View Full Version : Gaz's Deployment Blog #2 by [R-DEV]Gaz

2010-04-19, 12:10
The 2nd installment...

As previously mentioned, I want to keep this blog series as current and regular as possible. It's my first blogging experience so will be interesting to look back on occasions :)

Firstly, I want to mention OPSEC. OPSEC is Operational Security, which any serving or ex serving soldiers, sailors or airmen will recognise. There will be holes or vague comments made throughout my blogs, or details left out intentionally. This is because there is kit and things that we are duty bound not to discuss. Especially on the internet!

Since my last, I have squared away a lot of 'personal admin'. I've sourced birth certificates for my 2 young sons, bothered ordering a chequebook (only way you can lift money in-theatre...not too many street ATMs, and no jingly shops take Maestro/Mastercard), registering with a dentist after 3 years of avioding them at all costs (need 2 extractions and 4 fillings in the next few weeks), organised legal power of attorny for my mum to keep an eye on my personal finances while I'm away, renewed my passport (expires Feb 2011, and will be a tad hard to renew on tour), made plans for relatives to renew the tax and MOT on my car while away, and lastly wrote a current will. All stuff that needs done and dusted prior to going, to make sure things go smoothly without any hiccups from home to worry about.

So another prep weekend has came and went, with training progressing so each man deploying will be fully trained and up to the operational and fitness level required to walk straight in and operate effectively. Friday evening entailed a 2 hour bus journey followed by an introduction to kit that one must not speak of, from 2200 - 2300hrs. We were also given our newly raised Company title that we will operate as through all PDT until we shake out into the rifle platoons and Support Companies in 1 R IRISH at Tern Hill. That title is Barossa Coy. The title comes from a battle in 1811, where the historical forefather Regiments of the R IRISH took the first French Imperial Eagle (http://royalirishrangers.co.uk/barrosa.html).

Various range work ensued on Saturday, using IW (individual rifles - L85A2) against moving targets at various ranges, and various automatic shoots. Concurrent activities included fault finding and carriage of the equipment covered from the lesson from Friday night. We also zeroed our CWS (Common Weapon Sights - the night vision sights). Lessons were also conducted on VALLON, the metal detectors you see patrols using to attempt to find IEDs.

Roll on Sunday, where PT was the order of the day. Advanced CFT 1 (of 2). The ACFT1 is a follow on from the basic CFT (8 miler tab). There are a number of parts to ACFT1, which include running 1.5 miles in under 15 minutes wearing boots, webbing, daysack and rifle, adding to a set weight. The other MRTs (military related tasks) include carrying 2 full water jerrycans 100m, 200m 'dash down' sprints going prone at various distances and sprinting again, and of course the 100m casevac, where you fireman's lift a mate of similar weight with kit on. I'm a skinny bugger with not a huge amount of upper body strength, and I did feel my legs wobbling near the 100m point with a 15 stone ginger fella over my shoulder! Happy to say that all who took part passed ACFT1. Roll on the 2nd one, ACFT2, which is a 24 miler tab...

We then took part in a pretty basic battle exercise. As Pl Sgt, I ended up in charge as per usual. Shaking out my group, we had 3 multiples of 5, with myself in overall command (and being team 1 commander), and 2 JNCOs as the other 2 team commanders. VALLON and other elements of the weekend's teaching were included which brought to light how slow patrolling can and no doubt will be in theatre. The lead element (my team) came under IED contact and the patrol were then engaged by small arms fire to our left flank. Got the initial contact report in, got the other two teams up to put down suppression fire, and detailed team medics to deal with the 2 casulties we sustained whilst under fire. Fired the initial cas report down the net, and bods were pulled from the fire base they had formed to extract the casulties to an HLS (Heli Landing Site) under cover. Good extraction by the lads who worked hard. Credit to the dealing medics, who wrote on the cas sim lads' heads with permy pens the treatment administered. Good drills ;)

Debrief detailed a few things that are new to some of the command elements (including myself) that need considering, and definately further training on the ins and outs of '9 liners' and '10 liners', full contact reports and full casevac request reports, are required for everyone. Considerations for other protective equipment is definately a priority to ensure safety for the troops as well, and something only a few have used previously. Good points to take away and think about, as it's still a learning experience for all ranks. Stuff like this needs practised time and time again until we have it down. At the minute I would say we have it 40% down. A lot of work to do. The basics are there, but there are a lot of minor elements that definately needs remedial. After this, we then went on to shooting LMG (Minimi), and squaring ourselves away for getting home.

Throughout the weekend, the finalised ORBAT started to gel already, and getting to know people better who were just previously 'not A Coy' for me was good. Out of the 77 blokes deploying as Barossa Coy, it's interesting to note that of the whole group, there are approx 10% who are new (a couple only completed basic a week ago and specifically for this deployment) have never previously done a tour. The other 90% have all completed more than one tour of Northern Ireland, Iraq or Afghanistan, or a mixture. The experience already held within the Coy is very good to see.

My next update will be in about 2 weeks all being well, after the 24 miler.

More... (https://www.realitymod.com/forum/blogs/1491/b192-gazs-deployment-blog-2.html)