Weekend ‘war’ in the Midlands

2009-12-14 00:00

IT was war in the Midlands at the weekend.

Well, war games.

The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) held a training exercise for 180 reservists on Saturday. The exercise, which was held at the Howick Air Field and Midmar Dam, was staged by the Natal Carbineers, Umvoti Mounted Rifles, 19 Field Engineer Regiment, Durban Light Infantry, 84 Signal Unit, 3 Parachute Battalion, Delta Company of 3 Parabat Unit and the 15 Maintanance Unit.

Natal Carbineers commander Lieutenant-Colonel Ken Lowe said the purpose of the exercise was to practise basic drills without live firing.

“We just need to get all the manoeuvres right. It’s the first time that we have such a huge group taking part in this yearly exercise.

“This time we have decided to involve more groups. The ultimate goal is to create interest and encourage the youth to join the army,” Lowe said.

The 84 Signal Unit specialises in army communications while the 19 Field Engineers deal with bridge building, water supply and water crossing.

An Oryx chopper was brought in from 15 Squadron in Durban for the exercise.

It was part of the exercise to remind the troops what is expected of them when a chopper lands on foreign or domestic territory — to scan the landing area for a possible ambush.

When all is clear, the chopper lands and when departing, the same routine is followed.

At Midmar the troops were taken on to the dam in rubber dinghies to familiarise them with the conditions, although no diving was performed.

The Umvoti Mounted Rifles meanwhile were covering the terrain in their Rooikat vehicles.

For those interested in joining the army, the minimum requirement is a grade 12 certificate and one must be 18 to 22 years old. Those with N3/N6 qualifications in electrical engineering can be considered if they are 18 to 26 years old. Physical fitness is also considered and those with maths and science within the required age group stand a good chance. Former members of the then South African Defence Force are encouraged to join as reservists.

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