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Oct 27, 2015

BATSUB Heads to Gales Point for Jungle Warfare Training

The Belize Defense Force and the British Army Support Unit teamed up today for a joint training exercise to sharpen the skills of the two armies. Belize offers the right terrain for this sort of warfare exercise and the soldiers met the challenge in Gales Point (Manatee).  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

A river crossing by a section of eight British soldiers, deep inside the forest near Gales Point is an exercise in thoroughness.  Each man falls into a tight formation, carefully scanning the environment before proceeding to another phase of the activity.  The British Army Training Support Unit Belize, BATSUB, has chosen this rugged terrain in the Belize District to instruct recruits on jungle warfare and survival.


Richard Amis

Col. Sgt. Richard Amis, Jungle Warfare Instructor, British Army

“The whole reason behind the maneuver is so that the guys can cross an obstacle which we class as a vulnerable point which is most dangerous to people because obviously they are susceptible to receiving casualties if they don’t do it quickly and efficiently if they were to be engaged by the enemy.  So what we’re trying to do is teach them a method that gets them across from [point] A to B without obviously incurring any casualties.”


To achieve this goal successfully the soldiers have to work in concert with each other, maintaining a degree of vigilance that is crucial in protecting themselves in the dense wilderness.


Thomas Iche

Cpl. Thomas Iche, Jungle Warfare Instructor, B.D.F.

“Right here we are assisting them with basic tactics in the jungle because it is not new to them but where they operate is far, well when they talk to us it’s kind of different.  So when they come in Belize the jungle is actually kind of a different theater to them, it’s thick and it’s harder to maneuver when they find it but it’s just that we show them how it actually works because this is where we operate every day.”


That rigorous exercise is the actual application of what is been taught in a classroom setting back at Price Barracks.  Before setting out to Gales Point, the men must first complete a series of courses that are mission-oriented.


Mark Bagguley

Capt. Mark Bagguley, O.C., School of Infantry, British Army

“I have been deployed out here to assist my counterparts in the BDF on a suite of courses.  We are currently training circa thirty-five men, thirty-eight in total, in reality as fire team commanders over a four-week course, majoring on administration, leadership and management.  That is one of the courses that we are conducting.  The secondary course that we are doing is a bespoke skill at arms course which again is circa four weeks.  That is rank ranged from Lance Corporal through to Staff Sergeant.  In that course the Operational Performance Statement or how the Belize Defense Force has requested their forces are trained is in range management and close-quarters marksmanship.”


On the parade square at Price Barracks, officers from the Belize Defense Force are running a series of marching drills.  Their instructors are BATSUB personnel.  The exercise is important as its origin is in the theater of war.


James Thurstan

Lt. Col. James Thurstan, O.C., 1st Battalion Coldstream, British Army

“Drill has its history on the battlefield.  In battles sort of like two, three hundred years ago, all those movements that you see there were actually movements of how infantrymen fought two, three hundred years ago when the tactics have their history in those drill movements because it was how you moved squares of men around the battlefield in a coordinated manner.  You got those basic rights of teamwork, understanding, cohesion, attention to detail, all those things are discussed and then you’re at a good start point to be ready to deal with more complicated, modern day tactical training activities that Mark and his team are now working through with the B.D.F.”


The training exercise is a collaborative effort between the British Army and the B.D.F. and is scheduled to continue through to November. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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