Reservists play key role at international exercise

Topic: PeopleReserves

Royal Navy Reserve Logisticians have played a critical role in sustaining the UK’s largest regular combined joint live military exercise. 

Joint Warrior is a UK-led exercise, multi-national by design, which brings together NATO and partner nation participants to improve the ability to work together and demonstrate capabilities in the joint and combined forces environment.

Held bi-annually, the exercise prepares ships, submarines, marines, soldiers and air squadrons that will be used on operational deployments; without the RNR logisticians that give up their own valuable time to support the exercise, the exercise’s ability to sustain units at sea would be greatly diminished. 

The RNR Logistics Branch is a cadre of around 170 strong that draws from the 15 RNR units across the UK.

Personnel are required to commit to an annual training requirement of 24 days which includes at least two five-day periods of operational capability training or one period of at least ten days’ duration.

Leading Hand Logistician Paul Lee, of HMS Eaglet, took a break working for Merseyside Police to take part in Joint Warrior.

“Since coming on Joint Warrior this year I have been able use my skill sets from both my RNR training and my role as a Police Officer.

Dealing with PMC (personnel, mail and cargo) and tracking individual shipments. Joint Warrior has given me a better understanding of how we operate and integrate with other countries and forces.”

Chris Richardson, who joined the RNR three years ago and is based at HMS Calliope in Gateshead, said: “I have enjoyed my first Joint Warrior and have gained a lot of experience which I can now use in future exercises. I have done things like boat transfers and helicopter transfers with 820 squadron. I have also delivered a lot of cargo to help the ships stay operational and delivered mail to ships to keep up their morale.”

The father-of-two, who works for Calsonic Kansei, a car parts supplier for Nissan in Sunderland, added, “Being a reservist is very challenging with having to cope with my civilian job, family life and Reservist role but I would recommend it to anyone who is looking to keep fit and looking for a sense of an adventure, you also get to meet people from all different back grounds.”

Petty Officer Logistics Samuel Yarnold, who joined the RNR in 2014 after 15 years as a Regular, said: “This was my first Joint Warrior and has been an excellent opportunity to practice management skills.

“I have dealt with priority stores issues; movement of personnel; media operations; worked closely with Mine Warfare Battle Staff in support of a task groups operating in the North of Scotland; while also being able to coach and mentor Logisticians new to the branch

Solicitor Emily Weidner, from HMS President, said, “Joint Warrior has provided me with the opportunity to incorporate skills into a real working environment.”

AB Sarah Holmes, based at HMS Calliope, said, “I joined The RNR to do something completely different to my civilian career as a psychological wellbeing practitioner at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne NHS Trust.

“It was the adventure training that enticed me to join. Currently I am based at HMS Calliope which is near my home town of Newcastle. Overall, I am pleased with my new experience of participating in Joint Warrior as it has allowed me to meet people I would not ordinarily encounter in my civilian life.”

Joint Warrior offered the opportunity for a team of 22 RNR sailors to showcase their capability, driving over 11,000 miles across the Scottish exercise areas and delivering a bespoke service to the Amphibious Task Group from RMB Chivenor as part of the Joint Expeditionary Force (LIVEX) scheme of manoeuvre.

Over the course of the exercise, the team established Forward Logistics Sites at Stornoway to support the contracted Helicopter Delivery Service, Loch Ewe to support the Mine Warfare Battlestaff, Prestwick and Chivenor. 

In ten days, the team made 99 cargo movements and moved 104 people.

Logistics lead Lieutenant Alexander Meaden said, “I am very grateful to the RNR Logistics Branch and probably need to stop being amazed at the commitment, dedication and enthusiasm with which people turn up to these exercises. The quality of the people that we get from the RNR is first class and myself and the senior management cannot thank them enough for their efforts.”

Being a reservist is very challenging with having to cope with my civilian job, family life and Reservist role but I would recommend it to anyone who is looking to keep fit and looking for a sense of an adventure

Reservist Chris Richardson, HMS Calliope