NEWS

JUNE 21ST 2019

Nottinghamshire Reserve Unit receives Humanitarian Award

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Mark Lancaster MP presented the Firmin Sword of Peace in Nottingham

A three month-long Caribbean mission by 66 Works Group has earned them the military’s highest humanitarian award – the Firmin Sword of Peace.

The soldiers and Officers of Nottingham-based 66 Works Group received the Firmin Sword of Peace from the Minister for the Armed Forces, the Right Honourable Mark Lancaster MP in recognition of the assistance given to communities across the Caribbean when a succession of ferocious storms battered the region in August 2017.

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After the presentation there was a short parade

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, 66 Works Group deployed a small group of specialist engineers as part of a major effort by all three of Britain’s armed forces in response to the natural disaster – codenamed Operation Ruman. Their objective was simple – to save lives and bring relief to the people whose livelihood and communities were devasted.

The team’s first task was to open the British Virgin Islands’ airfield to allow humanitarian and military aid flights to commence.  66 Works Group then focussed their specialist skills on high

level, technical infrastructure repairs that would directly benefit the thousands of inhabitants of the British Virgin Islands. This included successfully restarting the only power station on the Islands and bringing water treatment plants back online, allowing production of potable water.

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Lieutenant Colonel Gareth Walker

The Sword was presented to the Commanding Officer of 66 Works Group, Lieutenant Colonel Gareth Walker, at a special ceremony held at Chetwynd Barracks, Chilwell.

He said: “I feel tremendously proud of the achievements of 66 Works Group, their efforts on Op RUMAN had genuine strategic effect and were truly inspiring. They restored power to the British Virgin Islands within four days and water within six. These successes were followed by dozens of less dramatic, but equally vital acts that helped the islands recover from this tragic event.”

The British Virgin Islands, Turks, Caicos and Anguilla bore the brunt of the damage from Hurricane Irma, with buildings destroyed and a state of emergency declared. The storm was then followed by Hurricane Maria which decimated the islands of Dominica and Puerto Rico.

66 Works Group Royal Engineers comprises 150 full-time civil, electrical and mechanical engineers, as well as 50 Reservists.  It is one of five Works Groups that together form 170 (Infrastructure Support) Engineer Group.

 

“I feel tremendously proud of the achievements of 66 Works Group, their efforts on Op RUMAN had genuine strategic effect and were truly inspiring.”