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Second Exercise Cambrian Patrol success for Easingwold soldier
A NORTH Yorkshire soldier has faced up to one of the Army’s toughest challenges – for the second time.
Fusilier David Bates tested himself to the limit in Exercise Cambrian Patrol, a mentally and physically sapping 48-hour event in Wales’ Black Mountains and a gruelling highlight of the British Army’s training calendar.
Its demands mean some foreign entrants have to first win their own domestic competition, with troops from throughout the world forming more than 100 teams.
David, 24, from Easingwold, was part of 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers’ squad. It is the last time they will represent the battalion before a merger next year.
His team was one of only two to claim a gold medal in last year’s Cambrian Patrol.
The former Easingwold School pupil, who joined the unit in 2006, said: “The reason we did so well last year, as corny as it sounds, was because we just put one foot in front of the other and kept going.
“As long as commanders make the right decisions and the lads cover the basics well, there’s no reason why anybody can’t get a gold medal.”
The exercise, run by 160 (Wales) Brigade, has seven phases, with teams marching 55km carrying full personal kit and equipment – weighing 60lbs – on a two-day patrolling mission in harsh terrain.
Troops from New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Ukraine, Canada, Australia and across Europe took part, with David’s team winning a silver award.
He said: “The biggest obstacle last year was the weather – when bad conditions come in, you can only see your hand in front of your face and navigation becomes increasingly difficult.
“On top of that, you’ve got human error slipping in because you’re tired, wet and cold. You may have been on the go for 36 hours, it’s pitch black and that’s when navigation is a big thing because it affects everything else and you have to be accurate.”
Challenges included observation, reconnaissance of “enemy” forces, cold river crossings, first-aid and defensive shooting under attack, followed by debriefing, with points awarded.
Cambrian Patrol Warrant Officer Stephen Eaves said: “It’s the ultimate challenge for the modern-day soldier – patrols who completed Cambrian can be rightly proud.”
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