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Apr 17 2022

Private LUCAS L.: We are always ready to deploy if needed

Private Lukas of the British Army, Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle driver, enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup Estonia*

This is me

I am Private Lucas, and I am 20 years old. I am a soldier in an infantry company within the enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup in Estonia. My job is to drive the Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle. Although I am in an Armoured Infantry role, I can also operate in a light role (dismounted). We form part of the Vanguard Defence Force, alongside our Estonian and French allies.

I started basic training in September 2019 and completed it in March 2020. Following arrival at 1st Battalion, the Mercian Regiment, we were tasked to move to Germany at short notice where we conducted a number of range packages and other pre-deployment training in preparation for Operation CABRIT (the UK name for the enhanced Forward Presence). Operation CABRIT has been my first operational tour. I am really pleased to deploy within a year of completing training, and I have already operated within three different countries.

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"I am proud that I have almost completed a full operational tour during the early stages of my career." 

This is my task on deployment

My task here in Estonia is to drive the Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle, as part of a crew of four people. It is a tight knit team, composed of a driver, gunner, vehicle commander and the Platoon Commander.

It is interesting to work out of the Platoon Commander's vehicle as it gives a different perspective on the battlefield and gives me wider situational awareness as to what is happening. As the driver, I can observe the other Warriors moving forwards with their fire teams under the direction of the Platoon Commander. As the Platoon Commander's vehicle, we are often required to move around the battlefield more, in order to give the boss face-to-face time with the other section and fire team commanders.

One of the advantages of being a driver is that we don't need to do the role of sentry overnight and therefore, get more sleep. However, we are required to conduct vehicle maintenance when the vehicle is static and work hard when the Battlegroup is maneuvering.

Day to day, we do physical training every day, vehicle maintenance or wider military training depending on the task we have been asked to do. We are always ready to deploy if needed.

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"I'd like to do a Junior Non-Commissioned Officer cadre to work towards promotion and become qualified on the Bulldog armoured vehicle."

This is what makes my job special

This is my first time being away from home for a long period of time. What motivates me? I like being able to hang out with my friends within the Company, I like the lifestyle and the opportunity to get away and experience a different country and culture. I have really enjoyed visiting more of Estonia with my friends whilst on breaks from work. I am proud that I have almost completed a full operational tour during the early stages of my career.

I have also enjoyed working in a multinational setting, training closely alongside the French and the Estonians. Exercise Spring Storm was a particular highlight, with the challenging terrain in Estonia testing my driver skills, and it was a new environment for me to operate in.

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"It is interesting to work out of the Platoon Commander's vehicle as it gives a different perspective on the battlefield."

These are my plans

I am now towards the end of my operational deployment in Estonia. I am really looking forward to going home and seeing my family and friends. Whilst I am on post operational tour leave, I want to finish building my home gym and go on holiday to Turkey for some sun, if COVID restrictions allow. Longer term, I would like to do a Junior Non-Commissioned Officer cadre to work towards promotion and become qualified on the Bulldog armoured vehicle to increase my breadth of knowledge as a driver. I am also looking forward to stepping up my fitness training once my home gym is complete.

* This article was written during Pte Lucas's deployment to Estonia (March-September 2021). 1st Battalion the Mercian Regiment spent six months on Operation CABRIT, the UK operational engagement to the Baltic state, where British soldiers are leading a multinational Battlegroup as part of NATO's enhanced Forward Presence.

Story by Multinational Corps Northeast Public Affairs Office

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