Royal Marines train recruits on the Cayman Islands

Royal Marines have trained recruits on the Cayman Islands, equipping them to react in the event of a natural disaster devastating British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean.

The marines from 45 Commando and British Army soldiers from across the Household Division trained recruits rigorously for the newly-formed Cayman Islands Regiment. 

With hurricane season posing a yearly threat from June to the end of November, this new unit of reservists is intended to improve the ability of the Cayman Islands and neighbouring communities to deal with a disaster.

Sergeant Dave Young and Lieutenant James Meikle, of Yankee Company of Arbroath-based 45 Commando, put the first 51 recruits through their paces in a range of essential skills during a two-week training programme in the capital George Town.

The training team – which included the marines but also troops from the 1st Battalion The Welsh Guards, the Household Cavalry, Mounted Regiment and 1st Battalion The Grenadier Guards – provided the islanders with the basic infantry skills required to be qualified soldiers, including weapons handling, battlefield casualty drills and navigation.

The training team went under a period of quarantine and were Covid tested before heading for the Caymans. 

“Sgt Young and I led Alpha Troop. The programme was tight, with brand-new recruits covering medical training, communications, Glock 17 weapon handling and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) skills on top of the basics of kit husbandry and fieldcraft,” said Lt Meikle. 

After basic military skills, the recruits’ programme intensified with more specific training in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR). 

This crucial aspect of training culminated in a two-day scenario in which the recruits reacted to a disaster, with two police helicopters, armed police, the Red Cross and a hazard management team adding further realism to the exercise. 

“The recruits performed well, establishing vehicle checkpoints and completing search-and-rescue tasking,” said Lt Meikle. 

The passing-out parade took place at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in George Town in front of both the Governor Martyn Roper and Premier of Cayman in George Town, The Honourable Alden McLaughlin.

Governor Roper said: “I am proud of these men and women who together comprise the very first Cayman Islands Regiment. Wear your badge with enormous pride. 

“I have thought about this moment for almost 16 years, since the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan, when members of the Bermuda Regiment came to help us recover. 

“It is a huge relief to know that we now have our own personnel with knowledge and skills to not only help our people in times of disaster but also others in our neighbouring overseas territories. 

“Thank you to the team that has delivered the training, to RMAS and the UK Ministry of Defence for turning ambition into reality.”

 

The recruits performed well, establishing vehicle checkpoints and completing search-and-rescue tasking

Lieutenant James Meikle