During September a team of eight Jungle Warfare Instructors (JWIs) from The Royal Gurkha Rifles (RGR) trained with US, Fijian, Australian, and New Zealand partners in jungle operations. This took place in the Noussori Highland Training Area. It aided in strengthening UK partnerships and mutual understanding in the Indo-Pacific.
Under the guidance of the experienced Chief Instructor, Warrant Officer Class Two Deepak Rana, the team constructed a Jungle School including a schoolhouse, improvised shelter stand, and improvised traps stand. With the teaching infrastructure built they began a series of three day training packages including tracking, routine patrolling, and jungle survival.
Students from all nations have engaged in the training, leaving with new skills and an appreciation of the type of training that British Forces Brunei can offer, through their JWI’s. The small team instructed over 130 service personnel over the course of the exercise.
Major General Reginald Neal, Deputy Commanding General, US Army Pacific Command said, “The First Battalion, The Royal Gurkha Rifles (1 RGR) jungle training provided at Exercise CARTWHEEL was outstanding and easily transferrable to most environments across the Pacific theatre. “The Republic of Fiji Military Forces have been so fortunate to learn and work alongside the Gurkhas for Exercise CARTWHEEL.”
Major Mikaele Masiwini, Contingent Commander Republic of Fiji Military Forces said, “They have become an integral part of Exercise Cartwheel in sharing their knowledge and expertise in jungle warfare.”
1 RGR are currently based in Brunei as the Resident Infantry Battalion for the British Forces Brunei. The soldiers specialise in Jungle Warfare and seek to share their skills with allies within the Indo-Pacific for collective security. This promotes, projects, and protects UK interests in the region.
The Integrated Review Refresh 2023 stressed the target of increasing the engagement, strengthening, and making it more enduring and “a permanent pillar of the UK’s international policy. British Forces Brunei are conducting Defence Engagement activities across the Indo-Pacific, contributing to UK Foreign Policy and the Indo-Pacific Tilt, by strengthening our presence in the region and building stable and enduring partnerships with our allies for the future.
By Captain Pete Foster, The First Battalion, The Royal Gurkha Rifles