Troops from The Royal Scots Borderers, known as the Black Bears, are currently in Jordan on Exercise Olive Grove.
The battalion (1 SCOTS of the Royal Regiment of Scotland) is normally based in Belfast as part of 38th (Irish) Brigade.
The four-week deployment to Jordan is a light-role infantry exercise which sees the soldiers from Charlie Company carrying all their own equipment and practising their core skills. The terrain in the exercise area is extremely demanding to say the least – it’s more than 3,000 feet above sea level and the ground is hard, rocky desert, enclosed by high mountain peaks.
Temperatures range from high 20s Celsius during the day, down to around five degrees at night.
During their four weeks, Charlie Company is conducting two weeks of training using blank ammunition, progressing towards a tough test exercise run by the 1 SCOTS commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Matt Munro, to ensure they are operating to the required high standard demanded by the British Army.
The test phase of the exercise will also include working alongside the Jordanian Armed Forces who will provide a platoon that will work as part of Charlie Company.
The focus will then see the company undertake training using live ammunition, starting by working in fire teams of four men and progressing all the way to conducting a full company attack at night involving approximately 80 people.
Before leaving Jordan, the company will get the opportunity to experience an unforgettable visit to the World Heritage site at Petra.
Major Jules Kilpatrick, Charlie Company’s commander, said the trip to train in Jordan was an outstanding opportunity for the soldiers.
The major said: “We have all been tested by the difficult terrain, but the benefits are clear to see as we are taking our core infantry to a really high standard.
“Working alongside the Jordanian Army will also be great training for all involved as we see how each other operate and then work together in partnership.” One local Black Bear, Corporal Richard Cook, from Selkirk, added: “I’ve had an amazing couple of years with Charlie Company. I’ve been on operations in Afghanistan, been part of the Royal Guard in Balmoral, deployed to Cyprus with the company this time last year and now I’m in Jordan.
“This is exactly why I joined – to go to all these places.
“I’ve never been to Jordan before, but it’s an amazing place to train.”