A BLACKPOOL soldier has been taking part in an Army training exercise designed to simulate conditions in Afghanistan.
Kingsman Nathan Cross, 18, was one of more than 260 infantrymen from the 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, known as 1 LANCS, who took part in Exercise Spring Lion at Catterick, North Yorkshire.
1 LANCS could potentially be deployed at any time to Afghanistan, so the exercise was designed to mimic conditions there as closely as possible, with some soldiers acting as local civilians and others as insurgents.
Former pupil of St George’s High School, Kingsman Cross said: “My role on the training day was protecting the Jackal vehicles.
“I’ve only been in the Army nine months, it’s interesting work and I’m really happy with the equipment and training we get.
“I joined up at an Army careers office, and the only job I wanted to do was infantry, I couldn’t see myself behind the wheel of a truck, I wanted to be on the front line.”
Two of the Battalion’s rifle companies each took part in five hour-plus exercises, which help prepare for the challenges soldiers face in Afghanistan; one involved clearing a wooded area, similar to the so-called green zone near Helmand River, and the other the arrest of an insurgent.
The training took place in full body armour and kit weighing around 60lbs (27kg), in temperatures of 22°C.
Lieutenant Colonel Nick Wood, commanding officer, said: “We are undergoing a period of training in preparation for possible deployment to Afghanistan.
“This ensures the lads’ skills and drills are of the highest possible standard should we be called upon, all the while in support of the Afghan Army and the police.”