This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
Called Scatha Dare, after the legendary Scottish warrior woman who trained the Ulster hero Cú Chulainn in the arts of combat, this was the largest military exercise undertaken by the Northern Irish reserves.
Based around military training areas in Dumfries and Galloway, the exercise scenario put the Northern Irish reserves under pressure to clear enemy forces while protecting a civilian population under threat from chemical and biological warfare. And, with air support, the troops also faced the challenge of clearing the enemy from an urban environment.
Sammy Hendry, a reservist from Carrick, said:
It was my first experience of assaulting enemy positions from an air insertion, which was an incredible feeling of sitting in the back of a helicopter being flown into an enemy location. The exercise was challenging, but the professionalism and camaraderie of my fellow reservists made it enjoyable.
As well as the Royal Irish Regiment, the Scottish exercise also saw integration of troops from the North Irish Horse, the Royal Artillery, the Royal Corps of Signals, the Royal Engineers, the Royal Army Medical Corps, the Royal Logistic Corps and the Intelligence Corps.
This was Rory Smee’s first exercise after being recently commissioned into the regular army. He said:
It is clear that we have a very strong relationship with the Army Reserve and we are keen to continue to train alongside them in the future. The whole exercise helped gel the two battalions together.
And it wasn’t just the reservists who got involved with the exercise. A number of employers from Northern Ireland and Scotland were also invited to see their employees in their reservist roles, and were given the chance to take a ride in a troop-carrying helicopter.
Newtownabbey soldier Jo Green said:
It was a great opportunity to engage with managers that support the Army Reserve and for them to see how the reserve can develop leadership and management skills. The Army Reserve continues to test me on different levels; I would recommend it to everyone.