Suffolk soldiers drop in on exercise

HUNDREDS of troops from Suffolk and Essex have parachuted onto Salisbury Plain in a spectacular training exercise.The operation involved many personnel from Colchester Garrison and Wattisham Airfield, as well as Rock Barracks in Woodbridge.

HUNDREDS of troops from Suffolk and Essex have parachuted onto Salisbury Plain in a spectacular training exercise.

The operation involved many personnel from Colchester Garrison and Wattisham Airfield, as well as Rock Barracks in Woodbridge.

For the last two weeks, around 1,500 troops and 500 vehicles from 16 Air Assault Brigade - the Army's premier rapid reaction fighting brigade - have conducted Exercise Eagle's Eye.

Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith, commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, said: “The brigade has to be ready to deploy anywhere in the world at five days' notice to move, and in order to fulfil this role it is vital the brigade practices its essential aviation and air assault skills to maintain operational capability.”

One of the major events took place on Tuesday as 300 troops parachuted onto Salisbury Plain from Hercules aircraft.

The jump centred around the Battle Group of 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment (2 Para) supported by elements from a number of units including artillery, engineers, medics, signallers, and military police.

Most Read

The elements make up what is known as the Airborne Task Force (ABTF), a capability that ensures the Army can respond quickly to incidents around the world.

Last year troops from 16 Air Assault Brigade assisted in the evacuation of British citizens from Lebanon as well as having more than 3,000 troops sent to Afghanistan.

Troops involved in the 2 Para Battle Group drop included 7 Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, 16 Close Support Medical Regiment, 13 Air Assault Support Regiment Royal Logistic Corps, and 156 Provost Company Royal Military police, all based at Colchester Garrison.

23 Engineer Regiment, based at Woodbridge, and 7 Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, based at Wattisham, were also involved.

Exercise Eagle's Eye finishes this week.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter