Royal Marines go ashore in Sierra Leone

A large crowd of Sierra Leoneans came out to meet a small group of Royal Marines who stepped ashore to carry out survey work.

The men, from 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines (ASRM) and 42 Commando, went ashore at Lungi Beach, near the country’s main international airport.

There they met with local people who told them more about the surrounding area as well as carrying out an underwater survey in order to confirm beach gradients and their usability by landing craft.

Embarked in Royal Fleet Auxiliary aviation support ship RFA Argus, the Royal Marines are supporting the Government of Sierra Leone and the Department for International Development (DfID) in the international battle against Ebola outbreak in the region.

539 ASSAULT SQUADRON

The reception we received was overwhelming; I’d say that more than 150 people met us when we landed on the beach.

Sergeant John McDonald

Leading the small shore team was Sergeant John McDonald of 539 ASR, said: “The reception we received was overwhelming; I’d say that more than 150 people met us when we landed on the beach.

“We explained that we were there to carry out survey work and they really wanted to help by providing us with local knowledge.

“As a result we managed to gather more information than we had expected about the local area, while at the same time we were able to deploy a sonar on one of the Zodiacs to confirm the suitability of the beach for landings.”

RFA Argus was deployed to the West African country where she has begun playing an important logistical role with three embarked Merlin Mk2 helicopters from 820 Naval Air Squadron being used to facilitate the movement of British medical teams, stores and aid experts deployed to help tackle the Ebola Virus.

Argus also carries two Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel (LCVP), three Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats, and six Zodiacs from 539 ASRM which will be used for moving stores, equipment and personnel inland along the Sierra Leone river network.

The Royal Marines landing party travelled from Argus in one Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel (LCVP), and two Zodiacs before going ashore at Lungi Beach. Corporal Gavin Smith was at the helm of the LCVP.

He added: “The response from the local community was really positive, and despite Ebola being a major issue in West Africa, it seems that life is continuing as normal.

“All of our commandos have undergone rigorous counter Ebola training and adhered to these measures while ashore.”

The Royal Marines will continue with survey work in different areas in order to assist their longer term logistical role in transporting equipment, stores and personnel.

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OPERATIONSOPERATION GRITROCK

AL MARINES

RM BICKLEIGH

ROYAL MARINES COMMANDOPERATIONSOPERATION GRITROCK

The UK armed forces have so far played a pivotal role in delivering the current British support as they work with the government of Sierra Leone to tackle the crisis.Using British expertise and local building contractors, the UK has committed to support 700 new beds in Ebola treatment facilities. This package will further support the country’s stretched public health services in containing the disease by helping up to nearly 8,800 patients over a 6-month period.

http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/

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