New soldiers were encouraged to seize the many opportunities offered by the Royal Bermuda Regiment as they completed their grueling two-week recruit camp.
Each of the 19 people who started training earlier this month officially became a Private at Warwick Camp on Friday. Major Preston Gill, Officer Commanding, Training Wing, said: “It’s a well-honed package that we’ve been delivering over a number of years. It’s a good indoctrination to military life.
“From day one to now, you can see that the soldiers have essentially developed to where we want them to be, so they met the initial two-week standard.
“It’s really good to see some of the hard efforts, thus far, rewarded. “You can see a remarkable change in people who are from all walks of life and backgrounds – a disparate group but by the end of the camp they’re formed into a tight-knit team.”
Recruits will now take part in continuation training, which will include drills with weapons, further instruction in first aid and more advanced fieldcraft exercises. After that, the soldiers will have the opportunity to request placement in the Regiment’s various units, such as Coast Guard, A or B companies, and Logistics. There could also be the chance to join a camp overseas.
Maj Gill said: “There are some great opportunities for the troops to, right away, get stuck in for some further development this year.” He added: “To get the most out of the Regiment, I would recommend that the soldiers – for both their military career and their civilian development try to get on one of our leadership tracks, whether it’s the non-commissioned officer or officer track.
“That really opens up more skills and training.”
Maj Gill highlighted opportunities for troops to access funds for education, take part in sports and join the Royal Bermuda Regiment Association, where they can network with former and serving soldiers.
“I just think the sky’s the limit,” he said.
The recruits’ final days included an assault course competition, drill assessment and a tough operational fitness test. Private Matthew Powell, 33, described the two-week camp experience as “incredible”.
He said: “There were parts that were mentally and physically challenging.
“For me, the patrol at night time in the dark was difficult. Being in unfamiliar territory was very challenging but on the flip side of it, the friendships that I’ve made I will take with me for the rest of my life.”
Pte Powell, a Canadian who moved to Bermuda about six months ago and lives in Smith’s, highlighted that he developed his ability to work as part of a team and learned weapon handling as well as communications skills and what’s expected of a soldier. He added: “I would absolutely recommend the experience to other people for self-development, a new experience that gets you out of your day-to-day routine and gives you a life shock, in a very positive way, and the friendships you will make along the way.”
Private Bernardo Ramos, a butler at The St Regis Bermuda Resort, felt a sense of accomplishment during training.
The 48-year-old said: “So far I am enjoying the physical challenge, for sure that’s one. “Two is the friendships you make and the network of people you meet.
“Three is the opportunities you can have while being in the Regiment.” Pte Ramos, originally from the Philippines, added that he looks forward to continuation training and hopes to move up the Regiment’s ranks. Lieutenant LeeAnn Tucker, the recruits’ Platoon Commander, noted how keen the rookie soldiers were.
She said: “It was definitely an enjoyable experience for me, seeing how everyone came together, was eager to learn.
“They’re probably the first group that were actually on time for everything.”
Lt Tucker added: “I always like to get in with my troops so it made me want to get in even more.
“I think them seeing me out there is a plus. When I was coming up you didn’t really see that too much. “I thought, I want to be somebody that they see, so they know who I am and if I can do it, they can do it.”
* To sign up to join the Regiment, visit www.bermudaregiment.bm or call 238-1045.
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