CALLING ALL SAPPERS – Spr Alifereki Tabacala 135 Geo Sqn – 42 Engineer Regt.

combine_imagesLast week my home country Fiji was hit by the worst hurricane in the southern hemisphere. As it was shown on BBC news and on social media the damage hurricane Winston has done. Most of the people worst hit by this hurricane lost everything and life is at its worst stage.
The reason for my post is to ask for assistance to help my family and friends back home in Fiji who are suffering and desperate for help at this very moment.

Things that can be useful to them as donations are as follows:
1. Clothing

2. Stationary

3. Footwear

4. Bedding

I’m working with the Fijian boys from the 19th Artillery regiment in Tidworth as they are leading this drive.

I will be setting up a location for all donations at 135 Geo Sqn, Ewell – Army Reserve Centre.

Please contact Spr Tabacala on 020 8393 0981 to arrange any donation drop offs.
Any support to this cause is highly appreciated as my people are in desperate need at this stage.

‪#‎Fiji‬ ‪#‎Sapper‬ ‪#‎RoyalEngineers‬


The Worshipful Company of Chartered Surveyors – Endeavour Award 2015 – Cpl O’Neill

Cpl O’Neill first joined the Army in March 1998 becoming a driver in 151 Transport Regiment RLC. She subsequently joined 160 Transport Regiment RLC in 2008 where she also specialised as a Radio Operator. During her service in the RLC, Cpl O’Neill served operationally Kosovo (twice), the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan. During her first deployment to Kosovo she was awarded the Queens’ Commendation for Valuable Service. Cpl O’Neill joined 135 Geographic Squadron in September 2013 and has since played an integral part in the Squadron.

Joining 135 Geographic Squadron necessitated a change of trade and over the last two years Cpl O’Neill has completed a number of mandatory Royal Engineer Courses. This has included both the RE Combat Engineer Foundation Course and the RE Geo Tech (Reserve) 0-2 course. In addition, she has actively pursued her wider military skills and experience, recently completing the Defence Landing Point Commanders Course in preparation of potential helicopter operations during the current Operation TRIG MED deployment to Cyprus.

Over the last year Cpl O’Neill has been heavily involved in the development of the survey capability with the Squadron. This has involved the maintenance of equipment, development of surveying processes, the reconnaissance of tasks and leading on much of the training. Of particular note was Cpl O’Neill’s lead on the entire the survey training on this year’s Squadron FTX. In addition, she has been fundamental to the preparation and training for Op TRIG MED, the survey of the Sovereign Base Area border markers, before deploying for the full four weeks.


For much of this year Cpl O’Neill has also been studying for a degree in Civil Engineering Surveying and Mapping. Whilst she has been extremely busy in applying herself to the final year of her degree, this has not stopped her continuing to be fully involved in the Squadron. In addition, she has always had a view on the bigger picture which was illustrated in her arranging for the OC to speak to the Institution Civil Engineering Surveyors, South East Region, in March 2015. Cpl O’Neill’s dedication to her studies paid dividends and she was awarded a much deserved First Class Honours Degree earlier this summer.

Cpl O’Neill has exemplified the finest traits of the Squadron. She has worked tirelessly behind the scenes on countless Squadron events and has taken full responsibility for managing and leading a plethora of tasks; all of this at the same time as completing her degree and maintaining an excellent sense of humour.

For her constant dedication and commitment to the Squadron, Cpl O’Neill has been awarded the 2015 Endeavour Award.

World Orienteering Championships

The are taking place in Inverness Scotland in conjunction with the Scottish 6 Day Orienteering festival. WO1 Hunt from the Squadron is running with the Royal Engineers Orienteering team at their training camp (Ex Scottish Compass 15) held in order to develop RE Orienteers of all standards.
At its most demanding, orienteering provides the challenge of navigating over complex and rough terrain whilst running at speed; combining navigational skill and aerobic fitness. To be competitive at this level, an orienteer must train regularly, not only to build up physical speed and stamina, but also to improve their ‘mental’ skill. The skills required of a good soldier are very similar to that of an orienteer: the use of a compass, the ability to estimate distance and interpret the ground, whilst continually making multiple decisions. During an orienteering event a soldier must be confident in their ability, maintain concentration, make decisions under pressure, and sustain a single-minded determination to overcome any setbacks and mistakes. Soldiers taking part in orienteering benefit from improved cardiovascular fitness and stamina, increased self-confidence and self-awareness, an improved ability to make rapid decisions whilst under physical duress, superior map reading skills and learn to ‘read’ the terrain and ‘feel’ their movement through it.
Orienteering can be used to develop many of the qualities that are essential in a good soldier.

