Regiment welcomes new commanding officer
Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley has taken over as commanding officer of the Royal Bermuda Regiment.
He is replacing British Army career soldier Lieutenant-Colonel Michael Foster-Brown, who will return to a post with the Army in the UK.
The sword of command was handed over during a ceremony at Warwick Camp on Saturday.
Troops and guests in attendance included the Governor, George Fergusson, also the commander-in-chief of the regiment, and the Premier, Michael Dunkley.
Colonel Curley told those assembled: “My vision for the Royal Bermuda Regiment is to continue to build and maintain an operationally effective military organisation with the present missions and tasks and with the potential of an expanded marine role which will work closely in supporting the Bermuda Police Service.”
He said it had been a pleasure to take part in the first all-volunteer recruit camp in January and to see the trainee soldiers become the first to train exclusively with the new British Army-issue SA-80 rifles.
Colonel Curley, the 16th commanding officer of the regiment, paid tribute to his predecessor for “his hard work and dedication to the Royal Bermuda Regiment for almost three years”.
“He arrived, got stuck in and accomplished many feats during his tenure,” he said. “I also take this opportunity to publicly thank him for steering me past the company command kingdom and having the utmost confidence and positive influence on me to take over command from him.
“The regiment is facing some interesting, challenging and busy times going forward, but it is well placed to seize the opportunities that lie ahead.
“All of us ultimately have a role to play in helping shape that future, whether it be as a currently serving soldier, policy maker, advisor, supportive employer, member of the public or an understanding spouse. I am very proud of all the men and women of all ranks within the Royal Bermuda Regiment.”
Colonel Foster-Brown, who will take up a post at the Joint Services Command headquarters at Northwood, near London, said the regiment’s role in the back-to-back hurricanes of 2014 had underlined its importance to the island.
He said training soldiers as Special Constables and an expanded joint services explosive ordnance disposal unit, as well as plans to take the lead in maritime security, would make the regiment even more valuable.
Retention rates, he added, were at an all-time high, with 77 per cent of the regiment strength now volunteer.
Colonel Foster-Brown added: “We have also reminded Bermudians — if indeed the silent majority needed reminding — of our enduring relevance, value and significance.”
Mr Fergusson said the “royal” designation awarded to the regiment for its 50th anniversary last year was not an automatic honour or granted lightly, and that he had “absolute confidence” that Colonel Curley would “manage the Regiment well during his time of command”.
In addition to the traditional planting of a cedar tree on the lawn of the officers’ mess by the outgoing commanding officer, another tree was planted by the family of Major Chris Wheddon, who died on duty in Britain in 2012 and who had been due to take over command.
British Army Colonel Nick Lock, the assistant military attaché at the British Embassy in Washington, said after the change of command ceremony: “It was fantastic — this regiment has such a warm feeling with everybody working hard together to achieve a good result.
“I am sure it was a very proud day for Colonel Mike and for Colonel David taking over. From the embassy in Washington, we will continue to support the Regiment where we can.”
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