Shropshire Star

Bridgnorth soldier shows 'swift response' during big military exercise in Estonia

A soldier from Bridgnorth is in Estonia training to show how NATO airborne forces can respond together to crises.


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Private Jack Pennington, of 13 Air Assault Support Regiment Royal Logistic Corps, is one of more than 13,000 troops from 17 nations training in eight countries across eastern Europe on Exercise Swift Response.

Jack is a petroleum operator, managing the supply of fuel to units taking part in the British-led training.

The seven-week-long exercise, ending on June 15, started with training to build the joint force’s skills and relationships before it deploys by parachute, helicopter and airlanding to practise seizing a foothold against armed opposition.

Private Jack Pennington. Picture: Crown Copyright 2024.

The 33-year-old said: “Our role is to keep vehicles moving and in the fight. As an airborne unit, the air portable fuel container is our bread-and-butter kit. It can take 1,700 litres of fuel and filling and moving them, sometimes underslung by a helicopter, is what we do.

“The work suits me - I’m very team-oriented and we’re a tight knit group. We work hard and need to be quite fit with all the gear we’re lugging around.”

Jack went to Oldbury Wells School and has been in the army for four years.

“I came to the army later in life,” the Colchester-based soldier said.

“I worked in hospitality and catering, starting as a waiter and then management, but Covid hit and I was put on furlough. The military had always been in the back of my mind, and I knew it was my time to do it.

“I’m that bit older and a more rounded character, and I like to think I’ve used my experience to help some of the younger lads out.”

Outside of soldiering, Jack plays golf for the regiment’s team.

Swift Response is part of Exercise Steadfast Defender, NATO’s largest military exercise since the Cold War. Approximately 90,000 troops from all 32 NATO members are training to test plans to defend Europe against a near-peer adversary.

The British Army is recruiting right now to fill 10,000 jobs across the UK with more than 200 roles to choose from, covering everything from frontline combat and cyber security to helicopter pilots, chefs and support roles. If you’re aged 16 to 50 and if you want to find out more about a career in the Army, visit

16 Air Assault Brigade is the British Army's global response force, specially trained and equipped to deploy by parachute, helicopter and airlanding.

Its core role is to maintain and command the Air Manoeuvre Task Force (AMTF), comprising infantry and aviation battlegroups held at very high readiness to deploy anywhere in the world to carry out the full spectrum of missions, from non-combatant evacuation operations to war fighting.

It is at the forefront of developing interoperability with the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division and the French Army’s 11e Brigade Parachutiste.

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