Major Lalitbahadur Gurung is the Officer Commanding Jungle Warfare Division (JWD), under the command of the Infantry Battle School in Wales. His team are a truly eclectic mix of 27 military and civilian personnel, including Special Air Service, Royal Marines, Parachute Regiment, a plethora of British Infantry instructors, Royal Army Veterinary Corps, Royal Army Medical Corps and nine Locally Employed Civilians. Very few, if any, of his rank command such diversity and consistently deliver the extremely arduous and very high-risk activities demanded by jungle training in Brunei. He has led this diverse team through harsh Bruneian COVID-19 restrictions and continued to deliver world class jungle training throughout. Despite the frictions, he and his team trained 256 military personnel on the Jungle Warfare Instructors Course and Operational Tracking Instructors Course. It has not just been UK personnel; USA, Germany, France, Netherlands, Brunei, and Singapore have all passed through JWD. Their defence engagement is consistently strong, bouncing back from COVID-19 and growing exponentially.
Through his leadership his team doubled down on their efforts to deliver for UK Defence. The switch of Bel 212 Army Air Corps helicopters to a Puma Royal Air Force (RAF) Squadron occurred in mid-2022, at the same time the British Forces Brunei (BFB) based The Royal Gurkha Rifles Battalion were conducting a major unit move. It would have been easy for Major Gurung’s small team to hide from the responsibility, or opportunity, to facilitate this strategically important capability transition. Instead, he threw everything at supporting the transition and enabling the Puma capability to reach full operating capability early. The Puma capability now deliver vital support to UK Special Forces selection, BFB, JWD, major UK exercises such as 40 Commando’s Exercise TOXIC DAGGER and wider Defence commitments. None of this was in the remit of Major Gurung or JWD, he identified that he and his team were best placed to deliver for this RAF Squadron and their capability as they transitioned into an unfamiliar territory and new operating environment.