• Lt Aled M Smith (C Company)

COVID-19: C Company and it's role in Mobile Testing Units (MTUs)

Following A Company's deployment to NHS Nightingale Bristol last month, 1 R WELSH have continued to reinforce the UK’s response to Covid-19. C Company has led in delivering Mobile Testing Units (MTUs) as part of the Government testing scheme.

Mobilised for training in the final week of April, members of C Coy made the journey from Tidworth to Grantham to complete their training as part of the Covid-19 taskforce. Organised into MTUs, these five, twelve-man teams were responsible for the construction, administration and running of new testing sites across the South West of England.

From Truro to Swindon, C Coy were in force to deliver the Government’s 100,000 daily testing target. With individual sites routinely delivering more than 300 tests a day, our soldiers worked long hours, often in adverse conditions, to ensure this figure was successfully met.

2Lt James who commissioned in August 2019 said that ‘running an MTU has been a great environment to test the skills I have learnt at both RMAS and the Infantry Battle School in Brecon’. The MTUs arrive at new locations with little understanding of the local situation which has been challenging as a junior commander, as it requires prompt problem solving and decision making. This unique opportunity has been extremely rewarding and has been widely noted in the media, there are positive effects at both a personal and national level.

In conjunction with local authorities, police forces and the Department for Health & Social Care (DHSC), teams from 1 R WELSH have consistently displayed an ability to adapt, innovate and implement solutions, winning plaudits both locally and nationally. Last week, the Army Sergeant Major visited one of our units in Gloucester to articulate his thanks for our efforts in cementing both the Battalion and wider Army’s reputation amongst our civilian partner organisations.

Fus Hoare, who recently attended a JNCO cadre in Edinburgh, stated that ‘it has been a challenge for everyone involved due to it being a completely new experience. However, once the team gained on the job experience of how to run the testing sites it became second nature, much like clockwork’. His experience from his promotional course in Edinburgh has helped enormously with the leadership skills needed to help run the MTU. This has been particularly true in providing the administrative and G4 function for an MTU. Fus Hoare said that “it has been rewarding because this is something I will never experience again” and that he is “quite proud to say I’ve been a part of it and to put 1 R WELSH in a good light”. As the task endures, and the potential onset of a new antibody test due to be trialled in the region, soldiers from 1 R WELSH will continue to make our presence felt in the fight against COVID-19.

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