Operation RESCRIPT also termed as a Military Aid to Civilian Authority (MACA) task to assist the UK Government in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
I was very lucky to have been a part of this operation as one of the team members for Mobile Testing Unit (MTU) 79. The initial phase began with training where we were shown how to operate on the ground as a testing unit, how to use PPE and conduct tests. At the end of the training both teams were issued with a testing vehicle equipped with all the necessary kit and equipment.
We were deployed to Cardiff and were based at Maindy Barracks. Our main role was to work alongside the NHS staff at Cardiff and Vale Therapy Centre. We were responsible for accompanying the NHS staff to various locations i.e. care homes, establishing testing facilities and enabling them to run the tests efficiently. We also collected swabs from different locations and took them to testing centres.
Adapting to a situation that differed from our Army Training was vital for our role on Operation RESCRIPT because we were carrying out different tasks each day. One day we were assisting the NHS staff members by escorting them to care homes, another we were collecting swabs ourselves from the care homes to be taken to test centres. This operation gave us an opportunity to get involved with the NHS and experience their side of life which was very refreshing, unique and eye opening.
Additionally, our team included various cap badges; four from Royal Engineers, two from Queen’s Gurkha Engineers (QGE), two from Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment, two from The First Battalion, The Royal Gurkha Rifles and two from The Second Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles. The team was led by Staff Sergeant Tilak Pun (QGE) and a liaison officer on the ground. This diverse team led to better discussions, decisions and a positive outcome resulting to a successful Operation.
By Lance Corporal Ushal Sunuwar, Queen’s Gurkha Engineers