Tense time for RG trainers in recent Gambia deployment
Officers and soldiers of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment have been deploying to the Gambia on a bi-annual basis since 2006, but their latest training mission came against the backdrop of political unrest in the west African country.
Former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh lost elections last December to Adama Barrow, but refused to back down despite threat of military intervention by neighbouring countries.
The standoff was eventually resolved but throughout the tense period, personnel from the RG remained in the Gambia providing pre-deployment training to members of the Gambian Armed Forces (GAF), in order to prepare them for their enduring peacekeeping mission to the Darfur region of Sudan.
GAF instructors are mentored in the current British Army Doctrine for their Pre-Deployment Training (PDT).
As part of this enduring mission, the RG deployed two Short Term Training Teams (STTT), in order to successfully train the GAF.
The first team deployed between January 2 and 20 and delivered the first phase of training which dealt with the tactics of peace support operations.
“Both STTTs managed to successfully execute their training objectives during a period of political sensitivity as a result of presidential elections,” HQ British Forces Gibraltar said in a statement.
The team was formed by Captain Elvis Pearce, Warrant Officer 1 (Regimental Sergeant Major) Chris Canepa, Warrant Officer 2 Sean Kenyon, Sergeant Joshua Whitaker and Sergeant Nick Sene.
The second team deployed between February 1 and 21, 2017, and dealt with the second phase of training consisting of developing their skills in guarding and duties, mainly camp security and ceremonials.
This team was formed by Major Julian Valverde, Warrant Officer 2 Daniel Mifsud and Colour Sergeant Mark Hitchcock.
The RG efforts were recognised in the second STTT deployment by the British ambassador to the Gambian, The Honourable Colin Crorkin MBE and the Gambian Chief of Defence Staff Lieutenant General Ousman Badjie, crediting the RG for their on-going hard work and dedication.
Captain Elvis Pearce said: “The deployment of Gambian Troops to Darfur is a critical component of the UN operation.”
“The RG has been repeatedly chosen to ensure the high standards of British Forces training is built into the GAF’s capability.”
“It has been an honour training the GAF, and I have found them to be professional and committed to the instruction given, I wish them the best on all future operations.”
Major Valverde added: “It continues to be a pleasure to work so closely with the Gambian Armed Forces. They are all hard working soldiers who hold and expect the highest of standards. Long may the Anglo Gambian relationship continue.”