Commandos carry out disaster relief exercises in the Caribbean

Commandos train on ‘Treasure Island’

Royal Marines returned to a pirate’s haunt in the latest test of a Royal Navy task group’s readiness to respond to the Caribbean hurricane season

Map showing Norman Island.

On the island which is said to have inspired the legendary ‘Treasure Island’, Royal Marine Commandos took part in an intensive two-day training exercise.

This remote location was the latest setting for these impressive life-saving teams and kit aboard RFA Argus and HMS Medway.

Commandos, sailors and aviators took part in rigorous training to determine how the task group might help the British Overseas Territory, should a tropical storm hit.

Commandos carry out disaster relief exercises in the Caribbean
Commandos carry out disaster relief exercises in the Caribbean

The exercise began when a Wildcat helicopter from 815 Naval Air Squadron delivered a scouting party to one of the landing sites that had already been scoped out.

At the same time, members of the Crisis Response Troop from 24 Commando Royal Engineers were transferred to HMS Medway. This was to simulate the ability of both ships to coordinate and respond in different locations, with Medway acting as a ‘lily pad’ from which to deliver the troop of specialist engineers and her own emergency relief stores ashore.

Further helicopter flights saw troops landing ashore, with a headquarters being set up to plan the next steps and liaise with the ships and aircraft about the situation on the ground.

Commandos carry out disaster relief exercises in the Caribbean
Wildcat helicopter from 815 Naval Air Squadron and commandos carry out disaster relief exercises in the Caribbean

The training continued into the next day, and a key aim was to support the delivery of emergency relief stores to a number of sites around the island.

The commandos are multi-skilled and are experts in working quickly to re-establish infrastructure once ashore, including helping with sanitation, clearing building work, plumbing and electricity. They can do this with local populations or in isolation.

Commandos carry out disaster relief exercises in the Caribbean.
Commandos carry out disaster relief exercises in the Caribbean

The Virgin Islands were badly affected back in 2017 and received widespread help from the British military under Operation RUMAN.

Commandos carry out disaster relief exercises in the Caribbean.
Commandos carry out disaster relief exercises in the Caribbean

This exercise and the two ships’ ongoing presence in the region is a strong signal of the UK’s support for its Overseas Territories in the Caribbean.

Having successfully completed this exercise, the ships have now both left the British Virgin Islands, destined to meet again in Barbados for a short logistics stop to replenish fresh food and fuel, before continuing their patrols in the Caribbean.

Find out where else the UK Armed Forces are deployed here:

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Ministry of Defence

Ministry of Defence

DefenceHQ is the official corporate news channel of the UK Ministry of Defence.