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Latest News 17/07/2017
The Development Network Deploys with the Military Reserve Exchange Program

The Military Reserve Exchange Program is designed to give UK/US Reservists an insight into each other’s annual training. The UK sends around 90 troops on 2-week attachments spread over 5 months to Reserve Units of the Coast Guard, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Army and National Guard. and in return, they send their Reservists to our relevant annual deployment exercises.

Harry Macleod is The Development Network’s Content Director and in his spare time commands a Specialist Weapons Platoon at a local Reserve infantry unit- 3 Royal Anglian, ‘The Steelbacks’. He recently spent 2 weeks attached to a Company from the Florida National Guard General Support Battalion who support 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne). These groups consist of 12-man teams from the Green Berets who are Tier 2 (Delta Force are Tier 1) operators specialised in training indigenous forces to conduct strike operations.

Because of the closeness of the relationship every 3 years the support soldiers must complete and pass a Special Forces Basic Combat Course. Harry flew to Washington, then to Florida before embarking on a 7-hour convoy to start the course!

Learning from Mistakes

The first week was spent on around 100 different range scenarios by day and night using a combination of the M-9 Colt 5.56 carbine with an ‘EO tech’ red dot sight, laser module and separate torch and the M-4 Beretta 9mm pistol.

The week moved quickly from zeroing to transition, to shooting whilst moving, to shooting at angles, to shooting with lasers and flashlights and culminated in a ‘competition day’ where they fired 6 different shoots based on speed and accuracy. Harry won the fastest and most accurate pistol shoot, but the ‘Top Gun’ went to a Special Operations Surgical Team who were attached for the duration.

He enjoyed the teaching style that encouraged soldiers to make and learn from mistakes in a safe environment. Furthermore, from 6 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon (when it sometimes rose to over 90F!) if they weren’t firing we were reloading; No better way to improve your shooting!

Intensity Levels Increase

The pace, demands and tactics of the second week increased exponentially. They rotated through CQB and mounting/firing .50 Cals from Humvees! They also fired their Squad Automatic Weapon (like our LMG) and M240L (like our GPMG) whilst in moving convoy, concurrently practicing ‘downed driver and gunner’ drills e.g. if either is incapacitated, someone in the vehicle team is ready to take their place.

The climax of the exercise was the final test, a testing combination of fixing a tyre on a Humvee before arming it, loading your team, going on patrol, taking fire and casualties, extracting into another Humvee and clearing a building to rescue a hostage and treat your casualties and POWs.

Operational Anecdotes

Only at Sandhurst, Larkhill and Brecon has Harry seen such an enthusiastic, motivated and knowledgeable team of instructors. Made of entirely Special Forces, they explained and demonstrated all their lessons through operational anecdotes e.g. ‘this person was shot moving up to a door because he couldn’t be bothered to transition their rifle from their right to left shoulder, so today we are going to fire from the opposite shoulder’ or ‘my engineer was so good at fixing vehicles we took him as top gunner on every patrol, so today we are going to practice mounting weapons’. It added an imperative to really take on every lesson.

For more information on the Military Reserve Exchange Program please visit http://www.people.mil/Inside-M-RA/Reserve-Integration/Military-Reserve-Exchange-Program/

For more information on the events The Development Network organise please visit www.tdnuk.com/events

If you would like to connect with Harry feel free to reach out to him via LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/harry-macleod-3729b545/

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