A total of 23 new soldiers today (FRI) passed out of the Royal Bermuda Regiment’s first summer recruit camp. The soldiers were cheered on by friends and family as they marched on to Warwick Camp’s parade ground to be presented with their rank badges – and prizes for the outstanding recruits and instructors.
Private Carl Simmons-Albuoy, 22, from Warwick was stunned when he was told had won the medal for top recruit.
But the chef at Flanagan’s Irish bar in Hamilton said: “I was kind of aiming for it. It was a tough competition and I’m excited and ecstatic to win.
“But I know I will be held to a very high standard when I come back in September.”
Private Simmons-Albuoy added that he had tried to his best – and encouraged other members of his section to do the same.
He said: “All round, I’ve been trying to keep the camaraderie up and push everybody to do their best.”
Pte Simmons-Albuoy added he was keen to apply to join Boat Troop or “work my way up the ranks to Drill Sergeant.”
He said: “Drill was one of my favourite parts and the highlight of the camp for me.”
Sergeant Kenton Trott, Platoon Sergeant for the recruits, added new and streamlined instruction techniques had paid off.
He explained the schedule had been changed to allow more time for core military skills to make best use of the time.
Sergeant Trott, 24, seconded from his job as full-time diplomatic driver for the Governor John Rankin, said: “We will perfect it to where the Regiment and its role is perfected so we can better serve the country. I’m looking forward to that – and being a part of it.”
Private Stevontae Somersall, 24, from Pembroke, added: “I feel great – I feel an improvement. I just hope everything I’ve gained out of here continues.”
Private Norman Sharp of Southampton, originally from Kenya, said he was looking forward to getting home.
But he added: “There are mixed feelings because we’ve all become very close over these two weeks. Everybody has 22 more friends than they had and there’s also the officers, Corporals and all the trainers – and the chefs. In fact, the chefs are the best.”
The 40-year-old software engineer said: “It’s brought out my potential – I never knew I could do all these push-ups, sit-ups and running. I’m still shocked at myself.”
Lance Corporal Vaughan Smith, 22, a construction worker from Warwick, picked up the award for best section commander.
But he said: “It’s not something you can put down to an individual – once you get everyone working as a unit, working to each others’ strengths, everything becomes easy. I’m proud of my babies.”
Regiment Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley said the modern RBR was developing and that the training methods had been adapted to give “more time undergo less training in order to attain a higher standard.”
He added: “With the support of the Ministry of National Security and Government House, the next 12 months will see big changes. A restructure will be undertaken this fall to maximize operational effect in the areas of assisting the civil authority, disaster response and in the martime domain.
“We will work even more closely with our partners in Bermuda and overseas and we will increase our investment in the training and education for our soldiers.”
“This recruit class plus all ranks of the men and women of the Regiment – and the people of Bermuda – will be the beneficiaries of these changes.
“As they serve in our Regiment we demand the best of them and they have been challenged to uphold our values of selfless commitment, discipline, courage, integrity, loyalty and respect for others. It is these values that they will need to fall back on when the times get tough and they are forced to make difficult decisions.”
Acting Governor Ginny Ferson told the troops they should be proud of their efforts over “two weeks of gruelling, hard work and activities.”
She added the recruits had accepted “a major challenge.”
Ms Ferson said: “I hope what you have found going through that two weeks is that you have grown – grown and developed as individuals. You have learned to work as a team and begun to learn about leadership skills.
“These are very important things, here in Warwick Camp but also in life generally.”
National Security Minister Wayne Caines, a former RBR officer, added he had been asked on an overseas trip what was best about Bermuda.
He said: “I’m reminded this afternoon what makes Bermuda great, what makes this country great are the men and women in front of us, men and women who have volunteered, men and women who have sacrificed to make this country great.”