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1 Mechanised Brigade makes preparations
AS the snow swirled around Salisbury Plain, soldiers from Bulford-based 1 Mechanised Brigade demonstrated both their equipment and the high standard of preparedness that they had achieved to watching journalists.
The day began with a briefing by the Brigade Commander, Brigadier Rupert Jones.
“It has been a two-year journey to prepare for this deployment,” he said. “The training has been exceptional, well delivered and resourced.
This is the best training package that these troops have ever been on and they have been on this training, with the equipment that they will be using in theatre.”
He went on to explain that economic concerns now came much higher than security worries to the Afghan people and the mission is now to train, advise and assist, and that Afghan forces would take the lead in 80 per cent of operations.
“This summer will be a very important period in the campaign,”
he said. “It is the summer when insurgent activity tends to increase and this will be the first summer season when Afghan forces will be in the lead. It is vital that they come through the summer having made progress and that their confidence is boosted.”
The deployment of the brigade is one of the biggest from the garrison, with six major units as well as several minor units taking part, including 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, 6 REME, First Royal Fusiliers, 4 RIFLES, and 22 Engineer Regiment.
All of the troops I spoke to exuded confidence in both their equipment and training and were looking forward to the task ahead.
The demonstrations that were laid on were heavily accented on the training and assist roles that the Brigade Commander had outlined, and showed just how well prepared the troops were. This will, hopefully, be the last major deployment from the garrison, and our thoughts go out to the families and loved ones who will have six anxious months until their return.
The deployment begins in March, with the Brigade complete on the ground in April.