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HMS Collingwood 'sails' to the rescue

3 April 2018
HMS Collingwood held its biannual Exercise Trafalgar recently, an intensive Command, Leadership and Management (CLM) exercise following the theme of a disaster relief scenario.

HMS Collingwood ‘sails’ to the rescueExercise Trafalgar is now in its eighth year, providing junior officers and sailors from the Warfare and Weapon Engineering branches the opportunity to build upon the leadership and teamwork skills gained during their initial training against the backdrop of the Royal Navy's core values; commitment, courage, discipline, respect, integrity and loyalty.

The action-packed exercise was set on the fictional Caribbean Island of Santissima Trinidad which had suffered widespread devastation following the passing of Hurricane Villeneuve which brought with it snow and ice, not seen on the island for some time, adding to the already difficult scenario.

Over 250 trainees and staff took part in the 2 day exercise with the trainees split down into 10 teams competing with one another to win the coveted Cockerel Trophy.

We have seen some impressive individual and team performances throughout the exercise

Lieutenant Gary Chambers, Exercise co-ordinator

The exercise commenced on the Friday evening with a full brief delivered to participants highlighting the devastating situation on the island and introducing the mission, with Captain Vitali (HMS Collingwood's Commanding Officer) acting as Commander UK Training Group via 'satellite link'. 

The teams deployed out into Santissima Trinidad to face a number of demanding physical and mental challenges which included the restoration of order, a road traffic accident and the subsequent casualties and even restoring power supplies and other services to a mock hospital complex.

Participants also conducted an 'Action Messing' lunch, simulating the time-constrained serial that the Ship's Company would endure were they fighting at sea and needing to quickly return to their Action Station.

The exercise was very much a wholeship effort with each training department running a stance and with many providing some very convincing actors to add to the realism. 

Each stance tested the teams in different ways with some being very physical, involving difficulties such as the transportation of casualties whilst some demanded softer skills such as dealing with upset refugees or liaising with the local media.

The exercise concluded on the Sunday afternoon with team ‘Neptune’ being declared the winner and awarded the Cockerell Trophy in what was a hotly contested top 3.

Sub-Lieutenant Watson of team "Neptune" and Able Seaman McQuillian of team ‘Revenge’ were awarded the Spartan Trophy for the most outstanding officer/trainee due to their strong effort all weekend as both an individual in charge of a team and a team member.

Exercise co-ordinator Lieutenant Gary Chambers said, "The weekend has been an enormous success despite the last minute changes to the scenario due to the weather. All Phase 2 officers and ratings have worked very hard with all the participants having the opportunity to get stuck in and to build on the leadership and teamwork skills that they developed during their basic training.

“We have seen some impressive individual and team performances throughout the exercise and hopefully the experience will act as a taster for the sort of activity our future officers and sailors will likely face when they get out into the Fleet".

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