Page 38 - The Chapka 2016
P. 38

 As the Estonian government recently said, “the best way to predict the future is to create it”. I like to think that D Squadron, while not within 400km of St. Petersberg, took a similar approach to the last 12 months.
There was an element of apprehension as we entered the Com- mitted Year; horror stories of endless RAAT and last minute journeys to Salisbury were predicted. D Squadron’s very nature means its cohesion is always tested and it is not unheard of for Support Troops to return from deployments feeling a greater af- finity to the Squadron they work to. Looking down the barrel of a fragmented, hectic and challenging year, it is testament to the quality of its Lancers that D Squadron prevailed as victorious in the Babbington Shield, provided the most potent component of the OPFOR Battlegroup during BATUS and still found time to train as a unit, and practice force-on-force paintballing to ensure morale was ‘sky-high’ before Christmas.
This year, D Squadron ran one of three Royal Lancer PNCO cadres. The cadre can be perceived by young Troopers as a ‘tick in the box’ exercise with ’powerpoint presentation’ and ‘cam cream 101’ being key themes of previous versions. Keen to test our new future leaders had the mettle to succeed, D Squadron set about re-inventing the wheel. The course started with 30 willing and eager Junior Lancers all ready to wear their first stripe. To ease them in to the right mind-set the Training Wing opened their mind to the conceptual ideas of leadership. One such task saw them planning a terrorist style attack on a high profile
political meeting based in our very own RHQ, something the cadre lapped up and completed with relative ease. Where exactly to post grenades on the Command Corridor, for some reason, seemed to come relatively intuitively. Once the Training Wing had planted the seed of leadership in the glinting eyes of these young upstarts, it was down to Lieutenant Gouldstone to ensure said seedlings got their share of sunlight and water. Only 20 of the original 30 made it to the field phase at RAF Spadeadam – now known as the home of precipitation and snapped ankles. Sadly, further injuries casued the final attack to be rebranded a final withdrawal. The nine that finished can hold their heads high and know that the ‘dismounted specialists’ had not simply ticked the box. Well done to all those men taking part and par- ticularly to Trooper Graham for finishing top of the course.
The Squadron deployed en masse once again to Castlemartin ranges on a cold and wet February day to conduct the annual live fire package, under the expert tutelage of SSM Hackney with his side-kick Sergeant Smith and their prodigy Corporal Flude. The period started with the usual gremlins that plague the Spar- tan weapons platform. That said, the troops soldiered on regard- less, (apart from the one that went on hunger strike). As the firing period progressed and the equipment started to behave, the crews started to deliver some excellent results, all passing the annual crew tests first time with nothing less than a level five. Concurrently, the Squadron conducted small arms ranges demonstrating proficiency with not only the rifle but also pistol and Underslung Grenade Launcher. During the ‘night firing
D Squadron
Black Hawks at Dawn
 ‘Cross-Arms!’ Surveillance Troop

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