Stepping Into New Territory

The Royal Bermuda Regiment’s first ever woman Recruit Camp Drill Instructor will take to the parade ground from this weekend.

Colour Sergeant Shante Arnold, the Chief Clerk of the RBR, will put the latest intake of 36 raw recruits – including five Officer Cadets from the new Cayman Islands Regiment – through their paces.

Clr Sgt Arnold, a full-time soldier responsible for RBR administration, said: “Once you get to Colour Sergeant, your goal is to do the drill course in England – it’s a rite of passage.

“People fight to get on that course and it was my turn last year. It’s something new. You’re used to doing the drill movements, but teaching other people how to do it and breaking it down to step by step is difficult.”

Clr Sgt Arnold said there was a woman Drill Instructor about 30 years ago, but she was the first to teach recruits the basics of drill.

The 20-year veteran of the RBR added: “It’s a bit of pressure on my shoulders.

“But at the end of the day, no matter what job you’re doing, it’s what you put into it.

“Every day, put your best foot forward and get the job done.”

Major Duncan Simons, the RBR Adjutant, said the recruits, including the Caymanian Officer Cadet contingent,  could expect to be challenged over the two week camp.

He said: “This is their introduction to military life and the Caymanian soldiers will fall in alongside the RBR recruits and do the same training.”

The RBR’s intake of 31 soldiers includes two women recruits and six foreign national resident in Bermuda.

Maj. Simons said:  “It’s a good figure. We’re looking to take in 60 to 80 a year, which is ideal, so we’re hoping to get at least 30 for the summer Recruit Camp.”

He added: “We’re looking to diversify our ranks, so the opportunity is there for women, or indeed anyone, to step into leadership or senior training roles or get a commission as an officer.”

Maj. Simons said: “People often reference their Recruit Camp experience as a transformational one and they often approach the challenges in their lives differently once they’ve gone through it.

“And they will also make friends and connections as they go through it which can last a lifetime.”

He added: “It is a testament to the quality of training we provide that the Cayman Islands has chosen to send the soldiers who will lead their regiment to us.”


Photo Credit: Akil Simmons, Royal Gazette

Originally published in the Royal Gazette: