Regiment volunteer: Girls don’t see it the way I do’
For many new recruits, the sight of a female volunteer on the first day of boot camp at Bermuda Regiment might prove to be puzzling.
Yet amid the calls for an end to conscription, one young Bermudian woman will be lacing up her boots tomorrow for the start of the two-week camp, excited for what she sees as a unique learning experience.
While her reasons for volunteering are clear, Hannah Johnston said her decision to join the Regiment had confused many of her friends.
“They say things like: ‘I would never do that’ or ‘I don’t understand why you’re doing this’,” she said.
But Ms Johnston just tells them what she tells everybody else. “I see it as a learning experience. I hope to better myself mentally and physically.”
She said the economy was also a factor in making her decision to volunteer for which she will receive an initial $300 bounty.
“I also don’t have a job so the money is a bonus. I want to go into it and come out with a different view of life, and a more humble person.”
She said the spectrum of Bermudians in the Regiment from all walks of life would help broaden her own views.
“It will also get me out of my own habits and put me outside my comfort zone.”
In terms of her future in the Regiment, beyond the two week camp, Ms Johnston said she hoped to become a medic.
“My poppa said: ‘You should be a medic’ because it’s kind of in the family. My auntie was a medic and my cousin was a medic in the Regiment as well.”
As for the hot topic of conscription, she has a very simple explanation.
“If it wasn’t for conscription there wouldn’t be anyone in the Regiment. There aren’t a lot of volunteers.
“The people that are conscripted make up the Regiment so I think conscription should be kept.
“I don’t think many women would want to go into the Regiment. Girls don’t see it the way I do.”
While she said she was are “excited” to begin her two week journey, Ms Johnston admitted some trepidation when it came to the physical requirements, as well as getting out of bed early in the morning.
“I am a bit nervous because volunteers have to run one mile in under 15 minutes.
“I have low B12 so I am trying to push myself more to do it, but I hadn’t taken my pills and I failed.
“But one of the corporals told me to go home, take my meds, and come back and do it again. So I had to do two miles, instead of just one. But I passed the second time.
“I’m not looking forward to getting up at five in the morning. I like my sleep.
“Getting up at five and being shouted at consistently at not being able to say anything back, that will be a challenge.
“And going into the cold water in the morning? I’m not into that.”