Exercises

Royal Welsh Join 'The Superbowl' Of Military Manoeuvres In The US

Exercise Northern Strike has welcomed reserves from the Army’s most experienced armoured infantry unit.

The Royal Welsh have spent two weeks with almost 7,000 troops from seven countries, taking part in Exercise Northern Strike in Michigan, United States.

Dubbed the "Superbowl of military manoeuvres", the annual exercise is based in Camp Grayling, the largest National Guard training centre in the US - twice the size of Salisbury Plain.

Reservist soldiers from 3rd Battalion The Royal Welsh used the opportunity to prepare for potential operations with their allies.

Soldiers from the US, Latvia, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Estonia and Jordon welcomed the opportunity to stand alongside the reservists in large-scale joint-fire exercises.

Soldiers look over Camp Grayling from a Chinook before dropping
Soldiers look over Camp Grayling from a Chinook before dropping (Picture: US Department of Defense).

Lieutenant Aled Smith, Platoon Commander for the Royal Welsh, gained a newfound appreciation for the size of the US military at Camp Grayling.

"They have got so many assets at their disposal and everything was just on a much bigger scale," he said.

"Their weight of firepower, vehicles and aviation is just something we do not experience in the UK."

The platoon used this opportunity to integrate American forces and UK reserves, with the aim of training as a collective.

The Exercise incorporated live-fire scenario training
The exercise incorporated live-firing (Picture: US Department of Defense).

During Exercise Northern Strike, Black Hawk helicopters and Chinooks dropped troops into scenarios, some of which featured air support from the US.

Lieutenant Smith said:

"When we go to war, we are not going to be going by ourselves…"

"We are getting that integration, seeing what we can get from them and what they can get from us," he added.

Lieutenant Colonel Jed Murphy, Commanding Officer 3rd Battalion of the Royal Welsh, was happy that non-commissioned officers were given "a professional experience" as the company "came together".

"They’ve spent eight days out in the field, living out of their webbing and backpacks – that is a long period, particularly in these conditions," he said.

"I think they all feel like better soldiers for it."