Moray airmen test out their civilian protection skills

RAF Regiment gunners
RAF Regiment gunners training in Jordan

RAF REGIMENT PERSONNEL based in Moray have returned from participating in a major multinational exercise in Jordan.

Working alongside elements of the US Marine Corps and Jordanian Armed Forces, RAF Lossiemouth’s 51 Squadron were testing their skills in a variety of real-life scenarios.

C Flight, a relatively inexperienced Rifle Flight from 51 Squadron RAF Regiment, provided the core of the Squadron’s deployed personnel. The Flight’s numbers were boosted to 41 personnel with the attachment of snipers, machine gunners, a paramedic, specialist RAF Police men and women, and RAF Police Military Working Dogs.

The training was conducted in the arid and mountainous region of Al Quwayra, in Southern Jordan and gave the Flight a chance to practice all the component parts of operations in a challenging and realistic environment.

RAF Regiment gunners such a SAC Joseph Maden had to quickly acclimatise to hot desert conditions whilst also watching out for the numerous camel spiders and scorpions that were spotted throughout the Exercise.

He said: “It was an interesting and enjoyable experience. It was beneficial to be training in an environment similar to where we may end up working, rather than training in the cold rain of Scotland.”

After the initial exercise the airmen moved to Amman where they trained alongside US Marines in ‘crisis response training’. This included working alongside the British and United States embassies, rehearsing a non-combatant evacuation operation which simulated the safe evacuation of 200 UK and US citizens.

Taking part was SAC Thomas Bunting, who commented: “The training in Amman was really interesting.

“I especially enjoyed integrating with the Americans and learning about how they did certain things differently to us, such as the weapon systems they used, and escalation of force drills. We would also exchange rations for the novelty factor – the Americans will do anything for chocolate spread.”

After completion of the second phase the Squadron took the unique opportunity to visit the historical site of Petra, famous for its architecture cut directly into the rock.

Declaring the exercise as a great success, OC 51 Squadron RAF Regiment, Squadron Leader John Kirman, said: “The Exercise provided a fantastic opportunity for my RAF Regiment gunners and attached RAF Police men and women to work together in challenging conditions and alongside coalition partners.

“Together with the UK and US Embassies and with our US Marine colleagues, we practised our procedures for the short-notice evacuation of a large number of civilians from a hostile and rapidly deteriorating situation by air, one of the tasks that we may be required to complete for real.

“Jordan has some outstanding training facilities and has provided the perfect environment in which to complete realistic, relevant and high quality training to prepare the Squadron for future operations.”