609 SQN PRE-FT TRAINING WEEKEND
Over the weekend of the 13-14 Feb 21, Troops from A Flight 609 Sqn took part in a pre-promotion course training exercise on a frozen Catterick Training Area.
Like their regular counterparts, Reserve RAF Regiment Commanders have to attend and pass arduous Tactical Command and Leadership Courses. The Headquarters for the exercise was Shaiba Bivouac Area which was an ideal starting point to launch patrols from and provided the Troops with a secure area to carry out battle prep, field administration and also pre patrol inspections.
The main focus of the training was to give the Troops experience of working as section commanders and section 2ics in prep for their FT courses at RAF Honington. To assist with meeting the training objectives the Flight Commander and senior NCO’s were on hand to supervise and give advice. Saturday began with a
safety brief and a refresher in preventing cold and heat injury. As the ambient temperature on the Saturday did not get above -2.5 and with a good amount of snow on the ground it was vital the Troops looked after themselves and each other. The team medics made regularly temperature checks and kept a keen eye on the trainees.
Throughout the day the Troops embarked on short patrols where they were contacted by enemy forces. This gave the section commander and 2ic the opportunity to practice giving target indications and fire control orders as well as giving the section chance to work together and as fire teams to suppress and assault enemy positions. After each patrol action there would be a short debrief where everyone would have the opportunity to discuss the good and the work on points with the Flight Commander. Hot food was provided from RAF Leeming via the training team for lunch which was welcomed by the Troops. As the tempo of the patrols increased through the afternoon and into the evening the Troops were also issued with night vision aids this provided realistic training and kept the 2ic on his toes adding the valuable equipment to his start state card. After a hard day’s work the Troops were given time to correctly administer themselves changing out of wet clothes and preparing hot meals etc.
The following morning the Troops were keen to put into practice the skills they had learned. The day started with
a 2ics and Tac Sergeant’s inspection which went well and then a refresher on casualty management after which the section commander was given time to carry out rehearsals. The remainder of Sunday morning was spent conducting fighting patrols culminating in the section fighting through an enemy position only to be hit by indirect fire and taking a casualty. The casualty was stabilised and evacuated by stretcher to safety.
There was a debrief over a hot brew before leaving the training area and returning to RAF Leeming to clean the weapons and loaned equipment.
The exercise gave the members of A flight that were able to attend valuable training and hopefully set them up well
for their upcoming arduous promotion courses.