For the newest Royal Bermuda Regiment soldiers, recruit camp has already included drill lessons in a downpour, weapon safety checks and early morning physical training.
Four women and 15 men reported to Warwick Camp on Sunday for two weeks of instruction designed to give them basic military skills to build on.
Civilian clothes were ditched for combat uniforms and sneakers were swapped for boots as the group learned how to work and act as a unit.
Private Jahkio Bolin, 43, a roofer and plasterer, explained why he enlisted: “I never had the Regiment experience when I was 18, when my friends were called. “Now I’m at a point in my life where I’m trying to serve and I figured that the Regiment would help me on my journey.
“I hope to not only meet new people, I think I have a lot to offer and I’m hoping to learn and bounce from my comrades, from the people that I meet.
“There is a wide range of ages so I think everybody’s got a little something to offer.”
Lessons so far have included foot drill instruction on the parade square and classroom-based instruction on topics such as the RBR’s Values and Standards.
Yesterday[TUESDAY], recruits started with a pre-dawn fitness session and later learnt the parts of the SA-80 rifle they will use as well as how to carry out a thorough safety check on the weapon.
Private Corwin James, a nurse at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, had some military experience from his home country of St Maarten.
The 39-year-old, of Sandys, said: “I love the discipline, I love the training.
“When I came here and found out there was a possibility to join the Regiment, even as an ex-pat, I jumped at the opportunity.
“It’s more intense than I’m accustomed to but it’s what I was expecting.”
Pte James added: “I love drills – everybody doing the same thing in unity and order. “I love learning new things – the rifle lesson is right up there, it’s not a rifle I’ve shot before.” Private Jerziah Harvey was not put off when heavy rain and strong gusts hit on Monday while the recruits were taught how to stand to attention and “at ease”.
He said: “I love the rain, I didn’t mind it.”
The 22-year-old, from Sandys, – who described meals on recruit camp as “great” – said of the drill practices: “Sometimes I felt uncoordinated and out of sync but we got it, little by little.”
Private Anetha Bascome, 41, was a cadet in her home country of Jamaica and talked about the integrity she believes will come from serving in the Royal Bermuda Regiment.
She said: “Once you’re serving, you’re going to serve with pride.
“It makes no sense if you’re going to put on the uniform, if you’re not going to do it with integrity.” Training this week is also expected to include first aid and an introduction to the RBR’s communications system.
* To sign up to join the Regiment, visit www.bermudaregiment.bm or call 238-1045.
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