Thirty-six hours after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal, a recon team from the U.S. was en route to Kathmandu. Not long after their arrival, a team of British Armed Forces veterans, including Gurkhas, began preparations to join them for Operation: Tenzing. This became Team Rubicon United Kingdom (TR UK) working alongside TR USA to support those impacted by the quake.
General Sir Nick Parker, former Commander of British Land Forces and board member of the newly formed Team Rubicon Global, put out a call to action asking UK veterans to volunteer their time and skill set to provide aid in Nepal. He quickly pulled together an impressive roster of men and women focused on providing medical aid, search and rescue support, and translation assistance in various regions of Nepal. In the last 18 months, other UK military veterans have deployed with TR USA, in the Philippines as well as Arkansas, to learn more about the processes, structure, and execution of a Team Rubicon relief operation.
Former Gurkha Balaram Ghale (center) discusses a route to provide aid with U.S. Army veteran Dennis Clancey (left) and former U.S. Navy Corpsman Nick Mrzlak (right).
TR UK deployed a diverse team to Nepal that includes ten British military veterans, including five Gurkhas, with deployment experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. Gurkhas — whose name comes from Nepal’s Gorkha Region —have served with British forces for more than 200 years. They have been involved in numerous other missions, including multiple deployments to Afghanistan.
Former British Army gunner Christopher Lyon cleans up a local playground in Shermathang, Sinduhupalchok.
Chloe Russell, 33, is a former British Army Captain and among the ten TR UK volunteers in Nepal. Russell is using skills she honed on four deployments to Afghanistan with the Royal Logistics Corps to secure and provide equipment team members need. On Sunday, Russell was preparing to drive three hours from Kathmandu to Langtang, a region yet to receive much aid. She said, “I’m a bit nervous but I want to get out there and see what I can do to help.” She continued, “I feel privileged to be here.”
Former British Army Captain Chloe Russell takes a break from distributing relief items in remote villages of Nepal to set up camp for the night.
TR UK proves coalition veterans have exactly what it takes to be first-on-the ground responders capable of thriving in dangerous, uncertain environments. They have the experience, drive, and will to rapidly deploy to disaster zones, and continue to be friends and partners during times when spirited collaboration matters most.