On 5 Jan 2014, 12 personnel from 12(Bomber) Squadron departed RAF Lossiemouth on Exercise Rampant Fox.
Their aim is to travel to the Hinku Valley area of the Makalu Barun National Park, Nepal, to ascend the highest trekking peak in Nepal, Mera Peak (6476m/21,247ft). This expedition is the culmination of 12(Bomber) Squadrons charity event which has been running for the last 6 months and started upon their deployment on Operations earlier in the year.
The expedition will take place during one of the coldest months in Nepal at the very end of the winter climbing season, when the average temperature at summit altitude is expected to be around minus 40?C. The team will experience an arduous 11 days of ascent, all the while keeping vigil for signs of Acute Mountain Sickness and Pulmonary or Cerebral Oedema – both of which are fatal if not treated immediately.
The Expedition Leader, Sergeant Lee Birbeck said, “Exercise Rampant Fox is a major overseas expedition to summit Mera Peak in the Himalaya mountain range which has been a year in the planning. The high risk and remote nature of the trip is designed to develop all team personnel whilst they are in the high end of the 'comfort – stretch – panic' spectrum. The expedition will enhance each team member’s attributes of team work, planning and leadership, and reinforce their emotional intelligence, bolstering their ability to make cool, calm and collected decisions whilst under extreme physical and mental stress.”
Sgt Birbeck added, “The experiences gained undertaking an expedition of this nature will be a defining point in many of the younger team members lives and demonstrates the true expeditionary nature and fortitude of Service personnel.”
Wg Cdr Strasdin echoed his views saying, “The skills, camaraderie and mental agility these individuals will have to develop and then deliver during the expedition are key individual and team competencies that they will be able to employ in their leadership roles when they return to their duties in the Spring and I am sure that they will all be focussed on delivering an extremely successful and safe expedition. Truly demonstrating the very best the Royal Air Force has to offer and enhancing the spirit and Service ethos in the process. We are on track to complete the physical challenge before we leave Afghanistan but we desperately need your help raising the donations, please support us and our selected charities by visiting our donation website.”
If you would like to donate to the charity event, please donate at Virgin Giving at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/12sqn
Authorr: Flt Lt Baxter
Photro: Wing Commander Simon Strasdin, Officer Commanding 12 (Bomber) Squadron handing over the summit flag for the Exercise to Sergeant Lee Birbeck.
RAF/MOD Crown Copyright 2014