December 16th 2015

Putting military skills to the test

Assault courses, field training, exercises to test individual fitness, obstacle courses and a six mile march are a sample of the activities completed by Reservists at an Army Reserve unit in Loughborough this year.

Private Adam Scattergood, aged 29, and Private Lee Shiels, aged 21, both serve with 203 (Loughborough) Transport Squadron and have taken time out of their Reservist training to reflect on two military skills competitions they took part in over past months.

Joining soldiers from throughout 158 Regiment, Royal Logistics Corps (RLC), Adam and Lee completed a Regiment Military Skills Competition held at Altcar Training Camp in Liverpool in May 2015.

Private Scattergood, who works in the Oil and Gas Industry in his day job, said: “It was great to be able to get out and compete as a Squadron at Altcar Training Camp. A lot of the time we work with other units during competitions and training exercises, but in this case the people we parade with were the people we were working alongside.”

The Military Skills Competition included assault courses, field training and marching a number of miles in a set amount of time. Five teams took part in the event from 158 Regiment, an Army Reserve Transport Regiment, of which 203 (Loughborough) Squadron is a part of.

Private Scattergood continued: “The competition was challenging from beginning to end but there was a lot of pride within our teams, with each of us trying to compete to the best of our abilities. Team morale was really high, even though it was raining throughout the weekend.”

Private Scattergood and Private Shiels also completed an international military skills event during 2015, which included teams from across Europe who were each competing to win the RFA trophy.

Organised by the Royal Marines Reserve, the international event included Reservist teams from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army and the Royal Air Force.

Private Shiels commented: “We had to tackle high rope activities, practice casualty extraction, visit vehicle checkpoints and assemble a variety of weapons from scratch. I got to use skills during this competition that I wouldn’t normally have a chance to practice as well as gaining new skills in searching for Improvised Explosive Devises (IEDs).”

The three man team from 203 (Loughborough) Squadron also took part in a stretcher race as part of the international event. This saw them running up and down sand dunes over a distance of 600 metres.

“Each of the stretchers was weighed down with 80 kilos of sand bags, to simulate us carrying a casualty during the activity. I can honestly say this felt like 800 kilos by the end due to the uneven and difficult terrain we were working on. Our feet were sliding on the sand and we were falling sideways at points as we tried to navigate the stretcher through some narrow places in the course. Smoke grenades were going off throughout the race circuit to simulate a real battlefield environment too. This part of the competition tested our fitness, endurance and team working skills, but I’m proud to say we made it to the end of the course,” explained Private Shiels.

To enable 203 (Loughborough) Squadron to provide diverse logistic support during operations, each of their soldiers are trained in a range of skills across a variety of different trades including driving, communicating, catering and medical practices.

If you are looking for a new challenge and would like to find out more about volunteering with the Army Reserve in your spare time visit or call 01509 263 742 to learn more about 203 (Loughborough) Squadron.

“It was great to be able to get out and compete as a Squadron at Altcar Training Camp."