Official Military Blog Posts

Ex-British Army chef Matthew returns after 15 years of travelling the world to …

A Rhondda man who has travelled the world as a British Army [1] chef has returned home to open a delicatessen business. During his 15 years in the military, 32-year-old Matthew Rogers has travelled to Germany, Iraq, Northern Ireland, USA, Poland, Russia and Belize, and has had some once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Among them, the Ystrad man has cooked at Royal Ascot and at the Queen s birthday celebrations, while he has also built a kitchen for orphans in Kenya. Now the chef has decided to draw on his experiences to open a business back home in the Rhondda, and has opened his new deli, called Delicious, at 28 William Street in Ystrad, where he grew up. Matthew Rogers while living in Kenya Matthew, who owns and manages the new business, said: I ve been very lucky to gain many catering qualifications and more importantly a wealth of experience having cooked all over the world. The most memorable experience for me was living in Kenya for six months, where we raised money through running marathons and half marathons to build a building for orphans. We also built them a kitchen inside the building. It was all funded through what we raised. I ve also cooked for the Queen [2] , and was part of the buffet team for her birthday celebrations. In May, I decided to leave the armed forces, and to open the shop I thought with my experience it would be a shame not to. But I had to turn down two very good jobs which I was offered. Related: This 19th century former alehouse has just been named Dining Pub of the Year 2016 [3] Along with help from his family, Matthew was able to carry out the building work to set up his new business, which prides itself on serving fresh produce. He has employed two full time and two part time members of staff. Matthew added: We ve been open about seven weeks and it s been going really well. We sell salads, paninis, coffees, pastas and baked potatoes all freshly made every day. The menu is full of light food at the moment for the summer. We ve also started taking bookings for functions, and we are having our first charity event, a free coffee morning for Macmillan next month. References ^ Army (www.walesonline.co.uk) ^ Queen (www.walesonline.co.uk) ^ This 19th century former alehouse has just been named Dining Pub of the Year 2016 (www.walesonline.co.uk) Continue reading

Reserve Engineers compete in Italian Raid

Reserve Engineers from 350 Field Squadron (EOD) took part in Italian Commando Raid competition. It tested their physical endurance, technical skill and teamwork needed to succeed. One Thursday afternoon, 350 Field Squadron RE embarked on a NATO patrol competition based in the Italian Alps North of Milan leaving Foresters House in Chetwynd, Nottingham with bags packed and sunglasses ready. We felt prepared for what lay ahead having tested our fitness, problem solving and navigation skills and compiled a basic yet educated kit list. However, no matter how sunny it was we were always going to get wet. On arrival at the airport Cpl Lancashire gave us our first fright when he realised his passport was still on the transport heading back to Notts. Luckily the driver was still close, however we ll ensure he never forgets it again. The event started on the Friday with a live fire assessment. We got our hands on a variety of weapon systems including the Berreta 92F pistol and the FN 7.62 rifle. An awesome experience and a great gauge of how the SA80 A2 compares with weapons from different nations. Next we set off to the main start point in the hills of Bisuschio near the Swiss border. Stunning would not describe it but sightseeing had to wait. Teams around Europe and the USA were set off in intervals after a kit check and mission questionnaire. Our two teams were released into the dark after 2200hrs and after a couple of hours of night navigation arrived at the first checkpoint. The concept was simple but a 5 hr observation point was not expected. As the cold alpine chill of the night set in we took turn in our groups of 4 to stag on and listen for enemy activity. It was a long night and slow unexpected start to the exercise. The next day we set off under command of the directive staff and quickly approached the river crossing. All the kit went into a Bivvi bag and on went a waterproof jacket along with some flip flops held on with green tape. We lifted the giant sausage up, to the bemusement of the various teams and made our way to the water. Funnily enough both teams scored highly as we used our experience to ensure the basics of soldiering (360 cover etc) were maintained. The day went on and included more live dynamic shooting with assault rifles, shotguns and pistols. Once again allowing us a bit of fun and an insight into the weapons used by allied forces. Later that morning we found ourselves at 300m above sea level looking up at the next check point of 1000m. So off we went. Along the way our new friends the Germans were making steady progress and took the lead while we took refreshments and did a nav check. Our team IC LCpl Nightingale went ahead on multiple recces and passed the Germans at speed earning the nickname mountain goat , at least we think that s the translation. Tasks at the top of Mount Orsa (equivalent to Snowden, Wales) included abseiling, room clearance and search tasks. Abseiling was a rush and also funny watching 3 staff members trying to put LCpl Buckingham into a harness. Needless to say it didn t fit his monster legs. We continued down the mountain next to the Swiss boarder and quickly realised how inaccurate the maps were. Teams were appearing from all manner of footpaths along the way and only good guess work helped us down, to the relief of our feet. The day wore on and we were quickly approaching checkpoint Kilo . The map showed us that the stand was on the far side of a shallow river, so we decided to follow it to a nearby bridge then backtrack to the stand. Only to find it was another river crossing, nicely avoided. The directive staff were bemused but rewarded us for ingenuity. At this point we had been on patrol for approximately 15hrs and were feeling the pinch, but on we trot up another hill. We finally arrived at Lima where we were preparing for a sniper targeting stand when came the bad news. Teams at the top of mount Orsa behind us were caught in rapidly progressive poor weather and were reportedly suffering from Hypothermia. This meant that the exercise was terminated so that a recovery phase could be initiated. It was sad for us as there was not far to go. Out of 58 teams only a handful made it to the end. It was disappointing as we didn t need the rain to dampen spirits. However, our 2 Reserve Royal Engineer teams placed 9 th (led by LCpl Carlisle, finishing top of the British Military contingent) and 41 st based on overall time and scores from each stand. But a huge congratulations goes to A.S.S.U. Lugano Hellvetics from the Swiss Military Academy for winning the event, and a massive thanks to Sgt Daniel Waterfield for organising the trip. The experience was amazing, the staff were friendly and it was great to see how different nations prepared and competed should you get the opportunity, grasp it and have a go, you won t be disappointed. Needless to say we will be back next year with sunglasses packed. By LCPL Steven Evans Continue reading

