In Cornwall HQ Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) is deployed at St Mawgan exercising as a Land Component Command on Exercise TRIDENT JUNCTURE 16. The HQ is the UK’s 3 star multi-national deployable HQ contribution to NATO. The 500 strong HQ has deployed from its home base in Innsworth, Gloucester and is preparing to be the 2017 NATO Response Force. It will be on standby in 2017 when the UK takes the lead in NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Force (VJTF) to be ready to be deployed in days to protect NATO allies from potential threats. Comprising staff from 21 nations it also has a significant Gurkha presence.
The HQ took two weeks to set up and this was established by the ARRC Support Battalion. Currently there are 55 Gurkhas from RGR, QOGLR, QGE and GSPS and this number will rise to 105 over the next year. Additionally HQ ARRC is supported by 22 Signal Regiment with 248 Queen’s Gurkha Signal Squadron providing all the Communication Information Systems for the HQ.
On 24-25 October Colonel BG, Colonel James Robinson, visited Gurkha troops on the exercise. In addition to meeting senior commanders he had the opportunity to see Gurkhas in both the ARRC Support battalion and 248 QGS Squadron in action. He also provided the Gurkhas with a Brigade update and was able to answer questions about the impending growth of the Brigade and enhanced career opportunities it provides.
Troops from the UK and its allies have been testing their ability to deploy a command centre at the sharp end of a major NATO operation.
They did it! On 21st October 2016, 11 Officers from the Gurkha Brigade Association completed a grueling 24-hour challenge in Nepal to raise money for the Gurkha Welfare Trust.
Every member of the team completed the Doko race under the pass time of 46 minutes then the team all completed the 50km ultra marthon, Annapurna Trail, in under 11 1/2 hours, which included over 3,500m elevation gain which is more than going from Everest Base camp to the summit.
2nd Lieutenant Sears and Captain Phil Lambert completed the 100km course in 25 hours with over 4,500m elevation gain throughout.
Mount Annapurna is situated North of Pokhara Valley in Nepal. Mt. Annapurna Marathon was named after a mountain peak called Mt. Annapurna I (8091m), starts from the East Face altitude of 4395m. The Marathon is organized to celebrate the first successful ascent on 8000m peak (Mt. Annapurna) by the French Team led by Maurice Herzog on 3rd June 1950.
Mt. Annapurna Marathon is a tribute to Late Dr. Harka Bahadur Gurung, who was the first Tourism Minister of Nepal and an expert on mountain tourism. Dr. Gurung made a tremendous contribution to the development of Nepalese Tourism under his visionary leadership as Tourism Minister of Nepal.
2nd Lieutenant Scott Sears said; “This was a fantastic achievement by all team members and with the generosity of our friends, colleagues and followers we have already raised over £5400″.
You can still sponsor them by visiting www.justgiving.com/scottsears
On the 25th October 2016 an Investiture was held Buckingham Palace in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen.
This investiture included the award of ‘The Most Excellent order of The British Empire” to three members of the Brigade of Gurkhas family.
Twenty-five Investitures are held each year with up to 120 recipients attending each Investiture.
The Queen enters the Ballroom attended by two Gurkha Orderly Officers – a tradition began in 1876 by Queen Victoria. On duty on the dais are five members of The Queen’s Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard, which was created in 1485 by King Henry VII after his victory at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Four Gentlemen Ushers to the Queen are on duty to help look after the recipients and their guests.
The Queen is escorted by either the Lord Chamberlain, the Lord Steward or a Lord in Waiting, who after the National Anthem, stands to Her Majesty’s right and announces the name of each recipient and the achievement for which he or she is being decorated. the Queen then invests all recipients with the Insignia of their Award. The Insignia which they receive reflects the Class to which they are appointed.
The results of this conversion board are good news for all in the BG.
Much of the success in increasing the VEng(F) conversion rate is the result of a number of new posts for Gurkha soldiers and particularly the increase in JNCO and SNCO positions.
The Brigade is getting bigger and employment opportunities are growing.
Well done to A Company 2 RGR on their gold medals on Exercise Cambrian Patrol and to the team from the Nepalese Army who received bronze medals on 18th October.
Then on the 19th October the QOGLR team led by Sgt Chakra Rai, completed the demanding long range military patrol and were awarded awarded silver medals. And then Gurkha Company (Sittang) also achieved gold a few days later.
The Nepalese Army team have been training with the Brigade Training Team prior to the event so that the Nepalese Soldiers had the best chance of performing to the maximum of their ability, and they certainly did very well on this tough and difficult event.
Brigadier A S Richond OBE, Commander 160th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Wales and Colonel J Robinson, Colonel Brigade of Gurkhas, Colonel awarded the prizes at Sennybridge camp on 18 October 2016.
Exercise Cambrian Patrol is an annual event organised and run by 160th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Wales.
It is a world-class event that is both physically and mentally demanding and is a highlight in the British Army’s training calendar.
It is a continuous 36-hour, long-range patrol exercise which is run annually within the Cambrian Mountains of Mid-Wales. It is open to all three services with regular, UOTC, Reserve and international patrols and is considered one of the most arduous and prestigious military events, testing candidates’ leadership, field craft, discipline and both mental and physical robustness.
Internationally, it is regarded as one of the toughest tests the modern-day soldier can face and some foreign entrants have to claim the right to take part by winning through their own domestic competition. There are teams from Nepal, Latvia, Mexico, Canada, Italy, Georgia, Germany, Pakistan, Australia, Czech Republic, New Zealand, India, Ireland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belgium, Chile, Kosovo, Brazil, Switzerland.
On the 20th October the Nepalese Army Cambrian Patrol team visited HQ Brigade of Gurkhas. They were welcomed by Major Dammarbahadur Shahi (SO2 Personnel & Policy) on their arrival. Where upon they were taken to the conference room for a brief about the current news of the Brigade from Captain Lalitbahadur Gurung (Queen’s Gurkha Orderly Officer).
The Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment (QOGLR) Chefs were officially crowned the best Chefs in Defence last week at Exercise Joint Caterer. During a 3-day competition at the United Kingdom Defence Academy, Shrivenham, the best military Chefs from the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force competed against one another for the title Best in United Kingdom Defence.
QOGLR Chef’s serving with 2 RGR were awarded Gold Medals winning not only Best in Class (Open Field Challenge) in the British Army but they were assessed by the Judges as being the best of all three Services.
The soldiers were excellently mentored by WO2 Safin Magar and WO2 Pawan Sherchan and this helped lead to this excellent achievement.