Battlefield Study 2015 – Ypres

Recently Officers and Soldiers from 135 Geographic Squadron conducted a battlefield study around Ypres in Belgium.  The tour allowed the them to reflect on the sacrifices made by those Officers and men who served during the Great War. The tour also educated them on the use of tunneling  by Engineers from throughout the Commonwealth and the role of Surveyors during the war.

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Surrey Police Cohesion Day

On Mon 11 May 15, 135 Geographic Squadron hosted the Epsom and Ewell Safer Neighbourhood Team of the Surrey Police.  The aim of the day was to better integrate the team by a series of modules in the morning run by the Police team, followed in the afternoon by team building exercises conducted by personnel from 135 Geo Sqn.  The team building exercises were conducted with the Police attendees broken down into 3 syndicates who then attempted a series of tasks.  Tasks included were a brain teaser, which involved blind folded members of the team being directed across a gridded square completing other tasks on the way, the quickest team with no penalties wins.  A command style team task, consisting of emergency medical supplies for Ebola victims that had to be transported across two gaps, which the plank did not fit, with no member of the team or equipment touching the shark infested custard, quickest team wins.  A vehicle assault course consisting of a Landrover loaded with two bowls of water being driven over various obstacles, the quickest team with the most water left wins.  The afternoon proved to be full of thrills and spills and was thoroughly enjoyed by all.  All teams completed all the tasks, the unanimous winners who showed the requisite magnanimity were Team Town.  The Squadron is already looking forward to further opportunities of putting Surrey Police through their paces.


Army Reservist Trains With NATO Counterparts

A Reserve Officer from 135 Geographic Squadron, Royal Engineers, currently with University of London Officer Training Corps, met with her counterparts from other NATO countries in the Czech Republic in April to discuss cross cultural communication.

2Lt Victoria Earl, from London, was one of 14 Officers from across the Army, Navy and Air Force sponsored by the UK Reserve Forces Association to attend the CIOR Conference in Prague. The three day event aimed to train reservists about the importance of cultural understanding and negotiation in military operations.
“Reservists have an important part to play in our modern armed forces, more and more so with FR2020. The opportunity to train alongside our NATO counterparts has been exceptionally worthwhile,” explains Victoria.
“There were representatives from nine countries including America and South Africa. It was great to have the chance to work alongside them.”
The event included workshops on cultural considerations, working with interpreters, negotiation and rapport building. It was set up by the Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers, an organisation representing over 36 NATO countries that advises NATO on reservist issues.
“The interactive nature of the workshops enhanced the learning experience,” said Victoria. “We had the opportunity to discuss our own cultural differences and experiences, and learnt how to utilise our own negotiation styles to maximum effect”.
“It is all about winning hearts and minds,” says Kate Smith, training specialist from the US Army Tradoc Culture Centre, who was leading some of the workshops.
“Culture training is a vital part of modern combat. It is all about influencing and communicating with others. Relationship building is a key part of modern asymmetric warfare. Negotiation is a very important skill for young officers in today’s environment. Negotiators need to know who they are and who their opponent is in order to achieve the desired outcome.
“The participation from the officers has been really good,” she added. “To watch them bring not only their military skills but their civilian expertise to the table as well has been great to see. This is something unique to the reserves.”
The event ended with an informal ceremony and attendants received certificates from the current President of the Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers, Bulgarian Army Lieutenant Colonel Dimitar Popov (Reserve).
“It is so important that we train young officers in multi-national situations to prepare them for NATO operations in an ever changing global environment,” he said.
“I have been very pleased with the feedback from this course. The officers have engaged positively and we have seen some excellent negotiation skills, which are so vital in international relations.”


Hard work pays off for newly Commissioned 2Lt Snowball

Its with great pleasure to announce the commissioning of 2Lt David Snowball.

2Lt David Snowball successfully commissioned at the weekend and not only that, but he was also awarded the Sword of Honour! This is indeed an honour and a true reflection of his ability, professionalism and dedication.

The OC paid a visit to see David during his field exercise in Sennybridge over a week ago. All the Reserve potential officers had been incorporated into the Regular Commissioning Course’s, second term, final exercise. As a result, the Reserves were working with Officer Cadets (OCdts) who already had two terms (approx 8 months) of extensive and focused military training. It is with great pride that we can report that none of the Reserves dropped out of this hard 7 day exercise.

On this excersise 2Lt David Snowball was selected to be a Platoon Commander for the final attack; the assault into the OBUA environment. This in itself is an excellent achievement and real testament to David’s overall performance.

Speaking to the other Regular OCdts, they saw all the Reserves absolutely on par with themselves and had absolute confidence in the performance of them all, particularly David.


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