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Royals relish Pickel role
YES it is 2009 – and yes those are
problems of living – and fighting – at altitude. the training phase, the Royals headed off on a from Afghanistan has given us real operational
pack horses hauling military kit across
So abroad it is. Sometimes to Norway. This time four-day field training exercise based around a currency and credibility. I’m very happy with the
a paddock.
around to California. scenario in Afghanistan. results.”
With peaks up to three times higher than Ben And that’s pretty apt, because the last time the The reservists were drawn from all five Royal
Because sometimes, despite all the
Nevis, the US Marine Corps’ exercise area just commandos fought in earnest at altitude was in Marines Reserves units – London, Bristol, Tyne,
mechanisation, all the technology and wizardry,
north of Yosemite National Park, was the perfect Afghanistan seven years ago when they hunted Merseyside and Scotland.
you can’t improve upon Nature – as a group of 80
location. down the Tdown aleban in the mountains. Many had already fought in Afghanistan –
Royal Marines Reservists found.
Even the base camp, sitting at 6,000 0 The environment of the Sierra alongside their full-time comrades – and a good
The green berets left the UK behind for two
feet (1,829m), was higher than anywhere Nevada range – arid soil and rugged number of the Bristolians used up some of their
weeks of high-altitude training in the Californian
in the UK and from there the reservists vegetation – is reminiscent of the civilian leave to take part in Commando Strike.
mountains, Exercise Commando Strike ’09.
began to work their way up to mountains s mountains of Afghanistan. “We need to invest in the training of our
Pickel Meadows, in the Sierra Nevada mountains
topping 12,000 feet (3,658m). In fact, all US Marine Corps units reservists,” said Lt Col Corbidge.
about 200 miles east of San Francisco, is home to
The air was thin, temperatures wereree deploying to that trd oubled land carry “We need to ensure they can
the US Marine Corps’ Mountain Warfare Training
approaching 35˚C (95˚F) by day, and the the out their prout eparatory training at Pickel achieve and maintain the same
men each carried in excess of 70lbs (32kg) of 2kg)) of Meadows.Mead standards as their regular
The Royals are regarded as the UK’s
kit on their backs for most of the time – back-– back- “Commando Strike was a r“C eally counterparts and that’s
mountain warfare experts... but
breaking work at normal altitudes. challenging exerchaall cise for the guys, but they exactly what this
there are no peaks in Britain
The aim of the exercise was to allow the ow tht e performed brilliantly and prperfo oduced some exercise has
which truly prepare the
reservists to practise the skills required in such really excellent results,” said exercise director and done.”
a challenging environment: climbing, abseiling, Commanding Officer of RMR Bristol Lt Col Steve
for the
crossing rivers, even using pack horses to allow Corbidge.
them to carry more equipment. “Using a realistic scenario for the exercise and
After six days of acclimatisation during having personnel with recent experience
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