March was another busy month for the Vikings with training, exercises and deployments happening across every Company. The month also heralded Major James Walters first full month in command of A (Norfolk) Company; his friends and colleagues have warmly welcomed him back to Vikings. A combined Battlecraft Syllabus (BCS) exercise alongside C Company provided the ideal opportunity for A (Norfolk) Company to continue the focus on their warfighting foundation, but only after attendance on Exercise VIKING SHIELD 2, training and validating the Company in Public Order (as is required for deployment later this year).
March Update from the First Battalion 'The Vikings'
Alongside their own training programme, again re-focusing on infantry battlecraft, B (Suffolk) Company again took the lead in delivering another VIKING SHIELD package, making use of the raft of Public Order instructors the Battalion now has trained in anticipation of any future deployments overseas. As well as supporting this activity and their own BCS exercise, C Company also managed further time on the ranges this month, with 30k of 7.62 GPMG ammo used to begin developing the next generation of GPMG gunners, as well as routine rifle shooting (culminating in the ACMT) at Hythe ranges.
All five Companies have sent students on an internal Potential JNCO course being run by Lt Rob Smith, the RSM and a small training team based up near Catterick for the duration of the cadre. Whilst this training would normally be delivered pan-QUEENS Division, COVID has forced individual Battalions to temporarily run some courses internally in order to ensure a continued supply of junior commanders. Unsurprisingly the RSM jumped at the chance to help mentor and develop the next generation of Viking JNCOs.
Other elements of HQ Company have been just as busy this month. Alongside the routine enablement of the Battalion, CIS Platoon have been committed to BGHQ training, ahead of a CAST planned in the coming months. This training was the first time the current BGHQ team had come together to practice planning and execution, and it was a productive run out ahead of Ex VIKING STORM planned for May. Alongside this, Capt Dan Russell (recently returned from ITC Catterick as IO Des) and Sgt Johnson (current Int Sgt) deployed at short notice to Ghana as part of a month-long Short Term Training Team (STTT). Alongside providing training support to the Ghanian Armed Forces they also met MinAF (James Heappey MP, an ex-RIFLES officer) as part of his visit to West Africa.
March should also mark the conclusion of the support provided by D (Cambridgeshire) Company to Op RESCRIPT, with all Vikings due to stand down and return to routine duties by the end of the month.