Armed forces ready to serve and protect throughout Games

There is set to be a heavy armed forces presence throughout the Commonwealth Games

Games mascot Perry poses with some of the many forces personnel working at the Games
Games mascot Perry poses with some of the many forces personnel working at the Games

Around 1,000 Armed Forces personnel will be a part of this year’s Commonwealth Games by supporting security, competing for medals, officiating competitions, participating in the opening ceremony and supporting the delivery of a safe and secure event.

Hundreds of Armed Forces personnel have been deployed to Birmingham to support the West Midlands Police Security Operation.

Members of the forces were part of the opening ceremony on Thursday, while many others are in Birmingham for ceremonial duties, civil engagement or competing as athletes.

The Band of HM Royal Marines provided a fanfare of trumpeters during the ceremony and 130 Armed Forces flag raisers will be deployed across the venues to lead the 280 medal presentations taking place throughout the Games.

Minister for the Armed Forces James Heappey said: “On behalf of the Defence community, I’d like to wish the Armed Forces competitors representing both their nation and their service at the Commonwealth Games the very best of luck.

“Alongside our elite athletes in Birmingham will be hundreds of their Armed Forces colleagues, deployed to help ensure the Games run as smoothly and securely as possible.”

Commander of the military deployment, Brigadier Matt Pierson said: “I am delighted to be leading the Armed Forces’ contribution to the Commonwealth Games.

"Sport, health and fitness are core elements of the Armed Forces community and this event shows who we are and what we do, so I wish every success to those competing.”

The British Army and Royal Air Force will be represented by athletes competing at this year’s Games, with Armed Forces personnel taking part in boxing, judo and athletics.

Supported by the Armed Forces’ elite athletes programmes, competing service personnel have been given time off their normal duties to focus on their training.

Among them is Air Specialist (Class 1) Luke Pollard, a paratriathlete guide for world number one ranked paratriathlete David Ellis.

Air Specialist (Class 1) Luke Pollard, competing as a paratriathlete guide, said: “I’m proud to represent not only Team England but also the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Armed Forces.

"I do feel a sense of pride at representing my service and I’d love to be able to showcase what the RAF has to offer and how much they value sport.”

As part of the Government’s long-term planning for the delivery of the Games, a Venue Assistance Force (VAF) made up of Armed Forces personnel has deployed to Birmingham to support local authorities.

Like the military flag raisers, the VAF will be working across the Games’ venues, on hand to support the security programme led by West Midlands Police.

The VAF is made up of both regular and reservists representing a large number of regiments from across the UK.

Defence is providing a range of standard support to enable the safe delivery of the Games including expert advisers and bomb disposal teams.

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