Regiment Trains For Dealing With Civil Disorder

April 8, 2013

Bermuda Regiment soldiers put their training in dealing with civil disorder to the test in a realistic training exercise at the weekend.

Soldiers ‘defended’ key points in the Dockyard area in an exercise designed to teach them to cope with a variety of potential flashpoints in support of the island’s police service.

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Captain Andy Jobst, who commanded the troops tasked with a public order role, said that the exercise included dealing with peaceful demonstrations – but also with violent criminal elements who might try to take advantage of social unrest.

Capt. Jobst, 38, the chief economist at the Bermuda Monetary Authority in civilian life, added: “These are the newest soldiers in the Regiment – they’ve only been wearing uniform for three months and I’m very satisfied with their output.

“The professional attitude is there and the scenarios we had to deal with are entirely possible. If we don’t train rigorously for them, if they ever happened, we would have serious problems in responding in an appropriate way.”

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Soldiers from the Junior NCOs cadre acted as criminals who were intent on causing trouble, lobbing missiles and petrol bombs at soldiers tasked with controlling outbreaks of violence.

At Warwick Camp, the Band played their other role of guard duty to keep the nerve centre of the Regiment protected – and also had to deal with a suspected bomb planted on site by exercise organisers.

Training Officer Major Martin Wyer said: “The exercise brought out very good learning points, allowing us to move forward with our training.

“The public order exercise went very well and proved the Regiment is more than capable of acting in support to the police in any situation which may arise.

“It’s very good experience as we go into our overseas training exercise, Island Warrior, in the US in a few weeks’ time. We’ve learned some valuable lessons – the troops are exhausted, but that’s all part of it.”

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Training Warrant Officer Sergeant Major Fred Oldenburg, who supervised the ‘rioters’ on the ground, added: “Some people thought it was a bit violent – but if you’re going to train, you’ve got to train hard.

“It also enabled the company and platoon commanders to be tested as well.”

Commanding Officer Lt Col. Brian Gonsalves said: “The Regiment has proved it can deal with a range of different challenges and respond appropriately to everything from a peaceful demonstration to having petrol bombs thrown at them.

“I’m confident we will be prepared to the highest standards should we ever be needed to support the civil power.”

- Photos by Sgt. Kenneth Byron

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  1. Pastor Syl Hayward says:

    I am glad we still have a Regiment. IMHO, it is excellent training and can help make men out of our boys. In addition, with all the rumblings, I am glad this type of training exercise takes place. Better to be safe than sorry. I hope they also train in bullet-proof vests.

    • Good Stuff says:

      Yup. Combat Body Armor effective at stopping most small arms fire. Heavy as heck, but worth it.

  2. W says:

    Um is anyone else worried?

  3. pah-ha says:

    lets be real……………based on our laws. the first line of defense if the Police, and NOT the regiment.

    what would probably more benifical to the island is storm preparedness. like where the regiment is more likely to be used. when you consider the money an excersise like this cost………….would it have not made more sense to do something more practical……. in 1977, the regiment was quickly packed away for UK military. The Regiment gets practical use during hurricanes, storms, and Maritime opperations. Stop wasting time, resources and put these young men and women to good use.

    • Tommy Chong says:

      Please name an incident where the police literally have been a line of defense? Have you ever seen officers in action when something goes down? Does the police train ALL officers in handling, stripping, reassembling & shooting rifles? Do ALL the police get petrol bombs & objects thrown at them as training? For Ex-officer enough I know you’re trolling so these are questions hence the question marks. Feel free to answer with your experience ex officer enough.

      The regiment runs on a quarter of the cost of the police. There are more soldiers in the regiment than there are police on a quarter of the cost. Most soldiers take a maximum of two evenings a week, two weeks a year & one weekend each month in the year. In this small amount of time soldiers are trained to serve their country through emergency transport, emergency defense, emergency medical, emergency communication & emergency cleanup. How is this a waste of time & resources?

      To put into more of a perspective the UK military didn’t get to Bermuda till days after the 1970s riot had started. At the time there was far less serving in the regiment than now. There were lives lost & millions of dollars in damage. On top of it all Bermuda was charged a huge fee for the UK military service.

      The regiment may not be the all that ends all but its a nice backup plan after “the first line of defense” plus as many state on their post, “The police cannot be everywhere in Bermuda all the time.”

  4. Triangle Drifter says:

    One firetruck & hose ontop. WHOOSE! Does the job of the whole Regiment & cleans the street too.

    • Tommy Chong says:

      During the 1970s riots there was a person picking off soldiers in the distance with a rifle. How would a hose help in that instance? At least now soldiers are better trained then they were then & the regiment has its own snipers now.

  5. Ben Dover says:

    Should be training up on Court Street, if you ask me.

  6. Community says:

    You forgot to take pictures of the dudes that broke out fighting and bashing their heads in, the rioters taking out the short people and kicking them on the ground, the amount of sprained ankles, wrists, bloodied faces and other accidents caused because of how unorganized this was. You could tell from Friday night that the weekend camp was a whole PR stunt as per the norm.

    • $oldier says:

      Were u even up der or u just heard gossip wat guys did, cuz it was pretty organized. fall back

      • berm says:

        Exactly. As a private soldier, this was one of the most fun training exercises I have been through.

        I have no idea where you heard all of that, but I was there and didn’t see anything of what you described.

        And to top it all off, we learned a lot and had a hell of a fun time.

  7. Good Stuff says:

    Certainly a worthwhile exercise. We tend to take this service for granted until things go pear-shaped. The police simply don’t have the numbers (or training) to do it alone. After this weekend I’m confident that if there was unrest, the regiment would be able to hold things down.

  8. Rhonda says:

    good to be proactive..

  9. PappaJoe says:

    Now, when’s the hurricane cleanup practice?? Oops…there isn’t any!

  10. kevin says:

    If people were hurt, and were taken out, and fights broke out I personally just see that as good training. Public order training should be violent as a riot by definition is a violent event. Realistic training helps people be better prepared. If some soldiers got a couple of scrapes in the process so be it. If the regiment trains too safe people will call them soft and a joke, so no matter what there will always be people who will criticize, and they are usually the ones who have never experienced it for themselves, all I can say to them is keep up the monday morning quarterback skills, because those of us who actually sweat and bleed to keep our island safe use your negativity and ignorance as fuel, it just motivates us more.