Pre-Afghanistan deployment training for British Forces

TROOPS FROM the British Army’s Yorkshire Regiment have conducted training with the RAF in an exercise held in the northwest of England from July 1 to July 5. The RAF contingent comprised two Puma helicopters from 33 Squadron based at Benson in Oxfordshire. The task centred on pre-deployment training before undertaking operations in Afghanistan.

The Puma Force was temporarily based at RAF Woodvale in Merseyside, and flew during the day and night using a variety of authorised helicopter landing sites in the Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle areas. Operating in urban locations is a key skill required by the Puma crews and the training is invaluable as they are unfamiliar operating environments for many of the personnel. The Puma Force is currently supporting the ongoing NATO training mission in Afghanistan, with its role being part of Operation Toral. They provide air transport to NATO troops and visiting dignitaries around Kabul.

The Yorkshire Regiment (14th/15th, 19th and 33rd/76th Foot), part of which will shortly be deployed to Afghanistan, was created by amalgamating three historic regiments in 2006. It’s currently the only line infantry or rifles unit to represent a single geographical county in the new infantry structure, serving as the county regiment of Yorkshire.