As the temperature in Cyprus steadily increased, so did the events calendar for the 2 MERCIAN AGC(SPS) Detachment. The second quarter of 2019 saw Head of Branch, Col Sykes, and Corps Sergeant Major, WO1 Christopher, visit the island for the Detachment’s first involvement in the Cyprus Triple Crown Challenge as well as a number of promotions throughout the Det and also the annual G1 Audit where all areas of the Battalion’s G1 practices are rigorously dissected to ensure they are legally compliant and operating within regulations.
As well as the continuing mandated MATTs training, the Det has undertaken numerous other professional, technical, military and physical training as part of Det training which has varied from SJAR raising to correct voice procedures (VP), to ‘lessons learned’ presentations. PT sessions are now engineered towards the new Physical Employment Standards (PES) whilst members of the Det have represented HQ Company as the competition to be named Champion Company builds up to an interesting conclusion.
Weekly training for the Cyprus Triple Crown Competition involved plenty of speed marches and track sessions as the competitive spirit within the RAWO, WO2 Katie Ward, was brought to the fore as she was determined to retain the trophy she won whilst competing with her pervious Det, 2 LANCS. The event consisted of a timed 8 mile weighted March, a pistol shoot and numerous military skills stands which involved all AGC personnel from around the island, including military police, educators and legal professionals.
2 MERCIAN’s Det made up the majority of those in attendance, entering four of the nine fire teams, which clearly demonstrated the importance placed on fitness and team cohesion within the Det. Despite their hardest efforts they managed to grasp second place with all Det members thoroughly enjoying the competition, experience and BBQ which followed the event.
In spite of a demanding period, members of the Det have been able to attend a plethora of sporting pursuits such as Ex White Lion (Sgt Morrissey, LCpls Gurung, Holden and Roberts), an annual AGC Alpine Skiing competition held in Austria. The Det Commander, Capt James Cooke, has headed up the Bn volleyball team in numerous competitions around the island (with little success so far) and the Regimental Accountant, Sgt K Jones, has seen success as part of the Army Offshore Sailing Regatta. The RAO, Capt Mark Jones, has competed in Ex PROTON SERPENT and an Army paragliding competition in Turkey.
Life as part of the Regional Standby Battalion (RIB) remains challenging, however, the SPS Det consistently make the most of what Cyprus has to offer. From beach excursions and cultural tours of the island to original and refreshing functions organised by the junior ranks, life is never boring with the next challenge merely over the horizon which is expected to continue throughout the summer and well beyond. SFSH.
On 3rd April the Royal Navy invited the CIS Platoon for an Informative tour of HMS Duncan, a Type 45 Destroyer that has appeared on a channel 5 documentary ‘Warship: Life at Sea’. We toured various parts of the ship learning about its offensive and defensive capabilities, tours of duty, how day to day life of a Navy sailor operates whilst on and off duty. We also had a weapons and equipment interest lesson from the Royal Marines attachment on how they conduct their anti-piracy duties whilst at sea. It was a great experience for the platoon, being able to gain an insight into how other services conduct day to day business and operations.
During the same month CIS platoon prepared for Exercise ATOS FURY, a CT2 level exercise for A Company. CIS platoon deployed from the 21st until 25th April as BG Main to act as exercise control and safety. Due to manning shortfalls, the junior CIS platoon soldiers were required to act as enemy forces throughout the duration of the exercise phase. Throughout the exercise, we encountered various challenges and issues, including vehicles that became untaskworthy. As a result, we had to deploy the contingency plan of using VHF manpack to maintain voice services.
Post Exercise ATOS FURY, it was a quick turnaround for the platoon as we deployed straight out the door on Exercise JOINT HORIZON, a 2* level exercise . The exercise started on the 29th April and ran until the 10th May. The platoon facilitated the exercise by setting up BG Main and offering CIS support to the HQ staff throughout their planning cycle, enabling them to produce their product.
During Ex Joint Horizon we deployed a Detachment of signallers to Canada to facilitate in Ex Maple Resolve. After this heavy period, we went away to conduct, adventure training and platoon days out.