Dragon Aphrodite’s Eagle 2019

Derbyshire ACF is a leading youth training organisation in the East Midlands and is held responsible for, delivering a programme of challenging military, adventurous and leadership training to young men and women aged from 12 to 18. Over the period 23 Oct – 03 Nov 19, the county provided the opportunity for 17 adult volunteers, 47 cadets and 3 Cadet Training Team staff to visit Cyprus. Regardless of the ability to meet the financial contribution for exercise, the generosity of external sponsorship and self-help fund raising enabled a large exercise attendance.

The exercise measurable outcomes were as follows,

(1).  To exercise provided participants with an opportunity to engage fully in unit lead AT under the endorsement of ATG (A) JSATFA. The emphasis on outdoor pursuits, provided plenty of opportunity for adventure and excitement; staff and cadets relished this unique opportunity to test their abilities while facing new and invigorating environments that provided exposure and learning opportunities.

(2). The exercise provided staff and cadets with an opportunity to develop self-reliance, leadership, teamwork and discipline.

(3). The exercise afforded time for building self-assurance and encouraging personal growth through means of AT and wider engagement with the military.

(4). The exercise provided for staff and cadets to have real time engagement with our parent Regiment the 2nd Battalion Mercian Regiment (operational facing infantry battalion) , this opportunity was the County’s first-time of engagement since the regiment’s amalgamation in 2006.

(5).  Due to reasons out of the County control Tri-dives did not take place. However, a well organised set of Other Challenging pursuits was afforded to staff and cadets. These  activities included pony trekking, full use of Episkopi Water Sports Centre at Tunnel Beach and go-karting at RAF Akrotiri.

Deploying to Cyprus was undertaken in two phases of advance party and main body travel to Manchester and a direct flight to Larnaca International Airport with both parties arrived at Episkopi Garrison Station. The advance party that arrived on Weds 23 Oct 19 was responsible for attending HQ BFC for the mandatory visiting unit arrival briefings that included HQ BFC Policy, security, health and wellbeing and training (the need for acclimatisation)   The main body arrival of Fri 25 Oct 19 and was met upon reporting by an arrival reception within Salamanca Barracks.

The next morning following directive and guidance issued by HQ BFC for the need for acclimatisation saw adults and cadets start in steady state training. Exercising Duty of Care the exercise Aphrodite’s Eagle Training Officer delivered to all adult staff and cadets the mandatory briefings as had been issued to the advance party by HQBFC.

The lead AT Instructors provided by 7th Infantry Brigade & HQ East Cadet Training Team had scoped an AT plan during the recce and a previous exercise visit to Cyprus in Mar 19. Their subject matter experience would prove to be invaluable during the safe AT training delivery during this large exercise visit with Derbyshire ACF.

The AT instructors took full Duty of Care responsibility for their activities. All staff and cadets completed steady state training starting with classroom learning. All staff and cadets were afforded the opportunity to progress in each AT discipline. The steady state skills that had been taught had confirmed ability and enabled all staff and cadets to progress within the challenging environments of the lower Western Sovereign Base Area (WSBA), followed by a week of a selection of challenging routes and trails in the Troodos Mountains.

On Sun 27TH Oct 19 the exercise saw cadets taking part in the first of 2 days Military training engagement with 2 Mercian.  The cadets spent the day (1) of (2) shooting on the range using the in service British A2 Rifle, DCCT, trying out the support weapons or meeting the Military Working dogs. Day (2)  Tue 29 Oct 19 saw cadets conduct a full days dry training with 2 Mercian in Paramalli Village using weapons, blank ammunition and pyrotechnics something they hugely enjoyed doing.

Diary of the Trekking in Troodos Mountains: – This activity provided an opportunity for challenge and sense of achievement through the demonstration of leadership. The lead instructor WO2 N Fraser of the Cadet Training Team selected the following steady state programme for all abilities as follows.

