Page 74 - The Rifles Bugle Autumn 2019
P. 74

  Teaching in Kurdistan – beats the Training Wing...
B Company - Op SHADER
“Leave this place in a better state then we find it...” The host nation training mission. For the British Army, this has become its modern-day bread and butter. However, for 3 RIFLES, Op SHADER 8 was the first unit-level operational deployment since the warfighting days of HERRICK 16 in Afghanistan. Taking over from the incumbent Grenadier Guards, B Company group took on a mission that during its deployment saw coalition forces transitioning from a lead role in the delivery of training to becoming mentors to the host nation instructors. All of this was in order to establish a self-sustaining ability to train themselves, at a standard that would allow the Peshmerga to hold their own against a resurgent Daesh once the coalition mission ends. B Company trainers were integral in designing and implementing
the coalition plan to transition to a Peshmerga lead. Situated in the heart of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), and with training teams located in outsta- tions across the region, United Kingdom Training Team (Kurdistan), as B Company became tempo- rarily known, was able to deliver a campaign of influence that went far beyond training the fearsome and dedicated Peshmerga. Before the company group had even set foot on foreign soil, a collabo- rative planning session between all ranks to decide what we wanted to achieve during our time in Iraq
was held, and it led to a simple yet fierce underlying desire from all present... ‘Let’s leave this place in a better state than we find it...’ From that moment on, it became the intense focus of everything we did. Both the direct effect on UK security of the mission, and the blood of Riflemen that has been shed into the sands of Iraq in recent years was not lost on any of us.
When we arrived, we set about the first phase of any operation, understanding the environment we were in. That included getting to know our locations, and ‘in sh’allah’, we were in for a treat! The main base that is located within Erbil had everything you could wish for from a military base, including great food and awesome Wi-Fi for the lads to speak to loved ones- a novelty for the more senior members of the party. In the outstations, the surrounding views were exceptional. Nothing like the desert some had been expecting, in Atrush we were based within a mountainous range that could have easily been mistaken for the rocky hills of Colorado. In Manila a similar situation, however here there was the added benefit of a sauna and plunge pool after a hard day’s work training the Peshmerga. The refrains of ‘war is hell’ could often be heard...
The courses we were delivering to the KSF (Kurdish Security Force, more commonly known as the Peshmerga) were varied and fulfilling. That is not to say difficulties were not experienced - quite the opposite was true on a daily basis. Anything from the transport breaking down to entire courses going on strike could be expected. However, as with anything, we adapted to the situation, and by the end we could say we had helped leave the KRI with more trained soldiers, to a better standard, with a greater ability to protect the region against our common adversaries and enemies.
As always with The Rifles, the individuals from B Company Group within the KRI represented the British Army to the best of their ability, putting in a fitting shift for the whole six months and leaving a footprint in Kurdistan that will last far longer than the time our feet were on the ground.
Lt Jack Cadman
Training Team North commander, Kurdistan
   Guardian Angels in Manila

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