Connect

October 2016

Connect the newsletter of the Irish Defence Forces

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Your Defence Forces Newsletter DF Physiotherapy I n recent weeks the Irish Defence Forces has seen the initiation of a brand new service in Defence Forces (DF) Physiotherapy. This is an exciting time for DF Physiotherapy to become Ireland's first military-specific service to cater for the unique needs of DF personnel. DF Physiotherapy is a unit of civilian chartered physiothera- pists attached to CMU (Central Medical Unit), working to enhance the care and rehabilitation of all DF personnel. DF physiotherapists were selected for their roles because of their background and experience working specifically with elite sports and military populations. The DF physiotherapy mission is to provide clinical excel- lence in promoting the physical health and well-being of all DF personnel through integrated clinical practice, education, research and innovation. There has been a great deal of planning and preparation in the establishment of DF physiotherapy, from the installation of physiotherapy departments, to working with top university researchers and international collaboration with other military physio- therapy units. The team of physiotherapists are now on the ground and in location at three of four primary physiotherapy centres around the country – St. Bricin's Military hospital, the Cur- ragh hospital and Custume barracks MAP. Collin's Barracks is awaiting a physiotherapist in the coming weeks. Satellite physiotherapy clinics will be run on occasion in secondary locations. The service will also use innovative technology to over-come the challenges it faces in provid- ing best care, through use of video-communication with remote satellite clinics and overseas missions. There will also be a new musculoskeletal ultrasound service available through DF physiotherapy. The service aims to be flexible, efficient and effective in the use of its resources. DF physiotherapy are looking forward to engaging fully with DF personnel in order to continue to progress the quality of care that they receive and optimise their swift and effective recovery. DEFENCE FORCES INTER UNIT MOUNTAIN CHALLENGE D efence Forces Adventure Racing (DFAR) in conjunction with Defence Forces Orienteering (DFO) and supported by the Air Corps hosted the recent Inter-Unit Mountain Challenge on 14 & 15 September 2016 in TIS Kilbride. This was a two day event comprising six hours of navigation in teams on both days. The event tested units' navigation and fitness skills, team cohesion, junior leadership and also served as excellent training for individuals who wanted to improve their navigation, or prepare for career courses. In an area not known for its sunny climate, the weather conditions were ideal for the 24 teams who turned out. Teams starting out on Day 1 were faced with challenging navigation in misty conditions, however, this lifted in the afternoon providing excellent visibility. Competition was fierce on Day 1 with the 28 Inf Bn team of Pte Baldwin and Pte Doherty clearing the course and holding a slim 14 minute advantage over the DFTC team of Comdt Burke and Sgt Horgan. The 12 Inf Bn team of Ptes Fitzpatrick, Donnelly, Joyce and Ryan were also close behind having also gotten all the controls. Day 2 was another beautiful day as teams departed early (in vari- ous states of soreness after their efforts the previous day). The crux of the day was a control on Kippure Mountain, which would stretch even the fastest of teams and would decide the winners. Comdt Burke and Sgt Horgan put in a strong performance to again get all controls and take the win. The 28 Inf Bn team held on for an excellent second place with the 7 Bn RDF team of Lt Salonen and Sgt Steven- son having a very strong final day to get third place. The prize for the Mixed team was won by Lt Fahy and Sgt Kane who had two very solid days with few errors. All of the teams who turned out found it challenging but very worthwhile. Many learnt important lessons on navigation and time and energy management on the difficult course. This is an event which exercises essential military skills of fitness, mental and physical tough- ness, navigation and teamwork and will become an annual part of the calendar. See you on the hills next year and good weather, good food and good fun is guaranteed! Well maybe not the weather... Well done to the winners, but most of all well done to all who turned up and put in their best effort over two arduous days. CASA NORTH ATLANTIC RESCUE T here can be few places on Earth as lonely and isolated as the North Atlantic, especially if you are crossing it in a rowing boat, by yourself, in bad weather, with damaged equipment, rolling about at the mercy of the waves, waiting for help. This was the scenario on Saturday the 6th of August for the rowing vessel Fox II, 1100 kilometers West of Valentia, after suffer- ing damage to its rudder and oars during a storm force 10 gale in the early hours of the morning. The UK Coastguard via their Norwegian Coastguard colleagues received a 406 distress beacon alert from the rowing vessel. Inter- mittent communication was established via email, which enabled the UK Coastguard to continue to track and communicate with the vessel. Given the distance offshore, which is well beyond the endurance of search and rescue helicopters, UK Coastguard requested assis- tance from shipping, the Royal Air Force and the Irish Air Corps. 101 Squadron dispatched one Casa CN235 Maritime Patrol Aircraft with a crew of 4 to locate and establish communications with FOXII. The Casa, with its sophisti- cated radar, camera and communica- tions suite, also carries four 10-man life rafts, flares and surface markers to guide vessels in the vicinity to a stricken craft. The extreme distance required the Casa to refuel in Shannon Airport, which would allow the crew conduct a 2 hour search on scene. En-route they battled headwinds in excess of 110 kph. Shortly before reaching the target, the bulk carrier Ludolf Oldendorff successfully located the casualty vessel and after one hour of attempting to rescue in gale force winds and high seas the crewman was taken safely onboard. The Casa was released from its mission and turned for home, happy to have a significant tailwind, having lived up to the Squad- ron's motto "Shúile Thar an Fharraige" Well done to all involved in this multi-national search and rescue operation!

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