Tuesday, April 13, 2010

PICTURE of the day: New arrivals are put through their paces

Soldiers take part in a 'live firing' shoot

As the 7,500 soldiers from 4 Mechanized Brigade arrive in Camp Bastion to begin their six month tour of duty, each will under take final in theatre confirmation training. This is part of the Reception Staging and Onwards Integration process delivered by the British Army’s Operational Training and Advisory Group (OPTAG).

Soldiers receive IED awareness training

All MOD personnel arriving in theatre attend a range of training packages covering; countering improvised explosive devices, casualty evacuation, cultural awareness briefs, helicopter drills, environmental health briefs, defensive shoots in the day and night time, infantry patrolling skills and weapons stands, and confirmation briefings on the rules of engagement for opening fire. In additional, soldiers from 11 Light Brigade, who have come to the end of their six month tour, are providing an insight into the situation on the ground along with real-life experience and hints and tips.

A 'live fire' shoot is practiced at night

Major Andy Flay, Officer Commanding OPTAG Forward said, “We ensure that everybody is briefed from a common set of training objectives in terms of activities, presentations and lectures, to ensure that everybody is as up to date as possible on the latest information in theatre. Then we are taking people through a series of other training activities pertinent to the role they will be doing in theatre.”

A soldier rehearses his IED identification drills

The OPTAG staff who deliver the training have all recently returned from tours of Afghanistan and are able to provide soldiers, new into theatre, with a wealth of experience. Over the nine week period in which 4 Mechanized Brigade assumes responsibility in Helmand, OPTAG Forward will train just under 10 percent of the British Army’s troops.

RSOI practices soldiers in their use of multiple weapons systems

“This morning we started off with a few briefs and then we did a live fire FOB shoot with all your kit on and everything. We split down into firing teams and attacked the enemy when we got contacted,” said Lance Corporal Caroline Pearce, Intelligence Corps on day four of the package.

Casualty evacuation drills are practiced during realistic training scenarios

She continues, “For myself, I don’t do much live firing and stuff like that, so I found the FOB shoots really good. We did one during the day and one at night. I’ve never done it in these sorts of conditions before, with the heat and all the kit on so that was good.”

Dealing with the every day practicalities of Forward Operating Base life. A soldier demonstrates the correct use of a Porta John (wag bag) disposable toilet

Published by Captain Jo Timmerman RE
Picture Credit: Corporal Barry Lloyd RLC


  1. Good luck on your tour and congratulations to all those leaving. Thinking and praying for you all. Proud of You x

  2. April 14, 2010
    Davao City, Phils.

    Carry on soldiers. My prayers for your success.


  3. Good luck to my friends from the UK and stay safe !I am a retired U.S. Army soldier who had the honor to live and train with the Brits 74-77 in the Netherlands..They are great soldiers and allies !Thank you,SFC Edwin B.Smelser US Army retired !