Official Association of Britain’s Brigade of Gurkhas

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Exercise DEFENDER EUROPE 2021

15th July 2021

Exercise DEFENDER EUROPE 2021

247 Gurkha Signal Squadron recently deployed across Greece, Slovenia, and Croatia in support of Exercise DEFENDER EUROPE 21.

Our role was to provide communications and headquarters support, as the Theatre Enabling Group (TEG) delivered Theatre Entry and Theatre Sustainment for British and American troops deploying to training areas further inland. The immediate run up to the deployment was fast-paced and stressful; as we prepared and packed equipment but the squadron rose to the challenge.

As deployment day came and we, Borneo Troop headed towards our destination in Alexandropouli, Greece. We all were excited and looking forward to it. The task for the Troop was to provide the Staff Working Environment and Operational Communications and Intelligence Support (OpCIS) to enable the TEG Headquarters to conduct their mission and tasks. This included the provision of strategic communications links for UK Force elements and a connection to our American counterparts via our mission secret networks. The two other deployed troops, Hong Kong in Croatia and King in Slovenia were supporting us, and providing similar services to two smaller Headquarters.

Exercise DEFENDER EUROPE 2021
Exercise DEFENDER EUROPE 2021
Exercise DEFENDER EUROPE 2021

Our troop was widely commended and we were able to contribute to a number of different experimental trials. We were at fully operational capability within 48hrs and then went on to improve the quality of our service, linking Falcon communications to the local 4G network and tested the new MODNET laptops across that link. We achieved the Squadron’s main effort, connecting the mission secret network via Falcon, and federating with our American counterparts.

Several individuals were specifically commended by visiting senior staff:

  • Staff Sergeant Ajib Gurung- Commander Field Army commendation –
  • Lance Corporal Kushalman Gurung. – Commanding General 21st Theatre Sustainment Command commendation
  • Corporal Sanam Rai – Commander 104 Logistic Support Brigade commendation
  • Lance Corporal Amir Gurung – Commander 16th Sustainment Brigade commendation

During our time away we also got to make the most of deploying to Greece. We meet Greek and American soldiers, and the some of the local community as well. The locals were very friendly, and we learned much about Greek culture, and we hosted visitors with Gurkha messing. We went to a local castle as our cultural visit, scuba diving, sports afternoons with beach volleyball, and toured an olive grove. The most joyful moment was our visit to the island of Samothraki. The island was home to the Sanctuary of the Great Gods, and is an ancient archeological site. The sanctuary was amazing and was the place where the famous statue of Nike was found, which now resides in the Louvre Museum, Paris.

Exercise DEFENDER EUROPE 2021
Exercise DEFENDER EUROPE 2021

As a squadron we had a fantastic time on Exercise DEFENDER EUROPE 21, working hard to support the TEG, and enjoying our time in Greece. We are looking forward to Exercise DEFENDER 22, to build on what we learned this year and gain even more new experiences.

By Signaller Lalit Jung Gurung, Queen’s Gurkha Signals

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