Mum's off on patrol

A FEMALE soldier and mother from Huntingdon battled extremes of wind, rain and fatigue to complete one of the toughest patrolling challenges in the world. Territorial Army soldier, Private Lorna Rodger, was part of the 254 Field Ambulance team to compete

A FEMALE soldier and mother from Huntingdon battled extremes of wind, rain and fatigue to complete one of the toughest patrolling challenges in the world.Territorial Army soldier, Private Lorna Rodger, was part of the 254 Field Ambulance team to compete in Exercise Cambian Patrol - a two-day mission across the mountains of Mid Wales, considered internationally as one of the toughest patrol tests facing the modern soldier.Weeks of training for 32-year-old Lorna and her unit paid off as they successfully completed the exercise, one of the highlights of the British Army's calendar.Her two-year-old son, Louie, helped with his mum's training, as Lorna pushed him around Grafham Water, while carrying a 40-pound backpack, to build up her stamina and strength. The weekend prior to the Welsh challenge, Lorna also ran a half marathon.At the startline of the exercise, Lorna said: "This is my first Cambrian, I know it's going to be hard but I want to meet the challenge. No medical unit has ever completed it and very few women take part. I'll just have to stay awake for 48 hours - my friends and family think I'm mad."I have been training very hard for the last eight weeks with all infantry skills and personnel fitness. My husband James has backed me one hundred percent."Forty-eight hours later, after the 254 Field Ambulance team successfully completed their patrol and gained a Certificate of Merit award, the experience had not put her off."I would do it again next week," she said. "It was the most difficult terrain but I never thought that we wouldn't do it. We were up to our knees in mud at two in the morning but morale was high as there was an end in sight."You just don't realise how much food your body needs when you're in the Welsh mountains, any thought of diets are a thing of the past."The event attracted more than 90 teams from the British Regular and Territorial Army and Royal Air Force, as well as foreign army teams from Canada to Pakistan.First staged in 1959 as a long distance marching competition, Exercise Cambian Patrol is continuously updated to meet modern day challenges.Teams of eight march over 35 miles, carrying full personal kit and additional equipment weighing up to 60lbs, within a realistic scenario against advancing enemy patrols. Navigating by day and night and linking up with friendly agents en-route, teams must carry out observation and reconnaissance of enemy forces, cold river crossings in full kit without access to boats and defensive shooting under attack.

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