Reservists deployed to RAF Akrotiri to integrate into military life as part of ‘Exercise Broaden Horizon’


The five-week exercise, took place from 15 September to the 18 October, saw 25 reservists who vary in rank and length of service, deploy from a week to a month. 611 personnel, specialising in a range of professions had the opportunity to work alongside their Regular counterparts supporting RAF operations in the region. The exercise gave them the opportunity to enhance their skills and experience by working as a team, within and outside of their profession integrating with regulars and other reservists.

611 Reservist

Exercise Broaden Horizon is a wider programme with 611 personnel being a part of 100 personnel from 11 Royal Auxiliary Air Force squadrons across the UK, who delivered support over the five weeks. The opportunity to work in this fast-paced, operationally focused, environment has given them unparalleled experience and opportunities to understanding the increased pressures of being deployed to deliver the RAF’s operations.

Specialists in a range of roles varying from chefs, personnel support/HR, fitness instructors, air operations, engineers, media operations and transportation made up the contingent who experienced life on the island whilst further mastering their professions.

From the mountains of Troodos, the airfield on-base and the units around the station, the reservists got stuck in with all aspects of their professions. The Intelligence Analysts delivered weekly briefings to the RAF Akrotiri Station Commander direct from the Int cell whilst the Physical Training Instructors delivered circuit training classes and fitness tests in the station gym.Meanwhile, the drivers were refueling, the engineers maintaining ground equipment and the logistics team were loading and unloading the multitude of aircraft that depart from RAF Akrotiri daily. Warrant Officer Mathison, from 611 Squadron lead the exercise and said:

“Preparing for this exercise takes a lot of planning but it’s worth it when I see all the reservists getting a wealth of experience and fulfilment out here. They throw themselves into the experience, learn as much as they can, deliver excellence and leave a brilliant impression on the work that reservists do to deliver output for the Royal Air Force. Working at RAF Akrotiri not only gives them a change of scene and working environment to their UK learning but gives them the experience of a deployment.”

Chef reservists on the exercise

AS1 Anthony Morris, a chef who deployed to the island for a month, echoes the comments of the Warrant Officer saying; “I’ve had an absolutely fantastic time! I’ve cooked for everything from 20 to 200 people, made 1,500 canapes for a VIP event and worked alongside regulars and other reservists. I was given the opportunity to also work on a couple of different sites around the island which brought different experiences and opportunity.”

More details about joining 611 Squadron can be found here.

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