TA soldiers shine in Ex Glow Worm 31 July 2009
Territorial Army soldiers from the 3rd Royal Anglian Infantry Regiment are currently on an overseas deployment training programme in Texas, USA. The exercise is part of a two year training plan that looks ahead to their 2011 deployment to Cyprus along the UN's greenline, and their future commitment in Afghanistan.
The battalion is also sending 64 soldiers to Afghanistan this year, with volunteers already high for the six month Cyprus tour. "There have already been 90 volunteers for the deployment to Cyprus, which is two years out," confirmed the Commanding Officer of the battalion, Lt Col Dennis Vincent.
"Mobilisation of TA soldiers isn't difficult - those joining the TA know that within 18 months they are going to be deployed. It's the planning that is important, because all of these soldiers have another life to run outside of the TA. I think that is where our success is: It's good planning and good communication with our soldiers.
"Exercises like this are also very important. They give us the chance to work with one of our closest allies, and for the US soldiers to learn what makes the British Army so good. The training here, especially working in the heat and the dust, is going to pay real dividends when we deploy on operations."
Gavin Rushmere, Company 2IC on the exercise agrees: "We can recreate the terrain in training in the UK, but not the heat. The people here are the people going on the next tours, so this is very relevant for them."
Officer Cadet Nathan McDonald, 22, a student from Leicester, is one of those who has volunteered for the Cyprus tour. "It will be my first tour, and I am hoping to go as a platoon commander. I'm taking away a lot form this exercise - we've done this sort of training before but there is the advantage of being in a different country and using their equipment. My company in this exercise is also under US command and it's interesting to see the different styles. I think we are both able to learn from each other.
"I've always wanted a military career, but I've always been in education. The TA is a good way to get a taster of Army life before signing up and doing it full time. I joined the TA so I could really do something with my life and have some adventure. It's achieved that and more."
Private Michael Kimpton, 26, a prison officer from Leicestershire, agrees: "I don't think I could live without the TA - I thought I would want to leave when I came back from a seven month tour in 2007, but I would really miss it. I joined when I was at university and it gives me the best of both worlds - soldiering and my outside life and civilian job. I'm taking this training period as leave, but generally the TA fits very well with my civilian job. You get out of it what you put in for yourself. This exercise gives us a great insight into how the US soldiers work and how they interact with each other. We tend to work very closely on deployment, so this exercise is very beneficial."
TA soldiers on Exercise Glow Worm
- LCpl Christopher Brown, 30 from Cambridge, joined the TA in 2002 and is about to become a police officer in his civilian life. (40.76kb)
- Pte Louise Dowling, 24 from Lincoln, is a combat medic says that training like this exercise show just how good TA soldiers are. (49.68kb)
- Officer Cadet Robert Gough, 20 from Northampton, joined the TA in 2006 and is at university studying for a degree in history and international relations which he hopes to follow up with a masters and a PhD. (39.48kb)
- Capt Ian Greenwood, 42 is the director of his own company in Essex. He joined the TA in 1985, and was commissioned in 2005. (53.56kb)
- Officer Cadet Kathryn Hearn, 25 from Lincolnshire, says the TA gives you the chance to be in the Army and enjoy its lifestyle whilst also have your own life outside of it. (53.38kb)
- Pte Michael Kimpton, 26 from Leicestershire, is a prison officer in his civilian role and enjoys the training and comradery of being in the TA. (49.92kb)
- Officer Cadet Nathan McDonald, 22 from Leicester, joined the TA in 2005 and plans to join the regular British Army when he has finished university. (40.49kb)
- LCpl Clare Moore, 29 from Leicester, has been a combat medic with the TA since 2006. In her civilian life she is an exams officer. (53.50kb)
- LCpl Yvonne Thomas, 37 an admin assistant from Wales now living in Grimsby, says the TA allows you to do things you wouldn’t do in civilian life, as well as take you to new countries. (57.76kb)
- LCpl Jon Wayne, 38 from Boston, Lincolnshire, has been on three operational ours with the TA since 2003 and has volunteered for the tour in Cyprus. (50.05kb)