News

February 22nd 2016

Exercising in Norway

John Wilson, East Midlands Regional Employer Engagement Director, for the Ministry of Defence

Representatives from two different Fire and Rescue Services are set to visit the Royal Marine Reserves (RMR) on a training exercise in Norway.

Michael Grewcock, Area Manager for Operational Support, at Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, and Damien West, a Station Manager from Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, were chosen to attend Exercise Hairspring as both organisations employ a Royal Marines Reservist.

The employers will get the opportunity to see how the RMR carry out Winter Warfare Training, 200 miles inside the Arctic Circle in Northern Norway.

The visit will allow the employers to visit RMR training areas seeing how snow holes and snow shelters are built, how food is prepared and served in the arctic weather conditions and how various pieces of Royal Marines equipment are used. There will also be a demonstration of how an ‘ice breaker’ is used to break up thick layers of ice formed on frozen lakes.

Michael Grewcock, from Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “I am delighted and grateful to the MoD for allowing me to observe Reservists operating in such extreme circumstances. I am keen to see them utilising their wide range of skills developed through their rigorous military training, and those that are transferable between the military and their primary employment.”

Damien West, from Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service are committed to supporting the Armed Forces and to fulfilling their commitment through the Armed Forces Covenant. The opportunity to visit Royal Marine Reserves undergoing training  will allow us to observe and understand first-hand the Defence role that some of our Reservist employees undertake.  This is an exciting opportunity which will allow us to provide further support for our colleagues in their training, before and after deployment and in understanding the challenges that they face.  It will be great to see the skills that our employees gain through these exercises and how these skills can benefit our work in the Fire and Rescue Service.”

The Royal Marines, NATO’s mountain and arctic warfare specialists, are in Norway to develop their Cold Weather Warfare Capability after more than ten years in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the conditions in Norway make it the perfect environment.

For the exercise, the Royal Marines are taught how to survive, move around on skis and operate in the difficult conditions. They must be able to ski across the mountains while carrying a weapon and a 70lb rucksack; they will learn to use specialist arctic equipment and clothing and to operate from specialist vehicles such as skidoos and tracked BV206s.  Marines visit Norway every year to hone these specialist skills and are the UK’s only arctic warfare trained military force.

The Royal Marines Reserve will join their regular counterparts from 3 Commando Brigade on this exercise.  It is essential that marines from the Royal Marines Reserve are trained to the same exacting standards as the regular (full-time) soldiers and are able to operate alongside them operationally in all environments and conditions.  The RMR will be in Norway for two weeks and novices must take part in winter exercises over two years in order to become fully trained in this environment.

John Wilson, East Midlands Regional Employer Engagement Director, for the Ministry of Defence, said: “The exercise presents a fantastic opportunity for employers from across the UK to visit members of the Reserve Forces undergoing their annual training. We are delighted that two employers from the East Midlands were available to take part in the event.”

The employer visit will take place from 7 to 10 March this year and will include a group of around 16 employers that have been selected from organisations around the country.

“The exercise presents a fantastic opportunity for employers from across the UK to visit members of the Reserve Forces undergoing their annual training."