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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland



15 August 2019

Another busy period here in 2 R IRISH with a myriad of tasks, activities and events com-peting for our energy, time and resolve.  Looking back to our last update in March 2019, the Commanding Officer’s Statement of Intent has remained extant, however, the head-line points since then have been a re-subordination from 160 (Infantry) Brigade to 11 (In-fantry) Brigade, Operational deployments to Nigeria, Afghanistan, Mali and Ukraine, a highly successful joint recruiting campaign with our sister Battalion, 1 R IRISH, and some excellent and highly rewarding low level training for our Defence Engagement partners as they prepare teams for this year’s Ex CAMBRIAN PATROL in Wales.   

Operational Deployments

One of the major benefits within the Army Reserve is the opportunity to deploy on opera-tions.  This reporting period has been no different and we have seen officers and soldiers deploy and return from operations having conducted an abundance of tasks and activi-ties in some of the most austere and challenging parts of the world. This has included, providing force protection in Nigeria, with an ever present and lethal threat from Boku Harum.  Supporting 1 R IRISH in Kabul as part of Op TORAL; providing bespoke support and expertise in Mali as part of the European Training Mission; and individual aug-mentees to the Ukraine; helping train their armed forces in the battle against Russian-backed separatists.  As ever, and as you would expect from 2 R IRISH, the operational standard and outputs delivered have been exceptional; attracting high praise from senior military commanders within Defence in relation to the level of professionalism, dedication and commitment to all tasks undertaken.


Engagement Surge 

In April, to complement our winter recruiting initiatives, we began our joint “Regt En-gagement Recruiting Surge”, across the province, alongside1 R IRISH.  The concept and idea was simple; identify suitable events to engage the community to attract candidates to join the Regiment; either for Regular or Reserve service.  This was supported through-out by targeted and intelligent use of social media and online campaigns and initiatives.  The “surge” has seen the team travel far and wide across Northern Ireland turning up at all sorts of different events and locations.  These have included agricultural shows, music festivals, civic events, shopping centres, football matches to name but a few.  The subse-quent results have been extremely impressive; with targets met, matched and reset again, such has been the energy and dynamism of the recruiting team.  One key indicator of success, from this current recruiting campaign, was the attendance of 16 Rangers on Shamrock Challenge, recruit training with the Army Training Unit (NI), over the summer.  On completion of their recruit training, they will rejoin their Companies and continue with the next phase of their development journey. Recruiting and retention remain the Com-manding Officer’s main effort and we will look to see how we can capitalize on the exem-plary work of the recruiting team over the autumn and winter months.  The aspiration re-mains to reach full manning by 2020 and to be the Army Reserve unit of choice through-out Northern Ireland.

Defence Engagement 

Defence Engagement has been a huge success for 2 R IRISH.  Over the last four months we have deployed Short Term Training Teams (STTT) and exercises all across Europe, and to Asia, to work jointly alongside our dedicated international partners.  STTTs have been deployed to Moldova, Belarus and Macedonia to conduct section level training, preparing teams for this year’s Ex CAMBRIAN PATROL.  Contact drills, water crossings, casualty extraction, navigation, orders and patrolling, to name just some of the essential criteria on the training programmes.  It has been a fantastic development opportunity for our JNCOs, SNCOs and Officers, allowing them freedom of action and movement to de-sign, deliver and review quality Infantry training to highly committed and professional in-ternational soldiers.  Last year’s medal haul in Wales was extremely impressive; we ex-pect much of the same this year.  

A real gem of a training opportunity presented itself early in the year which saw the Reg-imental Sergeant Major plan, execute and deliver an absolutely first class two week ex-ercise in Uzbekistan. A composite platoon was formed and deployed to the Central Asian country in June, under his watchful eye.  The platoon trained alongside an Uzbek Infantry Company; starting with some basic introductory weapon training working up to a platoon level exercise.  The environment was harsh and unforgiving, with temperatures reaching the low 40s. But as they always do, our Rangers adapted quickly to their surroundings, operating skillfully and with the associated effect and lethality of the modern day infan-teer. They returned home having had a truly remarkable experience, developing and growing as individuals and collectively as a team.  Without doubt an opportunity and memories for life.   

Re-subordination from 160 (Infantry) Brigade to 11 (Infantry) Brigade

On 1 August 2019 Commander Field Army (CFA) outlined his plans to rebalance the Field Army to ensure that it can compete with and defeat adversaries both above and be-low the threshold of conventional conflict.  For 2 R IRISH this means moving from 160 (In-fantry) Brigade, where we have been for the last four years, to our new higher formation home and family, 11 (Infantry) Brigade, the “Charging Bull”.   

Our new focus will be very much centred around the change in character of warfare and how the boundaries between the conventional and the unconventional is becoming in-creasingly blurred.  As part of 11 Infantry Brigade and 1st (UK) Division, we will help pro-vide specialist soldiers and equipment to develop other nations’ armies, deal with disas-ter and humanitarian crises worldwide and enable our war-fighting division.  Whilst main-taining our operational focus, we will remain adaptable and evolve as a fighting force, in the best traditions of the regiment.  Exciting times await, with so many potential opportuni-ties on offer. 


The last quarter has been busy, testing at times, but hugely rewarding.  It has provided the Battalion opportunity, development, travel, growth and organizational change.  Exact-ly what you would expect in a modern day, forward thinking, agile and dynamic organsi-ation.  We continue to scan the horizon for what is coming our way next and look forward to embracing the challenges they present.

Faugh a Ballagh