News

December 7th 2015

Exercising in Kenya

Training in temperatures of more than 40c, integrating in to a battlefield exercise and driving military vehicles through a tropical storm were just some of the experiences had by a Reservist from Lincolnshire on his recent deployment to Kenya.

Private Karl Rowley, aged 43, who lives near Spalding, travelled to Kenya to take part in an Army training exercise returning home in late November this year.

The exercise known as Askari Strom, included a battlegroup made up of a variety of Army units including infantry soldiers, medics, artillery and those specialising in logistics support.

The battlegroup included both regular (full-time) soldiers and Reservists, who volunteer to train with the Armed Forces in their spare time.

Private Rowley, who serves with 160 (Lincoln) Squadron, Royal Logistics Corps (RLC), formed part of a four man logistics support team that drove troops to and from battlefield activities and fixed military vehicles in the field, as well as being on hand to transport supplies or people across a variety of difficult terrain.

Explaining more about the event, Private Rowley said: “This exercise tested me to the limit, as the days were long, hot and dusty. It was a challenging experience but I’m so pleased I had the opportunity to gain the experience of working shoulder to shoulder with regular troops. Working within a simulated operational environment in which the pressure was on to provide the best support, was interesting especially as we had to work with limited resources such as vehicle parts.”

Traveling to Kenya was Private Rowley’s third visit out of the country. He continued: “I’ve never really enjoyed holidaying aboard, but the Army Reserve has offered me so many opportunities to train in places like Kenya I may not have been able to afford to travel to otherwise, it is fantastic.”

The exercise took place over a two week period, which was filled full of ‘first time’ experiences for Private Rowley. He drove a six tonne military truck in a convoy of over 30 vehicles, as well as seeing lots of wildlife close to the training base such as giraffes, elephants, zebra and hyenas.

“When it rained, I have never seen anything like it. The tropical storms were amazing to watch, so driving in convoy through such unusual conditions was something we would not ordinarily be able to practice on home soil,” Private Rowley said.

Now back in the UK, Private Rowley has decided to focus on driving in his Army Reserve career, and hopes to go on to teach others.

Private Rowley said: “I put my Reserve training in to practise on the Kenya plains, which allowed me to increase my confidence in my own abilities. I now want to push towards becoming a driving instructor to pass on my knowledge to Reservists who are just starting out.”

160 (Lincoln) Squadron RLC is recruiting. Potential recruits do not need any previous military or driving experience as full training can be provided through the Army Reserve.  To find out more call 01522 529082 or email 158RLC-160-RSUSO@mod.uk

“This exercise tested me to the limit, as the days were long, hot and dusty. It was a challenging experience but I’m so pleased I had the opportunity to gain the experience of working shoulder to shoulder with regular troops. Working within a simulated operational environment in which the pressure was on to provide the best support, was interesting especially as we had to work with limited resources such as vehicle parts.”