Teacher to defender – RAF and Army part-timers in joint exercise

RAF and Army reserves based in Moray conducted a joint exercise
RAF and Army reserves based in Moray conducted a joint exercise

MORAY RESERVE FORCES from the Army and RAF Regiment tested their skills against each other over a weekend joint exercise.

The exercise involved both 2622(Highland) Squadron from RAF Lossiemouth and troops from 7 Scots Regiment who are based in Elgin. To add a touch of realism to the occasion Chinooks from 27 Squadron from RAF Odiham also took part.

While those taking part spend most of their time in normal civilian jobs, the military roles they train for are every bit as intense as those held by full-time RAF Gunners and Army soldiers.

Following initial training and planning briefs the Army Reservists began the exercise by providing fire support on ‘enemy’ targets. Meanwhile the Chinook airlifted the RAF Reservists from Lossiemouth to the training area and dropped them into the landing zone.

From there the RAF men proceeded to carry out a land based assault on the targets, with the undulating ground, covered in thick gorse, provided an additional challenge to the manoeuvre as the Servicemen continued to progress and eventually take the enemy position.

The first day’s training ended with a simulated casualty evacuation, with the Chinook being brought in again to airlift the ‘casualty’. For the second day of the weekend Regular RAF Regiment instructors were brought in to fine tune the Reservists’ battle drill skills.

Following what was the first such event that integrated training of Army and RAF Reserves in such a practical way in the north of Scotland, Flt Lt Mick Morley, the Training Officer at 2622(Highland) Squadron, said: “This was an excellent training weekend for our Reserve personnel.

“We were able to co-ordinate the Army’s ground troops and ours along with utilising the visiting Chinook helicopters to create an exercise that was really challenging. Everyone performed really well and by the end of the weekend our battle drills were pretty slick.”

SAC Pete Kelly, who teaches physics at Elgin High School in his day job, was one of the RAF Gunners involved in the exercise.  Flight Lieutenant Morley added: “For RAF Reservists, who come from a variety of backgrounds and have a huge range of experiences, this training is really important.

“We provide the best instructors and training to give the Reservists in 2622(Highland) Squadron the skills and information they need to be an important part of the UK’s Armed Forces protecting our interests at home and overseas.

“We ask a limited commitment from our Reservists, but we can give them physical, mental and emotional challenges that will help them in their personal and working lives outside of the Royal Air Force Reserves.”

2622 Squadron are recruiting personnel aged 18–54 to become RAF Regiment Gunners. The Regular RAF Regiment protects aircraft and personnel deployed on operations around the world.

Reservists form part of this elite force and come from all walks of life from tradesmen, office and retail workers, teachers, students, self-employed or unemployed. They attend a minimum of 27 days training a year including one two-week residential period – however, those with extra time to spare can and do attend much more.

They receive a daily rate of pay and travel expenses from home address to RAF Lossiemouth, plus a substantial annual tax-free Bounty.

Information on all aspects of the Reserves including eligibility can be found on the RAF Careers website (Regular & Reserves) or on the Army Reserves Website.

For further information those interested can also call 2622 Squadron on 01343 817390 and speak directly with one of the Recruiters.