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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland


NEWS

NORTHERN IRELAND RESERVISTS FACE THE LION IN CYPRUS

30 April 2018

Over 100 reservists from 2nd Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment (2 R Irish) took part in Exercise Lion Star in Cyprus, an intense and arduous exercise designed to prepare them for the challenges of a deployment.

The reservists got straight down to business with some training to prepare them for the exercise that lay ahead, including learning fire-fighting skills and all-round cover for security.


Day 2 started with a bugle call as a wake up, then a briefing and battle prep, including kit check and "make-up" on!  The team then practised the basics of patrolling and ground familiarisation, as well as getting acclimatised ready for the main exercise.


 

On Day 3, the reservists honed their teamwork skills and junior commanders got to grips with command and section tactics, including orders and models. This was followed by a wash-up and a brief for the final exercise.


There was then a day of adventure training and a cultural day in Nicosia, which was enjoyed by all, especially as they knew what lay ahead the following week!

On the Sunday evening, after final battle prep and kit check, the soldiers got their heads down for a few hours before an 0300hrs start, deploying to their drop-off point and patrolling into the RV.  During the 11km tactical patrol to their harbour, they encountered several contacts which got them practising their skills and working as a team.  Section commanders also got to practise their orders and developing their model making skills!

Tuesday provided an opportunity to do some individual patrolling at section level around the harbours and securing the area.  These patrols resulted in the inevitable contact and skirmish covering a number of scenarios from insurgents trying to attack the Harbour to fighting patrols sent out to intercept the enemy.

For some of these reservists, this was their first overseas exercise, so it was a great opportunity to have their skills put to the test in what was a very realistic and well-planned scenario.

Private Teggart, a Combat Medic, said she enjoyed the whole experience of the exercise and being able to put her skills to the test while on exercise:  

"The tempo of the exercise and the variety of tasks was excellent. I was able to build on my current skills and also learn new skills from other experienced medics in the company.  Although we worked hard on the exercise it was great to get some down time and being able to see parts of Cyprus was awesome.  The opportunity to do something that I’ve never done before, was a great experience. There is also something special about getting to deploy on an overseas exercise such as Lion Star – I’ll have those memories for quite some time.”  



Corporal Cowan said “The exercise provided me with a great opportunity to sharpen my skills in urban operations, basic tactics, patrolling and first aid. The opportunity to act up as the Platoon Sgt in the final attack was fantastic and I learned so much from it.  The ability to command is one of the most vital things we need to be good at as infantry.  Overall the exercise tested my leadership skills on a range of levels. The exercise was challenging, but the professionalism and camaraderie of my fellow Reservists also made it all the more enjoyable.” 

Exercise Lion Star provides a great example of the skills developed through the Army Reserve, which reservists then bring back to their civilian employment. Army Reserve training produces a mentally and physically robust person, often more confident and committed than when they joined. It also develops leadership and management skills through the diverse number of situations a Reservist finds himself in – at home or abroad, and usually in demanding environments.