The island’s newest soldiers joined up today (SUN) for the first of this year’s two Recruit Camps. A total of 25 men and women were issued their uniforms and kit as they prepare for a tough two weeks of new style basic training in Recruit Camp Alpha.
Private Le-Jai Tucker, from Warwick, said he signed up for self-development and to boost his education.
The Warwick 19-year-old, who works in landscaping and painting, I heard I can finish my General Equivalency Diploma up here – and I definitely want to do that.
Pte Tucker added: “I also want to do the workouts and get fit, challenge my body and challenge my mind. I want to learn different things and become a better individual.”
Pte Andrea Burrows, 20, a cashier at Masters hardware store in Hamilton, said: “I joined for a new experience, to serve my country and gain knowledge and discipline. I have a few friends in the Regiment and they recommended it.”
Pte Burrows, who stands just 5”1’ tall, admitted: “I’m a bit scared about running with all the equipment on, but other than that, I’m just excited.”
Pte Andrew Wallace, who will celebrate his 25thbirthday in Recruit Camp, has a military background – a Master’s degree in military history from Kent University in the UK and a stint in the University Officers’ Training Corps, a British Army Reserve unit.
But Pte Wallace said: “It was less the military history, more that I enjoyed my three years in the officer training corps and missed it.”
The intern at the National Museum of Bermuda added: “I like the physical aspect of things as well – I used to be quite overweight as a kid and I’ve transitioned from that.”
Pte Wallace said: “I’m looking forward to making a career out of the RBR, whether as an officer or an enlisted soldier.”
Lance Corporal Kumar Grant, a three-year veteran of the RBR and a section commander for the first time, said he was looking forward to the challenge of turning civilians into soldiers.
He admitted: “I’m a bit nervous – it’s harder than it looks to be an instructor, but I’m up for the challenge. They all look eager to learn and they’re pretty fit.
“They’re all volunteers. If they’re pressed, they will rise to it.”
The camp is the second to adopt a streamlined training schedule designed to concentrate on the basics of soldiering, with the rest spread out over intensive weekend stints.
RBR Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel David Curley said: “It’s better paced – we’ve structured it similarly to last July’s camp, which went very smoothly.”
Lt Col. Curley explained that the soldiers would concentrate on “key elements” like military education, drill, weapons handling and basic field craft.
He said: “We can really spend a lot more time perfecting these skills.”
Soldiers will complete their foundation training in the two months after Recruit Camp before they attached to specialist companies for advanced instruction.
Lt Col. Curley added that the new soldiers might also get the opportunity to deploy overseas faster than previous recruits.
He said that the recruits could be deployed on Operation Tradewinds, a pan-Caribbean disaster relief exercise this summer based in St Vincent that will also involve the British Army and Royal Navy, or to the UK for public order training.
Lt Col Curley said: “It’s never been a better time to join the RBR. We are improving our training to make it more worthwhile, boosting educational opportunities and making sure the skills our soldiers learn here are more transferrable than ever before.”