Route 1 : – CALEDONIA TRAIL TROODOS Mountain Range 3 Km – Linear, Walking time 2 Hours, Difficulty Moderate, difficult

General Description : – Upward and downward gradients by a ravine.  Starting Point 500m  from Troodos Square or at Psilo Dentro (Pano Platres) GPS Coordinates (UTM – WGS84) 488174N/3863601E 487948N / 38728E

Most suitable period March – November

Cautionary notes ; – river crossings, high risk of slipping

Route 2: – PERSEPHONE TRAIL TROODOS Mountain Range 5 km – Circular, Walking time 3 Hours, Difficult, Easy

General Description : – Nearly smooth path, gentle gradients.  Starting Point: – Near Troodos Square GPS Coordinates (UTM-WGS84) 489150N/3864232E

Most suitable period March – November

Cautionary notes: – none

Route 3: – ARTEMIS TRAIL TROODOS Mountain Range 7 Km – Circular, Walking time 3 Hours, Difficulty  Easy State, General Description : – Smooth path : – Starting Point 300m up the road to Chionistra : GPS Coordinates (UTM-WGS84)

Most suitable period March – November

Cautionary notes: – Slippery surfaces

Route 4: – ATLANTI TRAIL TROODOS Mountain Range 14 Km – Circular, Walking time 5 Hours, Difficulty Moderate State, General Description : – Panoramic view, uphill-downhill : – Starting Point Troodos Square. GPS Coordinates (UTM-WGS84) 489112N/3864633E

Most suitable period: March – November

Cautionary notes: – Slippery surfaces

Mountain Biking : – This activity required leadership, discipline and the ability. The reward and outcome were an outstanding achievement.

Mountain Biking Aims had a set of stand-alone aims and goals that would challenge those that put themselves forward for a true test of endurance. Sgt Freeman was responsible for selecting the adults and staff that had demonstrated the ability to take on the ultimate challenge to complete summit to sea route of 56 km from Troodos Square to Tunnel Beach. To achieve selection for the summit to sea team, Sgt Freeman delivered steady state Mountain Biking during Days 1, 2, 3 & 4 – This consisted of mountain biking skills training session in camp. followed by routes in the lower WSBA. Leadership combined with building endurance was a requirement in the training phase as this would be crucial for those cadets taking on the final challenge combined with their riding ability. All routes were subject to recce by lead instructor Sgt Freeman. Confirmation and suitability of  the selected routes was confirmed during the advance party period 24 – 26 Oct 19 by Sgt Freeman. The steady state training made our exercise compliant with HQ BFC SOP! the need and requirement for any unit acclimatisation period. Cadet Force adult instructors were also afforded to build competency in their newly gained MTB Level 2 qualification.

Use of the Garrison Water Sports  Centre : – During County selection process in the UK all adults and cadets had conduct their pre-requisite exercise Military Swim Test. Full use of the pool in Episkopi Garrison was taken advantage of by everyone as part of a well organised recreational programme.  During Weds 31 Oct it was time to experience the Garrison Water Sports Centre located on Tunnel Beach, the knee boarding, wake boarding, and swimming certainly didn’t disappoint.

Other Challenging Pursuits: – Out of the control of the county the aspiration for 47 cadets to experience Tri-dives were cancelled. This was enforced due to recent diving policy directive and guidance. As a result, the decision was taken to conduct some other activities these included MOD Indemnified activities these included pony trekking and Go-karting at RAF Akrotiri.

Welfare: – Some free time was also allocated for staff and cadets to visit some educational and cultural historic sights, these sights included Kourion Theatre, Paphos, and Nicosia.

Returning on Sunday 03 Nov 19 with an overnight flight from Larnaca all arrived back in to Manchester in the early hours of Monday morning. The exercise visit was a huge success as it delivered the safe cadet experience. Our thanks to the Ulysses Trust, East Midlands RFCA, 7X-CTT, sponsors and all parents for their generous support that enabled this cadet venture to take place. The benefit from the experience will be truly measurable for those that had the opportunity and experience of this overseas visit to Cyprus.

“Going to Cyprus was a once in a life time opportunity, it has shown me more of the military life style – thank you so much again for letting me attend!”
Cadet Lance Corporal Angel Plummer, Phoenix Street Detachment

“Going to Cyprus has been one of the best things I have done in my time in the Cadets and has been a major factor in expanding my excitement and passion for my future career in the Armed Forces – thank you so much for the opportunity.”
Cadet Sergeant Natalia Liberkowska – Etwall Detachment

P A Hayes MBE
WO2
For Commandant

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With thanks to:

Ulysses Trust

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