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Royal Marines prepare for Caribbean missions

24 June 2020
Royal Marines have been taking part in vital disaster relief training to ensure they are ready to help islands nations in the Caribbean during hurricane season.

More than 200 Royal Marines from Arbroath-based 45 Commando have been practising rescue skills, water purification and construction methods at their base at RM Condor in preparation for potential deployment as part of Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR).
 
The essential training prepares the marines to help island populations in the aftermath of a hurricane and aid them in rebuilding their stricken communities. 
 
“Disaster relief training is part of 45 Commando’s operation preparations to ensure that we are ready in all respects to provide aid and support to the people of the British Overseas Territories in the event of a major hurricane,” explained Major McCreton, Officer Commanding of Zulu Company.
 
“The UK, and the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, have world-leading HADR capabilities and experience.  While we hope our skills aren’t needed, the vital training the team are undertaking means we can deploy overseas to help the Caribbean population at a moment’s notice.”
  
The marines are also on task to help distribute food and vital supplies to the local population; as experts in amphibious operations, the Royal Marines can access hard-to-reach areas which may be otherwise cut-off from storm damage.
 
Marine Sam Halliday, who took part in the HADR training said: “The training we are undertaking this week is really relevant to what we may be called upon to do in the Caribbean and I feel confident I will be able to play my part, should the need arise.”
 
Many of the Caribbean islands are still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Irma in 2017, a Category 5 storm where winds reached over 177mph and caused huge waves to rock the Caribbean coastline, resulting in 47 deaths.
 
The Royal Navy and Royal Marines were heavily involved in the ensuing HADR mission where elements of 40 Commando deployed to provide assistance. The effects of a hurricane in 2020 could be devastating for the Caribbean nations.
 
Royal Navy ships, including RFA Argus and HMS Medway, are on-hand during the hurricane season (June-November) to support the islanders throughout the region where needed.
 
45 Commando will be ready to deploy when needed and will be tested for COVID-19 before leaving the UK. HADR training was undertaken with strict COVID-19 control measures in force, including social distancing.

 
Disaster relief training is part of 45 Commando’s operation preparations to ensure that we are ready in all respects to provide aid and support to the people of the British Overseas Territories and the Commonwealth in the event of a major hurricane.

Major McCreton

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