Page 126 - The Rifles Bugle Autumn 2019
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A Company
Last summer saw A Company deploy to Sennelager on Exercise Jaeger Warrior. A combined-arms armoured exercise, this saw soldiers from 7 RIFLES working alongside Warrior crews from the PWRR, CR2 and Scimitar, combat engineers – and even the odd wild-eyed Military Working Dog! A Company provided the command team and composite core of the exercising sub-unit, with rifle platoons drawn from across the Battalion. The Senne’s summer sun proved rewarding and demanding in equal measure, and the exercise culminated with a live company advance-to-contact – or cold beer in Paderborn’s Bar Celona, depending on your point of view!
This summer, Lt James Wakeley journeyed to Chesapeake Bay in the United States to take part in the annual Military Reserve Exchange Programme (MREP). The MREP sees personnel from the British Army Reserve – from Corporals to Captains – integrate with the US Army National Guard on their annual exercises for between two and four weeks. Later in the year, our American exchange partners make their way to the Old World to take part in the equivalent British two-week annual training exercises. The exchange aims to maintain the trans-Atlantic ‘Special Relationship’ by developing mutual understanding and inter-operability.
  Maryland MREP: An Honour and a Guard
My MREP experience was destined to be different from most. Usually, participants shadow their role equivalent, but owing to officer under-manning across The Pond, I was given command of a Humvee-mounted heavy weapons platoon in D Company, 1st-175th Maryland Army National Guard. The good ol’boys of Maryland’s Eastern Shore – known for taking their own guns on exercise to do a bit of hunting on the side – would have to put-up with a British ‘LT’ who had never even seen a muskrat, much less eaten one!
heard I had never used the US Army’s issue rifle before, he promptly produced his own personal AR-15 – so that was the Weapon Handling Test done. Our exercise took place at Fort Pickett in Virginia. All of the lanes we did – both blank and live – were assessed by the US First Army and would contribute to the battalion’s deployability status. The days involved planning and executing a number of distinct serials, with the recce – or ‘recon’ – taking place in the morning before we moved off in the afternoon to run through the serial at night. The American planning process is very similar to ours, but with a greater emphasis on wargaming different possibilities with Platoon NCOs as a substitute for
     My new company
commander kindly put
me up on my first night
state-side. When he   formal ‘actions on’.
 Lt Wakeley helps to cement the special relationship whilst on exercise in Virginia

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