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Armed Forces Minister visits paratroopers

19 January 2017

Armed Forces Minister Mike Penning today paid tribute to the calibre of Britain’s airborne soldiers during a visit to 16 Air Assault Brigade in Colchester.

The Minister visited Merville Barracks to understand more about the unique role of 16 Air Assault Brigade as the British Army’s airborne rapid reaction force, including the challenges it faces and its joint work alongside the UK’s international partners.

Mr Penning met paratroopers from 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment (3 PARA) and was shown the weaponry and equipment they would deploy with as lead unit in the Air Assault Task Force.

'World class'

3 PARA - with attached engineer, artillery, logistics, signals, medical, provost and ISTAR support from the Brigade - is held ready to deploy at short notice on operations around the globe, either independently or alongside the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division or the French Army’s 11e Brigade Parachutiste. Its sister unit, 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment is currently finishing its training before coming on standby in the spring.

Minister of State for the Armed Forces Mike Penning said: “Britain’s Armed Forces are world class, and the quality and motivation of troops from 16 Air Assault Brigade is clear. These soldiers work hard to ensure they are ready to step up at a moment’s notice as a high readiness force to support our operational commitments around the world.”

Paratroopers give Armed Forces Minister Mike Penning a tour of the barracks, where he met soldiers and some of their equipment.

Pictured: Paratroopers give Armed Forces Minister Mike Penning a tour of the barracks, where he met soldiers and saw some of their equipment.

Brigadier Colin Weir DSO MBE, Commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, said: “It was a pleasure to host Mr Penning. We hope that he enjoyed spending time with 16 Air Assault Brigade, learning more about the operational capabilities we offer the wider military, and seeing first-hand the high standards we expect from our soldiers."

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