26.10.2004 General News

Marines in Ghana

By .bbc
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Commandos from Plymouth have been training in the hot and humid jungles of West Africa. It was the Royal Marines' first chance to practice jungle warfare skills since their role during the Sierra Leone crisis five years ago. Plymouth-based Royal Marines have been taking part in specialist training in the tough conditions of the West African jungle.

Troops from 3 Commando Brigade have been carrying out reconnaissance training and providing humanitarian aid in the arduous and humid climate of Ghana.

The marines flew out to West Africa at the start of September 2004 for the five-week exercise codenamed Western Rhumba.

The main aim was to test the Brigade's specialist reconnaissance skills. It also enabled the British forces to train alongside their African counterparts.

Around 280 Royal Marines, Navy and Army Commandos took part in the deployment.

The marines taking part in the exercise were drawn from Bickleigh-based 42 Commando, Stonehouse based Brigade Patrol Troop and 539 Assault Squadron, based in Turnchapel.

Men from 45 Commando based in Taunton, 59 Commando Royal Engineers and 148 Battery of 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery also joined them.

They were supported by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels RFA Fort Rosalie and Sir Bedivere, plus helicopters from 846 Naval Air Squadron.

Ghana was specifically chosen because of the training opportunities offered by the tropical jungle environment.

Ghana has had strong links with the UK since it achieved its independence.

The five week training allowed the marines to practice the tactics, techniques and procedures required to operate in a tropical climate.

The engineers from 59 Commando also spent time rebuilding a school and repairing bridges.

The troops returned to the UK in early October.

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