Royal Marines 40 Commando Alpha Coy patrol British Virgin Islands, Operation RUMAN, following Hurricane Irma (Crown Copyright 2017, new licence) [880]

Royal Marines Deploy on #OpRUMAN

Armed Forces Tweet Operation in Response to Hurricane Irma

Royal Marine Commandos are already on the scene in British Overseas Territories devastated by Hurricane Irma.

The island of Barbados is acting as the hub for Op RUMAN – the codename for the UK military relief effort. In the first 36 hours, the RAF’s 38 Expeditionary Air Wing conducted 11 flights around the region, moving more than 500 passengers and more than 30 tonnes of supplies.

40 Commando, Royal Marines

Lt Col Paul Maynard, CO, 40 Commando tweeted a photograph of his men en route to the disaster-stricken area.

40 Commando is a battalion sized Royal Marines unit within 3 Commando Brigade, based near Taunton in Somerset.

 

The Royal Navy website reported September 10 that Royal Marines of 40 Commando were on the ground in the Caribbean to help those affected by Hurricane Irma. Lt Col Maynard tweeted photographs of Lead Commando Group on the British Virgin Islands.

Alpha Company in Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Marines from Alpha Company continue their work in Tortola, the capital of the British Virgin Islands, and one of the worst-affected areas after the Category 5 storm struck. It is part of a concerted effort by all three of Britain’s armed forces to help British citizens in the wake of devastating Hurricane Irma.

Royal Marines have conducted many patrols across the island to reassure the local people of their commitment and support.

The police station has become the home and operating base for Alpha Company, providing an excellent base to work from and support the local officers on joint patrols and other policing tasks.

The station was physically damaged during hurricane Irma and work has begun to repair the infrastructure that remains. This includes moving a collapsed radio mast within the police station which has been blocking crucial access.

From getting orders that we were heading to the Caribbean to actually working to help these people has been a quick turnaround – its rewarding stuff.

Marine Waite

Marine Waite, who is on the ground with Alpha Company, said: “From getting orders that we were heading to the Caribbean to actually working to help these people has been a quick turnaround – its rewarding stuff”.

The Taunton-based marines were expecting to head to the Mediterranean this week on exercises, but as the lead commando group were instead activated on Thursday. They flew on a Royal Air Force transporter by 10am on Friday, and were in the Caribbean by the day’s end.

The commandos are ready to distribute humanitarian aid and to help prepare the island before Hurricane Jose moves through the region.

Meanwhile amphibious support ship RFA Mounts Bay, continues to be heavily engaged in the operation. On Saturday alone, the ship’s Wildcat helicopter of 815 Naval Air Squadron – Flight Commander Lt Amy Gilmore, pilot Lt Oliver Bundock and Observer Lee Colthart – delivered ten tonnes of water and five tonnes of supplies – medical stores especially – to Tortola.

Locals turned out in force to assist the helicopter crew in offloading the medical supplies, which included vital vaccines, as quickly as possible, with Mounts Bay’s medical officer Surg Lt Oliver Perigo also on hand to assist.

Reports of Looting

Royal Marines from Alpha Coy, 40 Cdo, continued with patrols across Tortola to provide reassurance and additional security after the devastation caused by hurricane Irma. Joint patrols with the local police force are taking place every day and during this patrol they assisted the police officers in searching buildings after reports of looting.

Alpha Company, 40 Commando Royal Marines have deployed as part of the Lead Commando Group (LCG) alongside attachments from the Army, Navy and RAF to provide humanitarian assistance to British Overseas Territories.

The High Readiness Force was activated on Thursday after the devastation caused by hurricane Irma and was inbound for the Caribbean by 1000 Friday. Alpha Coy, 40 Cdo are now on the ground in Road Town, Tortola, the capital of the British Virgin Islands and one of the worst effected regions after the category 5 storm struck. The company of Royal Marines were on the ground ready to start joint patrolling and reassurance with the local police before hurricane Jose was due.

40 Commando were due to deploy on a Special Purpose Task Group next week, forward deployed in the Mediterranean. However the LCG quickly adapted and rescaled in order to focus efforts in the Caribbean.

Utilizing Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary shipping and personnel, will allow the LCG the ability to deliver timely and appropriate humanitarian assistance. Royal Marine Commandos are experts in operating from this specialist shipping and have experience in supporting disaster relief missions. 24 Commando Royal Engineers, deployed alongside 40 Cdo have the specialist capability to repair infrastructure and reopen damaged routes. This combined capability supported by amphibious shipping, environmental health teams and royal Navy Medics will ensure the LCGs contribution will make a difference.

Lieutenant Colonel Paul Maynard assumed command of 40 Commando Royal Marines in March 2017.

The British Army’s 24 Commando are also deployed on Operation RUMAN, alongwith other units.

Source: Royal Navy

Image: Royal Marines 40 Commando Alpha Coy patrol British Virgin Islands, Operation RUMAN, following Hurricane Irma (Crown Copyright 2017).