Members of an overseas Regiment are getting their first taste of firing weapons on a live range thanks to a detachment of Royal Bermuda Regiment Instructors.
The Turks and Caicos Islands Regiment – set up in 2020 – is currently supported for almost three weeks by a Short Term Training Team from the RBR.
The Turks and Caicos Islands’ Marines are receiving support on the firing range as the two British Overseas Territory units build on opportunities to work together.
Warrant Officer Class One Pete Ramm, the RBR’s Sergeant Major Instructor, travelled to the TCI with Colour Sergeant Shanté Arnold and Colour Sergeant Curtis Grant.
CSgt Grant said training included use of a Colt M5 rifle, which Marines fired live for the first time. He added: “It’s great to see the progression starting from novice shooters; they’ve progressed well in the time. “I’m pretty happy about my part in that and I’m sure the rest of the team is as well.”
The training sees Marines advance through shooting exercises in readiness for their Annual Personal Weapons Test and will mean they can carry the firearms on patrols. Some of the TCI Regiment troops have now been qualified by the RBR team to take on roles in range safety and coaching.
As the Royal Bermuda Regiment invites residents to sign up, ahead of a recruit camp next month, CSgt Grant noted how the training in TCI resembled instruction for newly enlisted members of the RBR.
He said: “When we take our recruits on the range for the first time to fire live, it’s the same thing – they have the theoretical part of it and then apply the practical part.”
Lance Corporal Jean Tadeus, a TCI Regiment reserve, highlighted his own progression. He said: “When I started off I was a little bit shaky – you know, first time firing.”
But the 26-year-old added that proper coaching put him at ease: “I was the bottom of the class, now I’m to the top.”
Lance Corporal Tim Browning said the weapons practice, which also included use of a Glock 19 handgun, made TCI Regiment troops the “envy” of their friends.
He said: “We’re very grateful having the Royal Bermuda Regiment guys here because if we didn’t, we wouldn’t be able to go on the ranges.” The 42-year-old, who was among a group of Marines that visited Bermuda for training last year, added: “The TCI Regiment is very much in its infancy, so everybody is still learning a lot.
“There is a world of difference between the TCI Regiment and the RBR, so the guys have brought training that is second to none, it couldn’t be any better.”
The Royal Bermuda Regiment has worked with partner nations for decades and the latest collaboration comes after a meeting of defence unit leaders in 2022.
Lieutenant Colonel Ben Beasley, the RBR’s Commanding Officer, said: “Last year in London, the Commanding Officers of the British Overseas Territories met for the first time to discuss opportunities for enhancing collective support.
“After consultation with our Governors, this is one of the initiatives which has been implemented, along with training courses we delivered last year in the US and Bermuda.”
Lt Col Beasley said: “As island nations we share many similarities, particularly with TCI. “Our regiments are based primarily on reservists who are drawn from the communities we serve.
“Quite often, as is the case in many local industries, we will receive training at overseas establishments and then amend policies and procedures to fit the local environment.
“Although it is for their Commanding Officer to decide what is best for his unit, we can share with them our training practices that have been shaped and refined by years of experience.”
By training together, sharing methods and exchanging personnel, overseas territories can work more cohesively when called upon to support each other.
Lt Col Beasley added: “These benefits are enhanced by spending time in each location and getting to understand their communities and differences.”
Residents aged between 18 and 50 are invited to join the RBR’s ranks by January 26 to take part in initial recruit training, which will run from February 12 to 24.
* For more information or to sign up, visit www.bermudaregiment.bm or call 238-1045.
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