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Midlands soldiers swap radios for weapons to hone combat skills in Cyprus

More than a hundred Stafford based soldiers from the Royal Corps of Signals left behind their state-of-the-art communications technology to focus on training for close combat during Exercise Kronos Hunter.

114 soldiers deployed on the Exercise. There was a mix of experience with some soldiers having only joined the Regiment in recent months and the issues of heat, water and a barren landscape took the soldiers out of their comfort zone SECOND LIEUTENANT EVAN WATTS,
16 SIGNAL REGIMENT

Members of 16 Signal Regiment whose day job is in communications put their trades to one side and deployed to Cyprus, to develop their soldiering skills, including marksmanship, tactical live firing and core combat skills.

Based at Beacon Barracks, Stafford and armed with Falcon, a military communications system that can share voice, data and video, the Regiment’s role is to ensure safe and secure communications during operations.

Falcon is the joint tactical trunk communications system for the Land Environment. It replaced Ptarmigan and uses Internet Protocol technology to provide a high capacity, tactical, formation level secure, communication system for the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC), Royal Air Force (RAF) and UK Divisions and Brigades.

Troop Commander Second Lieutenant Evan Watts said: “114 soldiers deployed on the Exercise. There was a mix of experience with some soldiers having only joined the Regiment in recent months and the issues of heat, water and a barren landscape took the soldiers out of their comfort zone.

“They tested their fitness, endurance, and decision-making skills. It was an excellent training opportunity for the soldiers to give and receive orders and think about things in a different  context and environment.”

I was taught these infantry skills in basic training and haven’t worked on them much since, so its good to refresh. Its important that our infantry skills are as good as our work in communications SIGNALLER H’TOO, 16 SIGNAL REGIMENT

Signaller H’Too said: “It’s been good to get out in the field for some realistic training. I was taught these infantry skills in basic training and haven’t worked on them much since, so its good to refresh. Its important that our infantry skills are as good as our work in communications.”

At the end of the exercise, soldiers also enjoyed a period of Adventurous Training with activities including hill walking and water sports.

Alongside the signallers are troops from attached trades including chefs, clerks, medics and REME engineers. Soldiers like Craftsman Ryan Davies who is a vehicle mechanic. With two years of service, he has just scratched the surface on the things he wants to do.

He said: “When I joined, I wanted to travel and gain qualifications and so far I’ve been to Peru and now Cyprus and I’m going to Germany this year.”

He said: “We did our annual shooting test during the exercise and for the adventure training side we went hill walking which was fun.”

When I joined, I wanted to travel and gain qualifications and so far I’ve been to Peru and now Cyprus and I’m going to Germany this year CRAFTSMAN RYAN DAVIES,
16 SIGNAL REGIMENT

“I’m loving it. I’ve experienced civilian life and don’t think I would want to go back.”

Exercise planner Major Russell Heynes said: “It was a beneficial training exercise for all the soldiers. It made the team stronger and allowed me to get to know them better and see their strengths and weaknesses.

“It wasn’t only the soldiers on the ground being tested. The team planning and the preparation prior to deployment tested the command team and ensured the soldiers were trained to the required standard ready to deploy.

“It tested our Quartermaster team who were responsible for ensuring we were logistically compliant to deploy and the logistics team had to sustain the force throughout the exercise.”

Over the past twelve months the Regiment has had personnel deployed on operations, training exercises and adventure training around the world including Kenya, the Falklands, Oman, Germany, Nepal, Peru, Poland and the Alps.