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Raleigh trainees to come to the aid of local community

7 September 2017
Providing aid to a fictional village is among the tasks faced by recruits at HMS Raleigh as they complete the final exercise of their training.

Sent to help a community struck by a hurricane, the recruits are set to work to establish headquarters and form working parties to scan the area for casualties and other hazards. 

The tasks include rescuing injured survivors from a downed helicopter and carrying them back to the first-aid tent, but first they must build a bridge to carry the casualties over water contaminated by toxins. 

They also need to be aware of rebel forces in the area and take the right precautions to maintain their own safety and the safety of the community.

It’s a combination of the skills they’ve learnt during the previous nine weeks of their training, just to see how they pull together under a little bit of pressure.

Chief Petty Officer Antony Challon

Recruit Cian Lewis-Davies from Swansea who was selected to take charge of the operation for his class, said:  “There’s a real sense of action and responsibility. 

“The more realistic it is the better because it gives you an idea of what’s to come later in our careers.  It was the first time I’ve done anything like this before. 

“I would have been able to give it a go nine weeks ago, but I probably wouldn’t have been able to do it as well as I could with the training I’ve received.”

The exercise, known as Bright Diamond, sees the classes acting as the crew of the training ship Brecon, moored on the River Lynher.

Chief Petty Officer Antony ‘Rocky’ Challon, one of HMS Raleigh’s Assistant Divisional Training Officers, said:  “This is simulating a disaster relief exercise similar to what’s run out on board ship at the end of operational sea training, but simplified for the recruits. 

“It’s a combination of the skills they’ve learnt during the previous nine weeks of their training, just to see how they pull together under a little bit of pressure. 

“There’s a lot evolutions they really need to tie in together, so we are really trying to hammer home that emphasis of team-work, organisation, all pulling together and pushing in the right direction ethos. 

“The recruits really enjoy the exercise and it is very beneficial.  For some of these recruits in three or four months’ time they could be out in the Fleet doing this for real.”

The recruits stay on board Brecon for part of the three-day exercise, following the routines they would at sea such as keeping watches and taking part in flood and fire exercises. 

They also take part in navigation exercises on the Rivers Lynher and Tamar, driving the small boats and plotting their course.

Lieutenant Lisa Milner, who works within the Royal Navy Initial Training School at HMS Raleigh, said:  “We see Bright Diamond as a confirmation exercise, but there is also an element of introducing new things that the recruits won’t have seen before, like the disaster relief element. 

“It’s about making things a little more maritime, letting them see what it is to spend time on board a ship, trying out what the bunks are like and things like that. 

“There’s time on the water to see if they have taken on the seamanship skills they’ve learnt in week six, as well as the damage control exercises testing the skills they’ve learnt in week eight. 

“We are supposed to be the forward element of a Task Group, and out on the water we are collecting intelligence that we can give to the larger ships when they arrive in theatre. 

“We expect to see at this stage an element of independence; that they’ve taken on their military bearing and that they conduct themselves appropriately at all times and ultimately that their enthusiasm is still there.”

Initial naval training at HMS Raleigh is 10-weeks long and designed to teach the recruits the basic skills they will rely upon throughout their careers.

It culminates with the passing out parade, after which the recruits progress to their specialist training. 

Depending on their branch this will be carried out at HMS Raleigh or another training establishment in the UK.

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