Rookie Soldiers Hit the Halfway Mark

The newest recruits to the Royal Bermuda Regiment today (MON) returned to soldiering after a mid-training weekend break.  The day off yesterday came after a section drill competition, which saw the rookie recruits perform on the parade square under the eagle eye of examiners on Saturday followed by a tough five-mile road run.

Private Donovan Allen, who wants to join the Motor Transport section, said he had enjoyed his first week in uniform.

The 23-year-old from Warwick, who runs his own vehicle maintenance company, Infinity Mobility, added: “I joined the Regiment because I’d heard about the fitness – I want to be a better person and fitter.

“I also heard about the opportunities for full-time jobs and I can enhance my own skills through Motor Transport.”

He admitted: “It’s been pretty stressful. The thing I found the hardest was the expectations and standards.”

Pte Allen added he had joined up with girlfriend Ariana Smith, who is in a competing section.

He said: “I joined first and then she decided to join.”

Pte Melanie Gauntlett, 31, in 1 Section with Pte Allen, also has a family tie to the RBR – her husband Chris is a former Captain.

The mother of two small children and a manager in a retail store said: “I wanted to serve. My brothers never served, but I married into the Regiment. But I didn’t want to serve when my husband was here.”

Pte Guantlett, from Somerset, added: “I’m feeling good. The first few days were brutal, just getting used to the routine, but now I’m used to it I’m settling in.

“I feel my body getting stronger, which is a good thing. We had some fun on Friday, which is always a bonus. We got to shoot our rifles for the first time. All that hard work, you could see the reward in it.

“We’re starting to feel like a family, strangely enough, even though we’re all away from our own families.”

Both said they want to join the Junior Non-Commissioned Officers’ Cadre after basic training, with Pte Allen keen on working with the RBR’s fleet of vehicles and Pte Gauntlett considering the diving team.

Corporal Michael Cann, 23, a four-year veteran, is in charge of guiding 1 Section through their introduction to military life.

He said: “It’s been pretty good. There are ups and downs. You have to get to know each of the the individuals.”

But Cpl Cann, from Smith’s and a warehouse manager with supermarket chain MarketPlace,  added: “Compared to when they started, they’ve all made a vast improvement. Their teamwork is great and that’s what I stress.

“I always like mentoring the new people into the ways of the Regiment. It’s always a pleasure to see them change from civilians into soldiers.

The troops have another week to go before family and friends join them of the RBR Open House on Saturday, which will feature the final drill competition and presentation of awards.

A Regiment career offers recruits opportunities to travel, acquire skills useful in civilian life, test themselves to their limits and competitive rates of pay, as well as a $500 bounty for new volunteers. For more information, call 238-1045 or visit .