Posted on June 26, 2019
Taking on the challenge will be the men of C Company, Third Battalion, The Parachute Regiment.
Officer Commanding C Company, Major Fox, who is leading the paratroopers said: “The biggest challenge will be the punishment on the body. We will be on our feet for a long time every day, dealing with back and shoulder rubs from our packs and the sore feet that come with tabbing on hard tarmac. I have no doubt there will come a morning when we wake up and the last thing we want to do is put those damned packs on our back. But we will push through – we set ourselves the highest standards and it is for a great cause.”
The exercise named Exercise Enduring Heritage, is a Tab (Loaded-March) from Arnhem to Normandy. Starting at the Drop Zone in Arnhem on 29 June, the paras will then tab to Nijmegen Bridge, then on to Germany, to Bastogne, then over the Ardennes to Normandy via the Drop Zone at Ranville, finishing at Merville Battery no later than 20 July. They aim to cover a distance of no less than 25 miles per day. This Tab is to mark the 75th anniversaries of those battles, pay respects to other British and international airborne battle honours, and to raise money for the regimental charity, Support Our Paras.
Major Fox, talking about the great work the charity does, said: “Support Our Paras looks after anyone who has served in the Parachute Regiment, or is currently serving – so there is a huge breadth of care that they give, everything from helping current soldiers and their families, to supporting elderly veterans. Just for example, recently the charity covered air fare and hotel costs for a serving soldier to fly from London to Scotland to visit his mum in hospital after she had a stroke. They have helped me out, too – my son has Down’s Syndrome and the charity donated a special needs buggy to him.”
Fuelling the ten Paras through the 500 miles will be food generously supplied by Waitrose Group.
When asked about team preparations, Major Fox said the men have been on exercise, so will be slightly fatigued, even before they start the challenge, adding: “The lads have just completed a three week exercise in Croatia, so they will be starting tired. Fortunately, these are exceptionally fit young men (less the boss, who is starting the tab on his 40th birthday). So they are, as the regimental motto goes, ‘ready for anything.’ Before the exercise, we did a number of practice and pacing tabs, so we all know what we are in for.”
When the team return from Normandy, they have said they are looking forward to heading home for some well earned summer leave. Donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/EnduringHeritage. You can also track their progress of the march on social media, including Twitter: @maj_fox where the guys will be posting regular updates.