Iquique Chile SUE
By MCpl Paterson JD
When the rumour floated around that a small detachment of soldiers were going to be sent to Chile for a Small Unit Exchange (SUE), most of us were sceptical to say the least. After months of the proverbial carrot being dangled in front of us the tasking materialized and 11 lucky soldiers were chosen to accompany OC A Sqn Maj Dave MacIntyre and SSM MWO Leigh Taylor to Iquique, Chile.
The tasking was intended to be somewhat of a recce to see if a larger scale exercise could be conducted with Chilean Armoured Corps, but upon arrival it turned into something much more then that. With liaison officers such as Lt Lizana and Lt Bravo, we were welcomed as not only fellow soldiers, but as friends. The days were packed full of briefings, tours, and simulator training which kept us quite busy. To our surprise there were a lot of German influences in Chile from the road signs right into how the armoured units operated. Like us, they have done extensive work with the Germans and adopted practices that they know are proven to work.
They subjected us to their gruelling simulator training and promptly corrected any faults they saw as if we were on course. Thankfully, we represented the Regiment appropriately with MCpl Paterson and Cpl Korenowski achieving a passing mark on the sim shoots.
Upon departing the warm climate and excellent hospitality that Chile had to offer, each soldier would agree that they were not only lucky to be chosen for this tasking, but it was well worth the time and money it took to make it happen. It is quite apparent that both countries would benefit from working with each other sometime in the future.