Page 8 - Chiron Calling Spring 2021
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                 OP RESCRIPT – Community Mass Testing, Medway
by Capt James Bladon
Over the period 3 - 23 Dec 20, 10 members of 1st Military Working Dog Regiment
deployed to Medway, in Kent,
to support the roll-out of mass community Covid-19 testing. Four permanent Asymptomatic Testing Sites were set up targeting key workers across the region, alongside two Pop Up Testing Sites at different schools and colleges each day. We were a part of what is being termed a UK Resilience Unit, held at
high readiness to support the UK government during this challenging period. The Resilience Unit was made up of 150 personnel from 33 EOD&S Engr Regt, 35 EOD&S Engr Regt, 28 C-CBRN Engr Regt and 29 Group Support Unit. By the time the task was handed over to Medway Council, over 20,000 Lateral Flow Tests were conducted.
The task was conducted under the banner of ‘Military Aid to the Civilian Authorities’, which is when Defence contributes to the nation’s security and ability to recover
from challenging situations. The use of the military is approved at Government level. It can only be authorised when there is a definite need to act and where all other options have been discounted and only the military can generate the workforce and resources required in time.
Working alongside with other Engineer Regiments of 29 EOD&S Gp is familiar territory for 1 MWD Regt; we are part of the same Brigade and conduct exercises
and training with them all year round, not to mention working
with them during Op HERRICK in Afghanistan. All members of 1 MWD Regt fitted straight into the teams and roles they were selected for, working closely with all ranks across several different squadrons; some even took up IC roles within their troops or were public facing.
The transition to Medway council was a great example of the way
the Military and Civilian agencies interact and work together in
times of need. As we had quite a
bit of knowledge and experience with the testing and procedures,
we ensured that the transition to Medway Council went as smoothly as it could. There were some site leaders who were ex-military or worked within different MOD services which meant that their idea of structure seemed to be quite like ours. We also helped allocating some of the more public-facing roles whilst others required more command and control which meant
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helping them play to their strengths as much as possible.
Although being deployed on a UK operation has its negative and positive points; home comforts were available as best to the ability of the scenario however overall, it was good to be playing our part and helping in what is a National crisis. All in all, it was a good insight to what the future UK Ops will look like if there were future taskings of the same nature.

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