1-star is first U.S. general to serve in British division

By Michelle Tan, Staff writer 1:14 p.m. EDT September 3, 2015 British Maj. Gen. Patrick Sanders, commander of the 3rd (United Kingdom) Division, welcomes U.S. Brig. Gen. Michael Tarsa, the first American to serve as the deputy commander for the British division. (Photo: Richard Watt/3rd (United Kingdom) Division) Brig. Gen. Michael Tarsa is now officially the first American general to serve as the deputy commander of the British army s 3rd (United Kingdom) Division. Tarsa, who most recently was the deputy commander for support for the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado, was welcomed into Britain s Iron Division, which has its headquarters at Bulford Camp in Wiltshire, this week. I wear my nation s uniform as a member of the U.S. Army, but I now have the privilege to be part of the British Army and 3rd United Kingdom Division, Tarsa said when addressing the staff during the welcome ceremony, according to the division s Facebook page [1] . Being selected to serve with the Brits is a distinct honor, he said. British Maj. Gen. Patrick Sanders, the division commander, welcomed Tarsa to the unit and offered him some advice, according to the Facebook post. We may use cricket analogies to explain ourselves, one hundred miles is a long way to us, banter is a sign of affection not disrespect, and don t worry if you can t always understand our regional accents, he said. The 3rd (United Kingdom) Division is the only division at continual operational readiness in the U.K., according to the division s website [2] . It is made up of three armored infantry brigades and a logistics brigade. Tarsa s assignment with the Brits is another recent move to strengthen the relationship between the two armies, who fought side-by-side in Iraq and Afghanistan. In April, the 82nd Airborne Division s 2nd Brigade Combat Team partnered with the United Kingdom s 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, 16 Air Assault Brigade to conduct the largest U.S.-U.K. bilateral airborne training [3] operation to take place on Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in 20 years. The exercise was part of an interoperability program between the 82nd Airborne Division and the 16 Air Assault Brigade, and is the result of an agreement signed by then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno and former U.K. Chief of the General Staff General Sir Peter Wall in March 2013. The ongoing U.S.-U.K. partnership is reflected across Europe as well. Last summer, a German brigadier general assumed duties as the chief of staff for U.S. Army Europe, the first time a non-American officer has held that position. Brig. Gen. Markus Laubentha [4] l previously commanded Germany s 12th Panzer Brigade in Amberg and served as chief of staff of Regional Command-North in Afghanistan. Tarsa is a 1987 West Point graduate who has served multiple tours in Iraq, both during Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He also served as the executive officer to Odierno when he was chief of staff. Last fall, when he was with the 4th ID, Tarsa led about 100 soldiers from the division to Europe to participate in Combined Resolve III, a key multinational exercise in Germany. The 4th ID participated in the exercise as part of its regional alignment with Europe. It is the first Army division to be regionally aligned with U.S. European Command, Tarsa said at the time. Read or Share this story: http://militari.ly/1UuSF54 References ^ Facebook page (www.facebook.com) ^ division s website (www.army.mod.uk) ^ bilateral airborne training (www.armytimes.com) ^ Brig. Gen. Markus Laubentha (archive.armytimes.com) Continue reading