Late last year 248 Gurkha Signal Squadron deployed on Exercise STEADFAST LEDA 2021 (Ex STLE 21), a 3* ARRC Headquarters validation exercise.
The main objective was to establish and sustain Rear Headquarters in Sennelager, Germany and Forward Headquarters in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Both headquarters comprised of a Staff Working Environment and Operational Communications and Intelligence Support to enable the ARRC Staff Users to operate in various scenarios. Network Equipment Rooms were set up, establishing robust network links for the UK force elements and NATO counterparties across various classifications.
Deploying overseas is always challenging in terms of transporting large quantities of both exercise equipment and cryptographic assets safely to the deployed location. The main challenge for our squadron however was to provide resilient services following ongoing COVID-19 countermeasures. To overcome this challenge, necessary protective measures were implemented and rigidly followed.
For those deployed within Forward Headquarters to Poland, there was an opportunity to explore both the local city and the World War 2 Museum within Gdansk. To maintain the morale of the service personnel in the exercise, both headquarters were able to celebrate one of Nepal’s most significant festivals: Tihar. This provided a fantastic opportunity for everyone to communicate with families and loved ones – well deserved after an arduous headquarters build.
This exercise presented numerous challenges, providing a plethora of opportunity for serving personnel to showcase and enhance their technical skills. Sustaining and achieving the mission task under time pressure demonstrated the vast capability of the Squadron. Ex STLE 21 demonstrated the squadron’s ability to enable a Corps level exercise with professionalism and proficiency in all aspects – having endeavoured through adversity to represent both the Royal Signals and Queen’s Gurkha Signals within an international community.
By Lance Corporal Kiran Magar, Queen’s Gurkha Signals