Minister Dunkley On Overseas Regiment Training

May 31, 2013

The lessons learnt and practiced at Camp Lejeune were deliberately developed to best serve the Regiment when it is called to support our island and people, Public Safety Minister Michael Dunkley said in the House of Assembly today [May 31].

The Bermuda Regiment conducted its annual overseas exercise at the U.S. Marine Corps Camp Lejeune in North Carolina between 28th April and 11th May. 177 personnel from the Regiment and attachments from the Bermuda Police Service Reserves, Bermuda Fire & Rescue Service and St. John’s Ambulance conducted a wide variety of training.

Minister Dunkley’s full statement follows below:

Madame Deputy Speaker, the Bermuda Regiment conducted its annual overseas exercise at the United States Marine Corps Camp Lejeune in North Carolina between 28th April and 11th May. Under the exercise name Island Warrior 13, 177 personnel from the Regiment and attachments from the Bermuda Police Service Reserves, Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service and St. John’s Ambulance conducted a wide variety of challenging training designed to best prepare the Regiment for potential future operational taskings. Planning for the exercise started in earnest in October last year, led by the Training Officer, Staff Officer and Quartermaster.

Madame Deputy Speaker, the planning and logistic effort prior to troops even reaching Camp Lejeune was, in itself, excellent training and one that stands the Regiment in good stead for when it is next asked to conduct relief operations outside of Bermuda. The ability of Regiment staff to plan, develop and execute such a complex task, with all the associated issues, should not be underestimated.

Madame Deputy Speaker, the majority of troops on the overseas camp came from A Company and Support Company. The A Company element, which also included the Operational Support Unit, was led by Captain Larenzo Ratteray and conducted training in 3 (three) phases. The initial 3 day package consisted of skills associated with potential internal security operations. These included patrolling, forward operating base security, urban operations and public order. Captain Ratteray then had a day in which to ‘shakeout’ his Company and ensure they had fully absorbed the training. This also included the opportunity to conduct safety training with US Marine Corps ‘Osprey’ and ‘Super Stallion’ aircraft.

Phase 2 was a 52 hour ‘Field Training Exercise’ to test the Company and Regimental Headquarters in a realistic training scenario. Designed by the Staff Officer, the Company was deployed to a disaster struck town suffering from the devastating effects of a hurricane that had left them isolated without food, water or electricity.

Following lengthy planning and an insertion by air, the Company had to provide security, deliver vital aid supplies, confront local criminals and contain an angry mob as part of the skills testing and training. Madame Deputy Speaker, Captain Ratteray and his troops passed this test with flying colours, confirming their skills and learning to cope with and solve complex problems.

Following the Field Training Exercise, the soldiers moved into the third phase. This consisted of a package of weapon live firing where the soldiers were able to utilize the excellent range facilities on offer at Camp Lejeune. This was also the opportunity for the commanders and members of the Operational Support Unit to fully test their new rifles. With the limited range facilities in Bermuda, the package designed by the Training Warrant Officer enabled the soldiers to markedly improve their core shooting skills.

During the three phases, additional activities were included that enabled the soldiers to develop their confidence, team work, navigation and other skills.

Madame Deputy Speaker, the Support Company elements were hosted by US Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard specialist units. The breadth and diversity of training was second to none and the specialists of Support Company took to the challenges presented with huge enthusiasm. The Regiment Boat Troop, including the attached BPS Reserve Officer, was hosted by the US Coast Guard. Learning the tactics and procedures of advanced boat handling, pursuit, rule of law and boarding and search tasks, the Boat Troop remain fully prepared to continue in assisting the BPS Maritime Section as well as prepare for wider maritime security tasks.

Members of Guns and Assault Pioneer Platoon had a demanding two weeks practicing their skills and learning new procedures including explosive safety and bridging operations. They also managed to spend time with A Company during the Field Training Exercise phase, repairing ‘hurricane damage’ and improving the security of the base location. This has placed them ready to support the local Bermuda community in time of need and focused the Regiment on potential future tasks that may arise.

Madame Deputy Speaker, the Regiment medical personnel were trained by US Navy Corpsmen, who provide front line medical support to the US Marines when they are deployed on operations. The training regime was suitably impressive with our soldiers tested in highly realistic conditions and under extensive pressure. They also managed to spend two days working within the Naval Hospital, dealing first hand with a wide variety of medical issues.

The Regimental Police were hosted by the US Marine Corps Police at their detention facility, known to all as the ‘Brig’. Here, they gained a deeper understanding of prisoner detention, handling, rule of law and negotiation skills.

A special mention must be made of the Motor Transport Platoon, who mastered the skills of driving large military transport vehicles and were instrumental in the successful movement of the training troops around the sprawling facilities at Camp Lejeune.

Madame Deputy Speaker, His Excellency the Governor, who is the Regiment’s Commander-in-Chief, visited the overseas camp.

Whilst a significant financial investment was made to ensure a successful exercise, it is one that will reap a reward in the abilities of the Regiment and its soldiers. It was excellent value for money. From the development of individuals who were tested physically and mentally and practiced their self-discipline, team work, problem solving and physical fitness, to the Regiment as a whole who gained deeper understanding of the complexities of planning, logistics and operations in the modern world.
The lessons learnt and practiced at Camp Lejeune were deliberately developed to best serve the Regiment when it is called to support our island and people and to allow our soldiers to develop skills that will help them confront those challenges that face us in life.

The United States Marine Corps and those other elements that supported the Regiment were kind and gracious hosts and we owe them a debt of gratitude. They are also, however, a highly professional military force – hard on themselves and not an organization to give praise lightly.

The ongoing bond of friendship was evident and those Marines that supported the Regiment were fulsome in their praise. To quote just one of the comments made:

“It was refreshing to work with a group of students who had such passion for their work. His Excellency and the Bermuda Regiment should be very proud of the professionalism displayed by all”.

Thank you, Madame Deputy Speaker.

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  1. Bob says:

    “The regiment”, seriously – why?

    Surely its time to kill this, it doesn’t work., it is so outdated Oh yes, it gives our young men backbone and morals. Apart from the kids killing each other. We need something else, it isn’t respected anymore.

  2. Xman says:

    EXPENSIVE!
    A waste of Money !
    Simply bring a few Marines here and do the training.—- another $2 million dollars gone down the drain.
    We need all the money we can get and your still playing around with a bunch of ancient 1970′s stuff.
    MP Dunkley could be living in the past on this one.