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17 Jun, 2022 19:24

Paratroopers grounded after barracks orgy

Elite British unit dropped from upcoming Balkans drills over sex tape scandal
Paratroopers grounded after barracks orgy

A battalion of the elite Parachute Regiment of the British Army will not deploy to the upcoming NATO exercises in Bosnia and Kosovo, losing out on medals and extra pay. The unusual step was ordered on Friday by General Sir Patrick Sanders, in his first week on the job as the new chief of the general staff.

Sanders sent a letter to generals and commanding officers saying that he was not prepared to “risk the NATO mission or the reputation of the British army by deploying 3 Para at this time,” referring to the 3rd Battalion. The unit was supposed to take part in ten-day annual maneuvers in the Balkans.

Paras from the 3rd Battalion will instead use the month to “reflect on where they have fallen short of what we all expect of our army,” Sanders wrote in a letter seen by the Times newspaper. The army’s operations are “founded on trust and confidence and we must hold ourselves to the highest standards,” he added.

A recording that surfaced earlier this month showed a woman having sex with eight members of the 16th Air Assault Brigade inside the Merville Barracks in Colchester, Essex, as dozens of other soldiers watched and some cheered them on. According to the Royal Military Police, the woman was a civilian who had reportedly been smuggled onto the base about 30 times over the past five months.

The recordings were “pretty graphic in detail,” a military source told the Times, showing sexual acts in different areas of the barracks. While the RMP established that the orgy was consensual, Sanders said the activity could have been construed to “denigrate women” and called it “unacceptable, corrosive and detrimental to the army’s reputation.”

Between the sex tape and instances of “unprofessional behavior” by the same battalion and other paratroopers during an exercise in North Macedonia in May, Sanders said the unit was “not demonstrating the levels of discipline and respect for others expected” of the British military.

Sanders’s decision comes less than a week after he took over the job from General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith. Formerly the head of Strategic Command, Sanders reportedly “narrowly” missed out on overseeing the entire British military. That job went to Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, who assumed the post in November.

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