Published on September 25th, 2015 | by admin0
‘Leading A Platoon Is A Great Experience For A Young Officer’
SIGNAL speaks to Lieutenant Conor Hurley, Platoon Commander with the 48th Infantry Group.
Could you provide us with a brief synopsis of your military career to date?
I joined the Defence Forces in 2006 immediately after completing my leaving cert. I was a member of the 83rd Cadet Class and was commissioned in 2008. I was posted to the 6th Infantry Battalion and have served with A Coy in Dun Ui Neill Barracks in Cavan and in B Coy in Custume Barracks in Athlone. I went to the University of Limerick to study Sport and Exercise Sciences.
In terms of DF overseas deployments, what particular unique challenges does the UNDOF mission present in your opinion?
One of the unique challenges in this mission area is the number of different armed groups operating in the Area of Separation (AOS). The variety of different AGAE groups in the area makes the mission area highly volatile and hostilities can escalate very quickly. This is my first overseas deployment so I have had to learn and adapt quickly to this challenging mission.
In terms of the development of an Officer’s career, how beneficial is a key appointment to an overseas mission such as UNDOF?
Serving as a platoon commander overseas has been the highlight of my career to date. The experience of training a platoon and then operating with them overseas is what I joined the army to do. From the mission readiness exercises and form up training my platoon have developed as a team and now we are operating in a challenging mission environment. This validates our training and motivates us to train harder to meet the demands of this unpredictable mission.
In terms of career development, leading a platoon overseas is one of the best experiences for a young officer. You are responsible for the training of the soldiers and the development of the NCOs in your platoon. The end product is a group of highly trained professionals capable of robust operations. Can you tell us about your recent rotation to UN Post 80 and the unique challenges of working at that position?
Working in UN Post 80 was an excellent experience. You are operating as a platoon in the AOS observing and reporting on armed elements operating in the area. It is a big responsibility as you are the only Irish officer on post. The quality of the information sent back and the safety of your men is down to decisions you make and orders you give.
Working in a multinational mission environment is now accepted as the norm for DF deployments overseas, why do you think the DF have established such a good reputation in terms of interoperability with counterparts from other nations?
We have established such a good reputation because we have exceeded the expectation of other nations and proved over the years that we are a professional and a capable defence force. We are positive in our approach and we maintain the highest of standards and this is something other nations respect.
Main image:Lt Conor Hurley (right) alongside members of his platoon