On 19th April the GTROC announced it was to sponsor the Mission to Morocco: http://gtroc.org/news/general-news-and-events/gtroc-sponsors-mission-to-morocco
In total four teams will head out on a challenge across the North African desert equipped with a specially prepared and liveried Nissan Navaras. Each unit must survive a series of challenges that test their desert survival skills and ability to work as a team.
Each team will be led by a soldier from the Parachute Regiment injured while serving in Afghanistan. The challenging expedition will see them surviving the desert in North Africa together with their Nissan Navara. All of this is to support the The Parachute Regiment Afghanistan Trust. This charity provides assistance to soldiers of the Parachute Regiment who were wounded in action, or the dependents of those killed in action in Afghanistan.
The four team leaders are:
Sgt Alan Jackson, 29: ”The last year has been tough and I have had to work hard to adapt to the limitations imposed upon me by my new injury. Mission Morocco will give me the chance to prove that my injuries are no barrier to me taking part in a challenging overseas expedition.”
Pte Pete Burns, 25: ”I have recently returned to work full time after being injured in Afghanistan last year. The rehabilitation process has been a real challenge, but I hope Mission Morocco will give me the opportunity to prove how far I have come and that my injuries will not prevent me from taking part in the challenges that we will face in Morocco.”
Pte Callum Urquhart, 20: ”After spending the last year recovering from my injuries, I am really looking forward to the challenges we will face in Morocco. The injuries that my colleagues and myself have will make the tests tough, but I’m confident that we can work together to overcome them.”
Pte Mark Vidler, 22: ”It is great that we are being given the opportunity to take part in a challenging expedition like this. Having to deal with my injury over the last year has been hard but will stand me in good stead for the challenges we will face in Morocco.”
Every day we will post up some of the bogs from the Mission. Please keep up with events and PLEASE help us raise as much money as we can. You can do this by visitng their JustGiving website:
After a 6am meet up at Nissan HQ, we loaded the vehicles with tents, bags, army ration packs(!) and set off on the road to Portsmouth. The Navaras looked great all loaded up and we set off in good spirit ready for the journey ahead.
The ferry ride to Santander was fairly horrific – as soon as we were on board, we could feel the boat tipping from side to side and the journey never seemed to calm down – a challenge in itself as it was 24hrs of sea sickness for some. However, it was a great chance for a bit of team bonding and storytelling from the paratroopers’ experiences in Afghan. These guys are incredibly brave and I think the team from Nissan were touched by their openness – they even did a show and tell of their “war wounds”.
Once on Spanish soil (dry land at last! :) ) we started to head south for the first leg of the trip in Spain. We’ve just arrived at our stopover at 19:00hrs (getting into the army lingo…) where we’ve pitched our tents for the night. Very happy with our easy to pitch tents and zero poles! We cooked army rations for dinner which were surprisingly tasty and hopefully will be for the whole trip..though we were shocked when they told us that that’s the only food they eat in Afghan, which can be 6 months at a time.
Key words for the trip that we picked up so far needed a bit of explaining from the Paratroopers: Gen (genuinely), Lizard (lady) squared (sorted out) and flappin (panicking). These words are now fully incorporated into our vocab for the expedition!
Heading for ferry at Gibraltar tomorrow and then across to Morocco early Saturday morning!
Today we were all up, showered and ready to leave the camp at 9am this morning (which apparently is a big lie in!). Breakfast rations were not as tasty as the dinner last night – I had muesli with powdered milk and had to add water…not the nicest concoction!
We set off in convoy as always and headed further south to reach our destination of Tarifa with a few stops along the way to fill up on fuel and break up the journey. The long journeys in the car are apparently nothing in comparison to the time the guys have to be on standby in Afghanistan – they had many games planned along the way to keep us entertained e.g. name a movie for every letter of the alphabet… and we’ve also identified some interesting music tastes from the Paras (shockingly they love their Power Ballads!).
There’s a lot of excitement about the challenges that we are soon to face together in Morocco, the Paras are famous for being hardcore so the Nissan team are anxious about the 10 mile march to say the least – especially in hot weather and on the sand.
We also spotted some of the equipment that the Paras have brought in the Navaras that we will be using in Morocco…lots of spades and sand tracks for digging us out when the vehicles get stuck – apparently it happens to every car no matter what model or make. We’re looking forward to taking the vehicles off road to put them to the test.
Tomorrow we have an early start. We’ve been briefed to be up at 04:45 and to be ready to “deploy” by 06:00…no time for showers or cooked breakfast then!