15 Aug 2017

British paratroopers take part in Exercise Noble Partner

British paratroopers have proved their worth as ‘noble partners’ during a major multinational exercise in Georgia.

Some 160 paratroopers from C (Bruneval) Company, 2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment joined a 2,800-strong contingent from eight different nations to take part in the two week manoeuvre, dubbed ‘Exercise Noble Partner’.

The objective was clear; to train Georgian troops serving with the NATO Response Force, while also boosting collaboration between NATO armies in the event of an emerging crises.

Taking place on the Vaziani ranges near Tbilisi, the paratroopers traded techniques with the Georgian 12th Infantry Battalion on vehicle check points (VCPs) and search protocol. Elsewhere, a joint initiative with soldiers from the US Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade gave greater understanding of both the kit and the capabilities of the British and US airborne forces.

Major Mark Bush, Officer Commanding C (Bruneval) Coy 2 PARA, said: “Exercise Noble Partner is a fantastic opportunity, both for the company and for our paratroopers as individuals, which we’re working hard to make the most of. Georgia is a hot and dry environment that’s a test of physical resilience, while working as part of a multinational exercise on this scale really broadens soldiers’ military and cultural horizons.

“While working with our allies and partners we are learning all the time about how different armies conduct their business – and they’re learning about us – which will make us all better prepared for coalition operations in the future.”

According to Corporal Caz Laycock, working with different armies was about “finding a middle ground”. He explained: “I gave a lesson to the Georgians about VCPs and they were engaged and asked lots of questions, then they demonstrated their techniques to us. It’s about each of us looking at our slightly different tactics to deal with the same situation and learning from each other.”

And Private Kieran Ainsworth added: “This exercise has been really good for camaraderie, talking to different soldiers and learning about their army and their culture. It’s been particularly good working with the Americans, because we’re paratroopers and there’s no divide between us. We’ve talked to them seriously – and had a laugh – about things we can all relate to from slightly different directions.”

The exercise concluded with the paratroopers jumping into a 72-hour mission for the multinational force to practice defensive operations.

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