Page 104 - The Chapka 2016
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   Exercise TARTAN AGGRESSOR in Holbeach, which provided a fantastic opportunity for the JTACs to maintain their currency and work with a variety of fixed wing and rotary airframes.
The year saw numerous opportunities for the JTACs to test their capability abroad. Captain Wilcox, Corporal Bowers and Corpo- ral Foster travelled to the US and, under the hospitality of the U.S Marine Corps, put into practise their training in the desert on Exercise RED FLAG and DESERT EAGLE. The thrill of di- recting aircraft where to drop their bombs and fire their missiles was matched only by the concern of putting laser designation Close Air Support into practise; the realisation that bombs are falling towards a target the pilot has never seen, under gravity alone, until the pilot calls for your laser to be switched on, is nerve wracking to say the least. Outside of the US, Staff Sergeant McDaid was fortunate enough to deploy to Spain on a multi- national tactical leadership programme where he spent time developing overseas pilots’ air manoeuvres as the lead control- ling call-sign on the ground. It was an invaluable opportunity to spend more time with European air forces (and enjoy some downtime by another warm outdoor pool).
Aside from trips abroad, the JTACs maintain their currency on quarterly concentration exercises around the UK with a vari- ety of airframes, getting to put their airspace management skills into practise. On one occasion the TACP were expecting a US F-15 jet to check-in to the airspace and, as expected, a US voice popped up on the correct frequency. Trooper Jones continued to check-in the airframe and approved him to fly into the airspace. Said US voice, however, was unable to provide close air support
Back-seat driver
McDaid in Spain
as it transpired he was an American JTAC, not working in the height block of 14-18000 ft, but lost on his way to the range, no doubt driving a ‘sick SUV’.
2016 has proved and exciting and demanding year for the TACP and looking ahead to the training year, the opportunities con-
tinue to come thick and fast.
 The past year has been a rewarding one. The sleepy reputation of the seaside posting in Bovington shattered and set light to by my charges on the Troop Lead- ers’ course in a well celebrated and docu- mented conflagration.
A significant part of the role of Ops Officer was concerned with the Troop Leaders’ course and a significant part of that was de- voted to the administration of Allied Offic- ers on exchange. This responsibility proved to be a sharp and relentless lesson in dip- lomatic patience and tact which I believed up until 2016 I was not lacking in. I hope to have left the exchange programme re- formed and in the patient and caring hands of my successor Captain N-L, engendering a spirit of mutual understanding and respect.
in a unique position of accepting Offic- ers trained in mixed platoons and putting them into an all male environment which exposed both strengths and weaknesses early on, allowing us to tailor training in the future.
The second saw the reorganisation of the Armour Centre. This saw the CIS School accept our infantry counterparts, the AFV Gunner and, Driving and Maintenance schools amalgamate and, critically, RATD coming under the command of RACTR. This was supposed to tackle the behemoth of bureaucracy that is ARMCEN by rein- vesting 2 more SO1s to an organisation that held 7 to start with. Beware a resurgent powerhouse of activity.
RACTR is a rewarding and a unique post- ing that has offered enormous satisfaction in the training of young officers and sol-
Operations Officer, RACTR
 The Troop Leaders were experimented on
with a wide range of extra curricular activ-
ity from essays, battlefield tours, debates, beagling, cross- country and shooting which hopefully allowed them to enjoy and benefit from the full range of opportunities that the time- table and location of the course allow.
Bovington underwent two large changes during my tenure both reflecting the reality of serving in today’s army. Firstly, was the transformation of the training Regiment to prepare to accept women into ground close combat roles. We were
diers set against the backdrop of sun, surf and field sports of the Valhalla that is the Isle of Purbeck.
It is with no small tinge of regret that I left in January for the bright lights of the Metropolis and an entirely new set of challenges. I hope to report back on a year of small RAF jets, ‘business deals’, fine dining, new stationery and smart uniforms: I suspect it might not be quite so...
That's not my HRH

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