AAC JNCOs Put Through Their Paces
5 Regiment AAC hosted an Aviation PNCO CLM course 16th to 27th March this year. The course qualifies Lance Corporals to hold their rank. The course is designed to teach potential junior non-commission officers the skills with which to perform in their new found rank.
Airtroopers and Lance Corporals from across the Army Air Corp travelled to Northern Ireland to participate in the course, for some the first experience of the Emerald Isle – and were fortunate enough to experience the pleasant weather conditions during their stay.
21 potential JNCO’s arrived at FS Aldergrove on the night of the 16th March completing the mandatory briefings and admin before getting their heads down in anticipation of day 1. The course started in traditional fashion with a PFA followed by a set of briefs. Subjects included administrating, welfare and discipline; all critical skills that a JNCO must swiftly come to terms with. Group discussions were a valuable tool in almost all subjects allowing the prospective JNCO’s a forum to voice opinion. Each evening a section delivered their presentations on Corps history, a high standard of presentation was delivered and most were presented with considerable pride in their parent squadrons or regiments.
The classroom based start to the course had a number of green events throughout the programme, with an AFT and section battle lessons hinting at things to come. The course deployed early Friday morning to Magilligan Training Area located on the north coast. A rapid deployment saw the course shake out, apply cam and begin their battle lessons.
Operating out of a harbour location for the first two nights the students got to grips with practical navigation with a day and night navigation exercise. While the relatively flat training area seemed like an easy area to navigate around the course quickly found many ditches, sparse wood blocks and field boundaries to compete with! Battle lessons were conducted with a clear aviation theme; clearing a HLS, providing protection and controlling aircraft into land. A complex set of casualty drills saw the course demonstrate their skills.
Sunday night brought the now clearly fatigued course into a patrol base location, a much needed morale boost after late night harbour contacts. The patrol base itself is equipped with night and day cameras, fully functioning guard room and… showers – an ideal location to train an Army Air Corps soldier deploying on operations. Moving into a three section rotation of Quick Reaction Force, Patrols and Guard Force the course quickly stepped into their command appointments dealing with a variety of scenarios.
A rolling scenario had the troop working with the local security force to secure the area of operations. Each scenario brought the course closer to their end state of defeating the tenacious local warlord, even if the enemy seemed to be a 24 hour hassle. The scenario gradually progressed through simple meet and greets with local police through to ambushes, mass casualty drills and reconnaissance patrols on potential enemy positions through to a dawn attack on the final enemy position.
The course culminated in an insertion TAB into an FRV with Gazelle aircraft providing an added command and control twist – flying low passes to simulate aviation support, those in command appointment having to fight to get their orders across. Clearing the enemy from the surrounding fields they held a final stand in an isolated building – swiftly cleared using skills they had learnt on the course a testament to their progression.
After a hard fought exercise End Ex was called and bacon rolls were served and a presentation for the Student’s Student and Best Student were awarded. LCpl Clarke received the Student’s Student award for his efforts. LCpl Hodson receivied the well earned Best Student Award for his professional and determined approach.