A brace of Royal Bermuda Regiment soldiers have passed out from the British Army’s elite Royal Military Academy.
Now Ci’re Bean and Andrew Wallace will rejoin the Regiment at Warwick Camp as Second Lieutenants in charge of other soldiers after completing the eight-week Army Reserve training course at the RMA, known as Sandhurst.
Second Lieutenant Bean, a former Lance Corporal, said it was “an amazing experience — very intense, but extremely interesting”.
The 21-year-old from Sandys, who runs his own firm, Payakid, which places at-risk youngsters with employers, added: “We got to meet and work with a lot of people and learnt a lot of new things. It was just great to get that exposure.”
He added: “It was extremely cold; we were operating in minus three temperatures and coming from Bermuda, you don’t experience that. It was my first time in the UK.”
But Second Lieutenant Bean, posted as a Platoon Commander to the RBR’s A Company, the specialists in infantry tactics and public order duties, said: “I definitely enjoyed it. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“I would never have got the chance to do something like that if I hadn’t joined the Regiment — I would definitely recommend the RBR. It offers a lot of opportunities. No matter what walk of life you come from, there is something for you.”
Second Lieutenant Bean was an award-winning Lance Corporal instructor at the February Recruit Camp, where now Second Lieutenant Wallace got his first taste of RBR life as a new Private.
Second Lieutenant Wallace, 25, from Paget, spent three years in the Officer Training Corps while he studied for a degree in military history at Kent University in the UK.
He said he had applied for a commission early in his RBR career, because his prior experience meant he had covered a lot of the basics of soldiering and he wanted a bigger challenge.
Second Lieutenant Wallace added the Sandhurst course was a gruelling mix of classroom and field work.
The curatorial assistant at the National Museum of Bermuda said: “There was just so much information. You just have to grab it when you can and hold it tight.
“It was the longest time I’ve ever been away from home and the longest time I’ve done anything military. And you have lessons from about 6.30am to nine at night.”
Second Lieutenant Wallace, now a Platoon Commander in the RBR’s humanitarian aid and disaster relief B Company, said: “It lived up to expectations. I went in there thinking it would probably be the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I left thinking that.”
But he said it was good for the RBR that its officers were trained at an institution with an international reputation.
He said: “It’s putting Bermuda out there. I met a lot of people on that course and if I end up running into them on a deployment, we will have that instant connection.
“For the regiment, the fact that they send people away to an institution held in such high regard, people recognise that and it’s very valuable.”
Second Lieutenant Wallace said his military training had boosted his efficiency at work and in his personal life.
He explained: “For example, it’s one thing to go into a grocery store and spend 30 or 40 minutes wandering around.
“Planning in advance and getting it done in a few minutes is something else.
“Time efficiency has been the best lesson. It’s learning how to manage your time and get the most out of it. And you can use that time productively elsewhere.”
He added that the RBR, whose physical trainers are also British Army qualified, could get unfit recruits to the standards required faster than people might think.
Second Lieutenant Wallace added: “I have no regrets about joining. It’s something I wanted to do for a long time and I’m glad I did.”
The two will be confirmed in their new ranks if they are successful at the Commissioning and Promotions board and their appointments are confirmed by John Rankin, the Governor and RBR Commander-in-Chief.
RBR soldiers are expected to complete 30 days of service a year, including a two-week training camp, usually overseas, and regular nights and weekends and earn about $5,000 in their first year.
Further trade and leadership training, at home and overseas, is also available.
To enquire about service in the RBR, phone 238-1045 or visit rbr.bm.