all corners of the UK for students to work on during their three-week placement.
Currently a Class Two Metalsmith, Lance Corporal Eoghann Houston from 39 Engineer Regiment based at Kinloss in Scotland is hoping to validate to Class One status soon:
“This intense training is not only helping me achieve the qualification I need but has also given me more confidence and the opportunity to work closely with other trades too.”
From start to finish Exercise Iron Challenge delivered nearly 28,000 hours of technical training with the prime objective of developing the next generation of technical leaders
Lieutenant Colonel Neil Robertson highlights the importance of the TTX:
“It can sometimes take up to a year to get a junior trades person to a point where they can work unsupervised. Here we can reduce that time into a three-week package which then allows us to return a more professional, competent and confident soldier to the Field Force”