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Rookie soldiers get first week of Recruit Camp under their belts

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The Royal Bermuda Regiment’s newest soldiers yesterday hit the halfway mark in two weeks of tough training.

Home on the range: recruits to the RBR familiarise themselves with their new rifles under the watchful eye of Corporal Mackie Smith before they practise live firing later this week (Photograph Corporal Andre Place, RBR)

The recruits said they had already noticed an increase in their fitness because of early-morning physical training on the parade ground and that they had learnt new skills.

Private Justus Anderson, 24, from Warwick, said: “I didn’t have any expectations — I just came in and absorbed information and knowledge to help my personal development.”

But he said the RBR had impressed him so far and that he was “looking forward to more to come”.

Private Anderson, a recent graduate in environmental science from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada, and who is job hunting, added: “The rifle training has been great, but the PT has also been very enjoyable. Just doing the exercises and trying to get fit is good.”

But he admitted: “The drill has been tough to get down. That’s definitely not my favourite, but the learning to work as a team is good experience as well.”

Rifle lessons: new RBR soldiers learn their way around their rifles in the classroom with instructor Corporal Mackie Smith (at desk) (Photograph Corporal Andre Place, RBR)

Private Kwensi Cann, 20, from Warwick, said: “It seems like it’s gone past really fast. I’m just enjoying myself, learning all this new stuff. It’s just flown by.”

Private Cann, who works in distribution at The Royal Gazette, added: “I’ve enjoyed the people, the camaraderie, the most. Everyone is nice and quite entertaining and that helps everything go smoothly.”

He added: “The food is really good — I like it. That was a bit of a surprise. When you think of the army, you think the food isn’t going to be great, but it’s been good, so kudos to the chefs for that.”

Private Cann admitted that he still struggled a bit with the early-morning starts demanded at Warwick Camp.

He said: “Waking up at the crack of dawn every day is kind of tough for me. You get used to it, but just getting out of bed is the hardest part.”

Corporal Mackie Smith, 31, one of two section commanders for the 16-recruit camp, the first of the year, said: “They’re doing really well.

“They’re really grasping concepts and skills and drills. They’re not afraid to get stuck in. I’m really pleased with them.”

Corporal Mackie. a dairy farmer from Southampton, added that rifle lessons and drill appeared to be the favourites with the new rookie soldiers.

He said: “Some of them are loving the drill, others are loving the rifle work and the middle of this week, they’ll get the chance to fire their rifles for the first time.”

Corporal Smith added that there would be no let-up for the trainees as they entered their second week at Warwick Camp.

He said: “We’re going to push them harder as we get into the battle lesson phase.”

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Published February 21, 2022 at 7:36 am (Updated February 21, 2022 at 7:36 am)

Rookie soldiers get first week of Recruit Camp under their belts

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