SOME 15 Reserve Officers and 109 Reservist Other Ranks, including 96 Recruits, conducted simulated exercises in fire-fighting and rescue and recovery of personnel at the Guyana Defence Force’s Base Camp Seweyo, along the Soesdyke-Linden Highway, last Friday on the penultimate day of the GDF’s Annual Camp.
Chief of Staff (COS), Rear Admiral Gary Best witnessed the exercises and indicated that he was satisfied with the reservists’ demonstration of learning.
“I am very happy to be here today to witness these exercises and I must say that your demonstrations were very pleasing and satisfactory…Today I can say that we have turned the corner in regard to training for reservists,” he is quoted as saying according to a press release from GDF Headquarters.
Best further stated that reservist training has to take a new trajectory and be relevant to the needs of the Force and the wider society.
He reminded that there was a time when reservists manned anti-aircraft guns at some locations and others secured the airfield at Linden.
“The threats which Guyana faced then are not pervasive now and therefore we must take a long look at where we want the Reservists of the GDF to be positioned,” he remarked.
Best explained that the training is designed to enable officers to develop skills necessary to positively impact Disaster and Risk Management in Guyana.
In this regard, he said, it will be immediately fruitful since they are to return to their communities and/or workplaces and become involved in helping to minimise risks and provide relief in situations where disasters occur.
He added that the training will prepare the officers to function as auxiliaries for the Civil Defence Commission in the various regions.
The Chief of Staff expressed the hope that the reservists would keep coming back to the Annual Camp to hone their skills and broaden their learning experiences.
“I’d like to see you get more training, progress and be an asset to your communities,” he said.
Best also praised all the staff that organised and conducted the training and commended the personnel of the Guyana Fire Service, the Civil Defence Commission and Red Cross, for partnering with the Force to deliver valuable quality training to the troops. He also thanked the reservists for participating in the camp.
While congratulating the Second Infantry Battalion Reserve, he reminded the members of the GDF that their area of responsibility remained the “middle” of Guyana which included Linden, Mahdia and several interior mining communities.
He said that the Second Infantry Battalion Reserve is on a new training path and its Officers and Ranks will be trained in many more such drills.
“This is not to say that you will abandon training in tactics, weaponry and the like. But you need to understand that in this new trajectory, you ought to be better able to augment the First Infantry Battalion. Augmenting civil defence is therefore now this Battalion’s new tasking,” he stated.
Alluding to his imminent departure from the Office of Chief of Staff, Best again thanked the Second Infantry Battalion Reserve for its support and noted that he had always benefitted from the battalion’s support regardless of who held the reins of the Unit. He also wished the Unit and its members well for the future.
During the two-week camp intense training was conducted in First Aid, Foot and Arms Drills, Skill At Arms, Field Craft, Map Reading and Navigation, Disaster Risk Management, Shelter Management and Fire Auxiliary Orientation, among other areas. The camp officially closed on Saturday, August 24.