Tipperary Defence Forces troops set for “toughest military exercise worldwide”

Defence Forces troops based in Kilkenny march towards Cambrian Patrol at Brecon Beacons in Wales

Three Tipperary members of the Defence Forces are preparing for the “toughest military exercise worldwide”.

Tipperary’s Pte Mark Sweeney, Capt Kevin Lanigan (team liaison officer) and Cpl Ciaran Shelley will join Defence Forces personnel from Waterford, Kilkenny, Wexford and Limerick at the Cambrian Patrol in the Brecon Beacons, Wales, from October 18-20.

Eight troops, all based at Stephen's Barracks in Kilkenny, will compete at the annual international military patrolling exercise that makes its participating teams cover a 70 km course in less than 48 hours on foot while performing numerous types of military scenarios placed throughout the rugged Cambrian Mountains and swamp lands of mid-Wales. Each team member will carry their own backpack weighing in excess of 80 lbs.

“The Cambrian Patrol was first set up in August 1960 by Welshman Maj Gen Lewis Pugh DSO, featuring long-distance marching over the Cambrian Mountains from Tonfanau on the west coast of Wales to British Special Forces Units,” a Defence Forces spokesperson said.  

“Since then, the exercise has been rigorously updated to meet the challenges faced by modern soldiers. Some of the scenarios the teams will face include a 100 metre river crossing, casualty and medical evacuation, navigation, calling in accurate artillery fire, and operating in a chemical contaminated environment."

The 2018 exercise will attract teams from over 30 countries including Australia, India and Pakistan who will compete for gold, silver and bronze medals respectively. 

Team photo above:

Back l-r: Sgt Tony O'Malley (Limerick, team coach), Lt Shane Flood (Waterford), Pte Dan Kennedy (Wexford), Pte Josh Morrisey (Kilkenny), Pte Mark Sweeney (Tipperary), Capt Kevin Lanigan (Tipperary, team liaison officer). 

Front: Cpl Sean Fleming (Waterford), Cpl Ciaran Shelley (Tipperary), Pte Paddy Heffernan (Kilkenny), Cpl Blaine Donovan (Kilkenny).

The Irish Wolfhound is Cpl Fionn, the unit mascot.

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