Exercise Midnight Sun - Greenland 2008

Arctic trip awaits BT team
Friday July 18th 2008. Posted: 15:31


Five BT engineers are being dispatched to the Arctic this weekend (Sunday) to help pave the way for the Territorial Army’s (TA’s) biggest expedition in its 100-year history.
They are among the volunteers in a pan-BT 24-strong emergency response team (ERT) - all specially trained to maintain and repair BT’s critical infrastructure when hazardous substances could be present.
They will be working alongside the TA in Greenland to build a communications network from scratch as part of Exercise Midnight Sun. John McGaw, left, and Alastair Carruthers in Greenland on their visit last year

BT is providing, installing and maintaining the infrastructure as part of its sponsorship of the expedition, which involves 82 personnel from across the Royal Signals units who will tackle mountaineering, sea kayaking and sailing.

Five ERT delegations will be sent out over the next nine weeks to work on the project. The first group - John McGaw of group engineering services, Kevin Bignall and Rodney Edwards from BT Operate, and Bill Gordon from Openreach - will start building the network to connect camps spanning the 90km Eternity fjord.

They will be led by Alastair Carruthers, head of international disaster relief and the ERT.
He said: “Some of the ERT members were part of the relief operation after the Asia tsunami and the Kashmiri earthquake and this provides a very useful and realistic training exercise. It gives us an opportunity to test the communications packages we have put together for relief operations.

“Our safety communications package gives the TA the competence to be more adventurous. The network will allow two-way communication between each camp location and the base camp, and it will also allow soldiers to send images of their latest experiences that can be beamed back to the UK and downloaded to the military website, which can be accessed by anyone in the world.”

Alastair and two colleagues flew out to Greenland last September for a recce to prepare for the project.

Expedition leader Major John Howell-Walmsley from the TA said: “The aim of the expedition is to celebrate all that the TA is about, demonstrating the opportunities available and helping to train robust, resilient soldiers for the demands of today’s army.

“BT’s sponsorship was the key to allowing the expedition to go ahead in its current format. We have been working together for more than a year to ensure this joint venture is a great success for both organisations.”


Reproduced from BT Today