2620 Squadron Take Part in Altcar Challenge
All of 2620 Squadron’s Reservist Gunners will be very familiar with the Friday ritual of packing kit for a training weekend on the Stanford Battle Area at Thetford. For a handful of hastily assembled Gunners a Friday in May broke with that routine and instead saw a mountain of kit deposited in the back of a van and a six hour drive to Altcar Camp on the coast just North of Liverpool.
This was the first time that 2620 Squadron had entered a team in the Altcar Challenge competition and so apart from the knowledge that they would be competing in a military skills event against fellow reservists from a tri-service and international field of 42 teams, it really was a journey into the unknown.
Taking advantage of the near perfect weather, 2620 Squadron’s team captain, Cpl Brenden Plane, led his Gunners through 19 separate challenges, each lasting just 14 minutes. Alongside the more traditional first aid scenario, fire-team attack and obstacle course run, the weekend also included events designed to stretch even the best prepared teams. The aggression and adrenaline high of combat tasks were required in equal measure to the soft skills employed in safeguarding host nation human rights scenarios. Other tasks that included the stripping and re-assembly of a variety of pistols and rifles required skill, concentration and dexterity, while being able to run with a weighted stretcher across the sand dunes required brute strength and determination; the requirement to winch a Landrover up a hill was simply just good fun!
Marksmanship was a key part of Altcar Challenge and apart from the pistol shoot and the rifle march and shoot events of Saturday, the Sunday concluded with a knockout rifle shoot with teams completing a 100m run before attempting to drop ten targets at a range of 200m. Having struggled with the fire-team attack and rifle shoot, the 2620 Squadron team had been thinking about picking up their kit for the journey home when instead they were called forward to pick up the runners up trophy! Narrowly beaten by RAF Brize Norton’s 501 Squadron, it had been a great weekend for the RAF Reserves who took four of the top five places in the competition. Cpl Plane from Norwich said; ‘we all really enjoyed the weekend and it was really great to catch up with some old friends from other units as well as competing against reservists from France, Poland, Holland, Germany and the Czech Republic. Apart from the ability to make some quick decisions, it definitely helped that we had a good level of fitness, operational experience, marksmanship skills and plenty of luck! We’re all looking forward to coming back next year and the chance to bag the winner’s trophy!’
To find out more about a career in the RAF Reserves, call 2620 Squadron on 0800 783 1915 or search for 2620 online.