When going gets tough, tough get going

BEATING hundreds of soldiers from major armies of the world, Pakistan Army has won the coveted Gold Medal at the prestigious Cambrian Patrol Exercise held in Wales with participation from armies of India, Australia, Canada, United States and France among others. 750 soldiers from across the world descended on the Brecon Beacons in Wales to suffer through one of the toughest exercises ever devised. The Cambrian patrol tested the soldiering skills of the teams as they crossed some of the most arduous terrain one can imagine. According to ISPR, Rawalpindi Corps team represented Pakistan Army in Exercise Cambrian Patrol – 2010, held from 11-13 October 2010 and by the Grace of Allah, the team showed an excellent performance by winning a Gold Medal in the event, which is a big honour not only for Army but for the country as a whole. During the marches, the teams had to complete challenges including observation and reconnaissance of enemy forces, cold-river crossings in full kit without access to boats, first-aid and defensive shooting under attack. The exercise is organized by the British Army Brigade on behalf of HQ 5 Division with an aim to provide a challenging patrols exercise in order to develop operational capability. Cambrian Patrol is arduous and concentrates on leadership, teamwork, physical fitness and achieving the mission by drawing participants from foreign countries. Exercise Cambrian Patrol is an annual patrolling competition that takes place throughout the Cambrian Mountains of mid-Wales. An internationally recognized military exercise, previous participants have included numerous European states, in addition to Commonwealth countries and the United States.

Cambrian Patrol was first set up more than 40 years ago, by a group of Welsh Territorial Army soldiers who designed the training event to feature long distance marching over the Cambrian Mountains and which culminated in a shooting match on the Sennybridge training area. Since then, the exercise has been rigorously updated to meet the challenges faced by modern soldiers. The competition consists of teams of 8 men carrying up to 55 kilos each across some of the most unforgiving terrain. There have been accounts of teams trudging through bog land up to their waist for 4 hours only to cover 1.5 km. It’s a test of leadership, self discipline, courage and determination. The exercise usually starts with teams arriving at a Rendezvous before having their equipment checked to make sure they have everything required. Missing equipment will be replaced by dead weight and will mean points will be deducted. From there the team leader will be taken to orders while the rest of the team set up a quick hide, start their battle prep and prepare to receive orders i.e. prepare a model of the ground which will be covered during the patrol. Pakistan Army’s units have been battle-tested and run the gauntlet of combating terrorists in the most arduous terrain in the world. The treacherous topography of Pakistan’s Northern Areas and Kashmir provides training grounds under realistic conditions and test the mettle of its soldiers and officers. However, since 2005 the miscreants started to inhabit parts of the treacherous tribal belt and there was no option but to launch the Pakistan Army for operations in the region. Guerrilla warfare tactics adopted by the terror groups made the advance of the Army even more difficult. The hit and run tactics adopted by the miscreants added to the challenges of combating a fleeting enemy. However, the leadership of the Pakistan Army led by example and achieved success despite the gruelling territory. The high ratio of casualties between the officers and soldiers depicts the combat leadership qualities of the Army. Leading from the front, the Pakistan Army was baptized under fire and proved that it is indeed the best of the best. The Cambrian Patrol Exercise must have been a cakewalk for the battle-hardened Pakistani Army troopers, who not only displayed courage, audacity and braveness under the most strenuous circumstances but proved that “when the going gets tough, the tough get going!” – dailymailnews