Marines arrive in Albania for first navy exercises

HARD WORK A Commando in Albania on a previous exercise
HARD WORK A Commando in Albania on a previous exercise

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MORE than 600 Royal Marine commandos have landed in Albania for the start of a series of major Royal Navy exercises.

They are preparing to take part in the first of a series of exercises dubbed Cougar 13, which will test the Royal Navy’s Response Force Task Group.

The Marines are now preparing ahead of the arrival of flagship HMS Bulwark and Portsmouth-based carrier HMS Illustrious.

Dubbed Albanian Lion, next week’s exercise is the first in Cougar 13 and has seen more than 600 Royal Marine commandos land in the mountainous region of Bise.

Sergeant Chris Davies, 30, from 30 Commando Royal Marines, said: ‘This is the second time I have trained in Albania and the mixture of heat, altitude and mountainous terrain make it the ideal training environment for the Royal Marines.

‘We are all raring to go and looking forward to a high intensity, action-packed few days as we undertake Albanian Lion with our colleagues from the Albanian armed forces.’

Cougar 13 is a long-planned deployment for the group, formed under the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review.

It aims to help the navy hone its maritime skills thousands of miles from home through exercises.