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HMS Collingwood comes to the rescue

21 March 2016
HMS Collingwood held Exercise Trafalgar over the weekend 4-6 March, an intensive Command, Leadership and Management (CLM) exercise that followed the theme of a disaster relief scenario.

Involving all Phase 2 trainees at the establishment the aim was to develop the leadership skills of young officers and offer the opportunity for Phase 2 ratings to enhance their teamwork skills and step into command positions where necessary. 

The scenario for the Exercise was based on the disaster relief operation conducted by HMS Manchester in St Lucia in 2010.

The establishment was transformed into a variety of incident areas on the Caribbean island of ‘Santissima Trinidad’, which had been recently devastated by Hurricane Villeneuve.  

It was a fantastic training weekend for all involved and gave the officers and ratings who took part the unique opportunity to interact within their training pipelines.

Lieutenant Will Jones RN

There were 10 main areas for the teams to deal with, and the exercise kicked off on Friday evening with a specific mission brief outlining the requirements and constraints of the weekend. 

Each team consisted of approximately 20 ratings led by Junior Weapon Engineer and Junior Warfare Officers.

They had a “local guide” to accompany them throughout, who provided a map and details of each incident area and who they had to keep a close eye on “at all times”. 

The teams gathered on the Saturday for the “Store Ship” themed physical evolution facilitated by the Physical Training Instructor staff prior to breakfast.

 At 0800 all teams went straight into the action, navigating through stances such as a Road Traffic Accident, Refugee Processing, Ships Protection Force, Village Re-supply, Medical Services Restoration and Restoration of Order. 

From the outset the intensity and pressure that the teams were under became evident.  HMS Collingwood staff provided plenty of additional distractions on each stance from thunder flashes, smoke grenades, blank firing and acting as unruly villagers. 

The new Refugee Processing stance was run by Petty Officer Abbott who said: “The idea here was to test the IC’s ability to think about multiple incidents, we had an initial medical incident, a surge of people testing the site’s defences and also the actual correct handling of refugees especially on the security side.” 

The site’s swimming pool provided the scene for a Relief Aid stance in which the trainees had to recover 25 items and provide initial First Aid to the villagers.

Petty Officer Physical Trainer Hoare said: “This scenario provided something a little bit different for the teams, not everyone is the greatest swimmer yet they all had to get involved and play their part, including the high board jump at the end, you can get a few tremblers!”. 

Sunday allowed the teams to complete their remaining stances before being allowed the Freedom of the Island, granted by the rather eccentric local Mayor of Santissima (Warrant Officer 1 Fisher). 

Before the formal march past, the weekend’s outstanding performers were announced. 

The winning team overall were Dreadnought, who had shown excellent teamwork throughout, under the direction and guidance of Sub Lieutenant Howett and Midshipman Iwanek. 

The Spartan Trophy for best individual physical endeavour was awarded to Able Seaman Shaw. The Ethos Trophy was jointly awarded to Able Seaman Price and Engineering Technician Fallon, and the Officer Leadership Prize was awarded to Sub Lieutenant Edwards. 

Lieutenant Will Jones, Officer in Charge of the whole event said “It was a fantastic training weekend for all involved and gave the officers and ratings who took part the unique opportunity to interact within their training pipelines.

“The excellent work of the staff and in particular the stance I/Cs was absolutely fundamental to ensuring that the highest quality of training was fully achieved”. 

EX TRAFALGAR also gave an insight into realistic situations that new recruits may face on their first sea assignment as the Royal Navy continues to play an active role in providing Humanitarian Aid to countries devastated by natural disasters.

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