On the 1st April 2011, 8 men started an incredible journey, a journey of a lifetime. Their aim is to trek across 200 nautical miles to successfully reach the North Pole with 4 wounded soldiers, two of which are amputees. If they achieve this goal, they will be the first amputees to reach the North Pole, unsupported. This will require unbelievable strength, stamina and skill throughout their 1 month long expedition.
They are doing this to support the future of the many young men and women have suffered life-changing injuries during the course of duty in the Armed Forces. When the wounded return home, they face a very different future, possibly one outside of the Forces.
The 4 military service men undertaking this inspirational journey now seek to rebuild their lives, to inspire and to help others follow their lead as they set out to prove that injuries and amputations need not be a barrier to achievement. The charity, Walking with the Wounded, aims to raise £2m for identified education projects and training courses. Funds raised will help rehabilitate injured service personnel back into employment. His Royal Highness, Prince Harry, a patron of the charity, is joining the team for 5 days during the course of the expedition.
When they first started pulling the team together, over 100 applicants had their hopes on 1 of the final 4 places. Each man will pull a sled weighing more than 100kg in temperatures varying between minus 15C to minus 50C. Accompanied by expert guides, they will face low temperatures, fields of floating ice rubble and the threat of aggressive polar bears.
Henry Cookson, in charge of Logistics and Training, knew that communications were critical. Alternative Networks plc, the charity’s chosen communications provider, contacted Cellhire plc, a Global Mobile Service provider with expertise in providing satellite communications to the MOD.
Cellhire provided advice on the options available and suggested Iridium satellite phones, Data Suites and cabling as the most economical solution. In addition the selected communications kit was practical, not adding a large amount of weight to their already heavy sleds. The kit was put to the test during the pre deployment trials in Norway earlier in the year.
Matt Bennett, MD of Cellhire Plc commented, “We are grateful to be given the opportunity to support Alternative Networks and Walking With the Wounded. This trek is an inspiring, challenging expedition. We wish the team a safe journey across the ice and snow. And we look forward to sharing their experience as they communicate via their blog.”
The 7 Iridium 9555 satellite phones will be on hand for vital communications while the Data suits will be used for uploading daily logs and blog feeds to the Walking With the Wounded website where anyone can follow the teams amazing trek.