In this edition of Ranger…
...in addition to the usual mix of articles across time and technologies we tell the story of twenty years of non-stop operational deployments.
There have been Military Survey/Geographic troops deployed overseas on operations on every single day since 1990 when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and British Forces joined the international coalition that was put together to liberate that country. With a soldier’s full career being 22 years and the first two of those taken up with training, there is now a generation whose entire military career has comprised training for and deploying on operations – witness to this situation are the arrays of medals on SNCOs chests. It is amazing but not since the Napoleonic Wars has the nation seen twenty years of continual operational involvement.
Whilst, as ever, I am grateful to all authors for their contributions I would like to give particular thanks to Andy Swain, Stuart Fairnington and Hamish MacMillan – very busy Officers Commanding FOST HM, 13 and 14 Geographic Squadrons respectively at the time of writing very detailed accounts of HMS Roebuck’s work during the Second Iraq War, the deployments on the various Balkans operations and to Iraq on Operation Telic. This edition of Ranger will act as a record of all the deployments of the last twenty years and, to a certain extent, chronicle the advances in operational concepts and technology during that period.
However, not all operations have been overseas. 16 Geographic Support Squadron’s Special Support Team deployed at short notice to Cumbria to provide much needed geographic support to the emergency services battling the catastrophic floods last November. David White’s article on Operation Giraffe shows clearly how advanced military geographic support is as regards techniques and training and how it can add value to any emergency situation.
On Association topics we detail the impressive contributions made by our annual prize winners towards advancing geospatial support to Defence and report on another successful ‘Maps and Surveys’ seminar on historic matters.
We try to balance our content between the three services and so on the HM front we hear of the new Fleet HM Unit and of Scott’s deployment to Antarctica whilst Charles Howard-Vyse, Officer Commanding 1 AIDU, discusses the challenges posed by the ever increasing demands for Air Information. Staying with today’s issues, being swamped by data is an problem examined by Intergraph’s Richard Goodman and Rob Oliver gives his view of the highlights of the annual DGI conference which showcased the very latest geospatial technology.
And finally, this really is the last issue of Ranger that I will edit. It has been enjoyable although a far bigger task than I imagined when I was talked into the role. I wish Peter Walker every success with Volume 3 and will as usual – look forward to a good read.