TA soldier from Saffron Walden trains for frontline commitment
A TERRITORIAL Army soldier from Saffron Walden has just returned from an overseas training programme in Texas, USA. Lance Corporal Christopher Brown, an infantry section commander with the 3rd Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment, spent two weeks training in
A TERRITORIAL Army soldier from Saffron Walden has just returned from an overseas training programme in Texas, USA.
Lance Corporal Christopher Brown, an infantry section commander with the 3rd Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment, spent two weeks training in the 40C heat working with US counterparts in a valuable preparation tool.
The intensive training culminated with a simulated assault on a mock town, which the American and British soldiers arrived at by US-flown Black Hawk helicopters, giving them practical experience in a conflict situation.
The exercise is part of a two-year training plan that looks ahead to their 2011 deployment to Cyprus along the UN's greenline, and their future commitment in Afghanistan. The battalion is also sending 64 soldiers to Afghanistan this year.
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Thirty-year-old L Cpl Brown, who has recently left his job as a buyer with Spicers to become a police officer, said: "I've taken away a lot of confidence in myself.
"It's to reassure myself that I can command a section into an attack and look after the seven guys in the section without any major problems.
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"The exercise was a lot of fun as well, and it was good to work with our closest allies in a joint training programme. They are a good bunch of lads."
The role of the TA has changed markedly in recent years, meaning that those joining the TA can expect to see an operational tour within 18 months, although deployment on it is voluntary.
Lt Col Dennis Vincent, the Commanding Officer for the battalion, said that the operational tempo of recent years had meant that rather than acting as a "last resort", the TA was now a vital part of the nation's deployment capability.
"The demands being placed on the military mean that we are no longer a reserve force, we are first choice and the army could not operate as effectively without us," he said.
"There is no place in the territorials for people who are not prepared to fight. The attitude of the men is fantastic. They are all prepared to step-up to the challenge and often we have more volunteers than we need for a particular deployment.