Regiment troops start training in Jamaica
More than 200 troops from the Royal Bermuda Regiment have started two weeks of intensive training in Jamaica.
The soldiers, together with officers from the Bermuda Police Service and St John Ambulance personnel, settled into their surroundings on Sunday before starting the annual training exercise at dawn on Monday.
Private Showers Cassidy, who works at a watersports store in Tucker’s Town and is a former member of the Junior Leaders, said: “I’m looking forward to it. I want see better teamwork and get myself fitter.”
The 18-year-old member of the Junior Non-Commissioned Officers Cadre from Warwick, added: “It’s a bit of a culture shock. The way we live in Bermuda and we think we’re struggling — a lot of people here have nothing.”
Private Vaughn Smith, 20, also from Warwick and in the JNCO Cadre, said: “Two weeks in the bush in a foreign country — it’s an experience.
“But at least we have showers for the first day. We won’t have them after that.”
Private Dijon Arruda, 27, from Pembroke, and also training to take up a junior command position in the Regiment, said he had visited Jamaica last year to shoot a music video.
The Hamilton Princess beach club employee explained: “Because of that, I have some understanding of the country. It’s good to be an ambassador for Bermuda.”
“I’m looking to learn several new skills, test my endurance and patience, hopefully increase them and increase my fitness too.”
The RBR’s A Company spent the first day on a firing range at Twickenham, the home of the Jamaican Constabulary Force’s training school.
Private Twaylia Ebbin-Wilson, 18, who only finished recruit camp in January, said: “I’m enjoying myself, even though it’s very hot. I like it here — I just want to go out and see more of it.”
The 18-year-old, on her first trip to Jamaica and due to start a new job as a waitress when she returns to Bermuda, added: “I joined the Regiment to meet new people and for the experience. I want to do the training in the jungle — I’m certainly looking forward to that, but I know it’s going to be tough.”
Lance Corporal Chris Hill, 25, a four-year veteran of the Regiment and second-in-command of a platoon, said A Company would spend three days on the firing ranges before heading into the field in the Blue Mountains.
The hardware store employee from St George’s added: “They’ve done well so far and the new recruits are enjoying themselves. The heat is taking a toll, but they’re keeping at it.”
Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley, on his first overseas trip since taking command in February, said he had drawn up Jamaica programme in his previous role at Regiment training officer.
He said: “The first couple of days is a bit of a shakeout — there’s a lot of equipment, 213 soldiers and six police officers, as well as St John Ambulance personnel.
“It’s about getting them used to this very hot weather.”
He added: “Everyone is very motivated right now to get the training and they’re enjoying the new weapons system and we’re using the first phase to get a lot of shooting in, which we can’t do at home.”
Lieutenant-Colonel Curley added that the troops would get a day off mid-training for river rafting adventure training before a final exercise to put into practice what they had learnt.
He said: “The morale seems very high and it’s up to every officer and senior NCO to keep it that way.
“It’s physical, it’s hard and the terrain is rough. If I can get them through it, I will know the calibre of my troops at the end.
“And once you operate in Jamaica, you can operate in any of the Caribbean countries in terms of humanitarian work and hurricane disaster relief.”
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