Sussex ACF on life-changing expedition to Kenya

30 August 2012

After a year in the planning, and with authority granted from HQ Land & Land Warfare Centre, 20 members of Sussex ACF finally touched down at Nairobi airport Kenya for 10 days with the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) last April.

The aim of this exercise was to provide post 3 Star training with the Regular Army, in a challenging environment. The exercise was hosted by the CIS troop OC, Captain Jim Boyden Royal Signals (an ex Sussex ACF cadet) and British Army Training Unit Kenya, with support from other Regular units stationed in
Kenya.

Arrival

After an 8-hour flight from Heathrow, we finally arrived in Nairobi Kenya and negotiated customs. We were then transported by coach to Kahawa barracks on the outskirts of Nairobi and issued with our Mosquito nets.  Finally got to bed at about 24.00hrs.

Day 1

We moved 120 miles via coach from Kahawa Barracks Nairobi to Nanyuki Show Ground in the Rift Valley Kenya.  We were taken through the training package for incoming troops, which indentified various hazards (driving in Kenya, snakes etc) and local customs that we were to be aware of.

Day 2

We travelled by minibus to the local training area and had an introduction to Military Engineering, which included:

  • clearing a mock minefield using the Vallon mine detector;
  • a command task using the bucket of a Combat tractor to move water over a short course without spilling any; and
  • different types of charges, which the Royal Engineers set off, while we watched for a safe distance.

At lunch time we had a vehicle safari on the training area whilst eating our packed lunches.

Day 3

Was spent weapon familiarisation using the SA80A2, GPMG, HMG, GMG & combat shotgun under the expert guidance of the QSMI SASC.

Day 4-5

Departed for the foothills of Mount Kenya for a 48-hour Community Wildlife Project with the Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS).  Included within the package were survival training, jungle patrolling, animal tracking & traps and a lecture on the role of the KWS.

Day 6

Range package under QSMI SASC including SA80A2 with Acog & Maxi Kite sights & GPMG.

Later in the afternoon we visited a local children’s orphanage, which housed children from 8 weeks old to 15 years old. We donated wheat, flour, rice, sugar, shoes and some sweets.

The cadets were shocked at the poverty and the simple life that these children lead and were all silent in the minibuses on the way back to camp.

Day 7-9

Departed for a 3-day field training exercise based in Forward Operating Base (FOB) Swara on a local training area.  The FOB was attacked daily and the cadets carried out recce and fighting patrols, culminating in a final assault on the enemy position.

Day 10

Handed back all issued kit and travel back via coach 120 miles to Nairobi International Airport.

Conclusion

This has been one of the most challenging and ambitious overseas training exercises run by Sussex ACF. It proved to be a lifechanging experience for many of the cadets, especially after the visit to the orphanage. The cadets also now understand the pressures on wildlife stocks (especially elephants & rhinos) from poachers.

Many thanks to ACFA, SERFCA, Sussex ACF Trust Fund & Sussex ACFA.  Without their generous support the expedition would not have been possible.