Battle of the Fittest for Airborne Medics

As physical fitness is vital to the men and women of the unit which provides medical support to 16 Air Assault Brigade, the Airborne medics from 16 Med Regt have battled each other to find out who is the fittest.

The contest saw the regiment’s soldiers put through their paces with a 150m swim and a six mile run in full battle rig, which included a circuit of Merville Barracks’ assault course, rolling tyres and carrying full jerry cans.

First across the finishing line in a time of 39 minutes 59 seconds was Sgt Robert Williams, a REME vehicle mechanic.  He said: “The contest was tough but great fun. Fitness is very important to me and I put a lot of effort into my training. I hope I’ve set an example to the guys I’m responsible for of the fitness standard that this regiment expects.”

Pte Carin Cook, a combat medical technician, was the first female soldier to finish in 49 minutes 2 seconds.  She said: “There was a lot of competition and I’m very proud to come out of this event as the fittest woman in the unit. I try to train twice a day, but swimming is not my strong point and I was worried about that element.  Fitness is crucially important to do the job we do and if you’re not fit enough when you arrive at this regiment you have to work at it quickly.”

Sgt Ronnie Cordner, who is in charge of fitness for 16 Med Regt, said: “I was hugely impressed by the effort and competitive spirit on display in this contest. As airborne troops, physical fitness is one of our top priorities. On operations we’re expected to be fully self reliant and able to parachute in and march off the drop zone, carrying all the equipment needed to both serve our role as medics and survive.”

Col Jackson, Dep Cdr of 16 Air Assault Brigade, took part in the competition and presented prizes to the best male and female soldiers.  He said: “This event was an excellent demonstration of the fitness, determination and motivation required by our soldiers, with everyone doing their personal best to ensure the success of the wider team.”

16 Med Regt provides the Airborne Surgical Group (ABSG) to 16 Air Assault Brigade, which maintains a force ready to deploy anywhere in the world at short notice to do anything from disaster relief to war fighting. The ABSG provides A&E, X-Ray, surgical tables, and intensive treatment facilities and is manned by anaesthetists, surgeons and other specialist medics, many of whom are parachute-qualified. It can also deploy with a primary healthcare node, which includes a GP and dentist.

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