Soldier from near Sudbury helps international search and rescue effort in Argentina for missing submarine
PUBLISHED: 13:03 14 February 2018 | UPDATED: 13:03 14 February 2018
A soldier from near Sudbury was one of a small team sent to Argentina to assist in the international search and rescue mission for the missing navy submarine – the ARA San Juan.
The Argentine submarine and its 44 crew went missing on November 15 last year and a C-130 Hercules, a Voyager tanker and two ships were sent from the UK to help with the search effort alongside 14 other countries.
No trace of the missing submarine has been found despite the extensive search.
Lieutenant Jessie Casey, from Pebmarsh, who is a British Royal Artillery officer, had been based in the Falklands and due to the geographic proximity to Argentina, it was logical for a team to be sent from the Islands.
This was the first time since the conflict in 1982 that British Naval and Army Officers had travelled to Argentina in an official capacity from the Falkland Islands, and was also the first time that a British military aircraft had landed in Argentina since before that conflict.
Lt Casey had spent time working in Spain before enlisting in the British Army three years ago and as a fluent Spanish speaker, she was selected as the interpreter for lead liaison officer from the Royal Navy – Commodore Smith.
The 25-year-old officer was based in the operations centre with American troops and she liaised with the British assets deployed in the search area.
Lt Casey said: “The days were fast-paced and intense.
“The highlight of this deployment was the advances made towards improved relations between our two countries.
“Who would have thought that in 2017 a British gunner lieutenant would sit and have lunch with an Argentine late entry marine infantry officer?
“Given that this marine had landed on the Falkland Islands from the ARA Santísma Trinidad in 1982, it was not only fascinating but incredibly humbling.”
After 32 days in Argentina, Lt Casey returned to the Falkland Islands after what had been a unique opportunity.
She added: “It goes without saying that I am unlikely to be involved in such an operation again.
“I learned a lot about working with the international community and overall, the experience highlighted the significance of our militaries working together towards a common goal.”