MARCH 17TH 2017
Jake learns about the jungle on Exercise Curry Trail 2017
The remote jungles of Belize are where a Nottingham based Royal Marine Reservist has taken his military training to the next level.
Marine Jake Greatorex, aged 28, recently returned from Exercise Curry Trail, a seven-week intense jungle training package in the humid rainforests of the Central American country with Delta Company, 40 Commando of the Royal Marines.
Jake, a building surveyor from Nottingham, jumped at the opportunity to learn new skills and improve others in an environment unlike any he’d been placed in before.
He said: “It was an experience like no other. Soldiering in a tropic jungle environment is a completely different type of training exposure compared to open country or modern urban warfare.
“One of the many challenges we faced on a daily basis was the jungle heat, fluctuating between 22 – 36 degrees with a humidity of 90 per cent. Maintaining hydration and nutrition was crucial as there was a high risk of heat-related injuries if these were neglected.
“Another challenge was adapting to the ground as maps were renowned for being inaccurate; stumbling across a sheer cliff face or water feature which wasn’t displayed on the maps was not uncommon. Ground conditions also changed rapidly with flash floods causing landslides or forming unexpected streams within minutes.
“The density of the jungle vegetation and foliage I found overwhelming – secondary jungle is hands down the toughest environment I’ve ever had the pleasure to solider in. Fighting through thick vegetation and becoming tangled up in vines whilst carrying full fighting order and bergan is a test not only on a physical level, but also on a mental level.”
Jake embarked in training serials, which included exercises in navigation, jungle warfare, reconnaissance, tracking, riverine drills and most importantly, survival. Jake said: “The whole exercise was thoroughly enjoyable, but the best part for me by far was live firing and riverine drills conducted by 539 Squadron.”
Exercising troops put this knowledge to test on exercises through the wilderness of Belize jungle whilst carrying kit weighing in excess of 100 lbs.
Jake continued: “You have to be 100 per cent efficient at all times and use what’s around you to survive: a drink of water can be achieved from cutting down a fresh water vine, shelters can be constructed with what is around you and most importantly you need to be aware of the continuous dangers such as dead fall, fauna and flora.
“The whole experience has definitely enhanced my green skills and knowledge, which will be a valuable asset moving forward in my military career.”
When the exercise came to a close, the final few days saw Jake and his comrades have the opportunity to visit Belize and the local islands to take on once in a lifetime activities. Jake himself headed to the Caribbean Sea and experienced scuba diving in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef off the coast of Ambergris Cay, San Pedro, Belize.
Jake, who has been a Marine reservist for over three years, added: “I would definitely recommend jungle training to anyone who gets the opportunity to take part. Jungle environments are known to be the toughest environment to solider in and it’s a credit to the Jungle Warfare instructors who delivered an exceptional training package throughout the deployment. I’ve learnt so many valuable skills in the jungle whilst stumbling across some incredible sights and also made invaluable friendships along the way.”
“It was an experience like no other."